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Lest We Forget
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The Royal British Legion


Compiled and copyright © Carolynn Langley 2004
Photographs Copyright Vernon Masterman 2004

The memorial lists the HMS SIDON (Submarine) casualties that were buried in the Royal Naval Cemetery at Portland, Dorset.

On the 16th June 1955, submarine HMS Sidon was lying alongside the depot ship HMS Maidstone in Portland Harbour. Fifty-six officers and crewmen were aboard. The submarine was about to test HTP fuelled torpedoes when one of the torpedo's fuel exploded, and exploded blowing the bow cap door open to the sea killing a few crew members in the process. Fire, toxic gases, and smoke accompanied the blast. Attempts were made to rescue the crew, but the submarine sank by the bows. 13 of the crew were killed. They were all buried in Portland Cemetery on 28 June 1955.

HMS Sidon was an S class submarine with a complement of 44, built by Cammell Lairds, laid down July 1943; launched 4 September 1944; completed November 1944.

An article from the London Illustrated News 25 June 1955 shows HMS Sidon just before she sank.


Charles Duce
Telegraphist. P/SSX 871290. Killed 16th June 1955. Aged 21. Born 5 November 1933. Of Ferndown, Dorset. Roman Catholic. Grave 817.


David George
Acting Leading Seaman. DSSX 835908. Killed 16th June 1955. Aged 23. Born 11 January 1932. Of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. Grave 809.


Peter Richard Anthony
Leading Seaman C/JX 819932. Killed 16th June 1955. Aged 24. Born 23 February 1931. Of Herne Bay, Kent. Grave 808.


John Reginald

Able Seaman P/SSX 898366. Killed 16th June 1955. Aged 19. Born 16 October 1935. Married. Of Bognor Regis, Sussex.

Photograph Courtesy & Copyright © Nina Marianne Hollister 2010


Laverne D
Pettyy Officer 10232, Royal Canadian Navy. Killed 16th June 1955. Aged 24. Torpedo Detector A native of Goderich, Ontario, “Verne” McLeod joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1949. He served in Korea aboard HMC Ships Athabaskan and Huron. He was a member of the second group of Royal Canadian Navy volunteers to undergo submarine training in England where he arrived early in January, 1955. He left behind a wife and two daughters, one aged two years, the other but six weeks old whom he had never seen. Resident Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.

This photograph, provided courtesy of the McLeod family, was taken on 2 June, 1951 shortly after his return from his first deployment in Korea. He was 20.

See also McLeod Submarine Volunteer Memorial


E Jerrold Keith
Lieutenant-Commander (Squadron Armaments Officer), HMS Sidon. Royal Naval specialist on the HTP torpedoes who was killed in the submarine's forends 16th June 1955. Aged 30. Born 13 September 1924. Married, of Preston, Weymouth, Dorset. Buried in The Verne, Portland, Dorset. Grave 72.


Ronald Henry
Marine Engineering Mechanic PSKX 880829. Killed 16th June 1955. Aged 22. Born 11 August 1932. of North Kensington, London.


Charles Eric
Surgeon Lieutenant, HMS Maidstone, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Aged 27. Killed 16th June 1955. Born 3 April 1928. Married in November 1953. Of Bramhall, Cheshire. Jopined the Navy 31 December 1953 to complete his National Service. Grave 806.

General Service Surgeon who was found suffocated at the foot of the conning tower when the submarine was raised. He suffocated because he was wearing a D.S.E.A. Set that he was not trained in the use of, and therefore it was likely that he could not open the oxygen valve. This brave officer was postumously awarded the Albert medal for his efforts in putting himself in danger in order to save lives.

London Gazette 1st November 1955, Gazette Issue 40621, page 13 of 56.

Admiralty, Whitehall, S.W.I.
1st November, 1955.

The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the Albert Medal for gallantry in saving life at sea to:—

Temporary Surgeon Lieutenant Charles Eric RHODES, M.B., B.S., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., R.N.V.R.
An explosion occurred in H.M. Submarine SIDON in Portland Harbour on, 16th June, 1955, which later caused the submarine to sink. Surgeon Lieutenant Rhodes was among the first to enter the SIDON after the explosion and, in spite of the total darkness and dense smoke, he brought out an injured man to safety. He then put on a Davis Submarine Escape Apparatus and re-entered the submarine with morphia to give further help to the injured. In doing so he greatly prejudiced his chance of escape, He was not a submarine officer and was not familiar with the use of the breathing apparatus or the lay-out inside a submarine. In spite of these handicaps and the pitch darkness his only thoughts were for those within the submarine; he had no hesitation! in re-entering the SIDON and he succeeded in helping two more men to escape before the submarine sank. Surgeon Lieutenant Rhodes' gallant and selfless act in helping to save the lives of others cost him his own life.


Philip John William

Acting Leading Cook 9Supply) PMX 807734. Killed 16th June 1955. Aged 26. Of Southwick, Sussex.


Julian Miles Wemyss

Lieutenant. Killed 16th June 1955. Aged 23. Born 7 November 1931. Torpedo Officer. Married to Jennie Rycroft. Of Weymouth. Buried in Church of England Section. Grave 807.



Leading Cook PMX 912901. Killed 16th June 1955. Aged 20. Born 15 April 1935. of Vleadon, near South Shields.


John Robert

Steward PSLX 901679. Killed 16th June 1955. Aged 24. Born 19 August 1930. Left a wife and two children. Of Reading, Berkshire. Grave 816.

Photograph Courtesy & Copyright © Nina Byrne 2006


Donald Peter

Able Seaman PSSX 835715. Killed 16th June 1955. Aged 23. Born 24 December 1931. Of Boscombe, Bournemouth, Hampshire. Grave 814.

Last updated 15 August, 2016
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