Rear-Admiral Michael Kyrle-Pope RIP

Discussion in 'Memorials & Cemeteries' started by Kyt, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Now here's a man who lead a very full and eventful life

  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Seems his brother was kept pretty busy too !


    Vice-Admiral Sir Ernle Pope, KCB, Commander Allied Naval Forces Southern Europe, 1974-76, died on May 21 aged 76. He was born on May 22, 1921.

    While serving as a young lieutenant in the destroyer Lively, Ernle Pope suffered the rare distinction of being sunk twice in one day. In May 1942 the turning point of the hard-fought Mediterranean campaign was still a year away and the Royal Navy's grim determination not to lose Malta - and to interdict supplies for the Axis armies in North Africa - was leading to many losses. Intelligence of a convoy bound for Benghazi prompted sorties by the destroyers Jervis, Jackal, Kipling and Lively from Alexandria.

    On May 11 these ships were attacked by German bombers from the expert Fliegerkorps II, sinking the Lively. At sunset, a heavy attack by another squadron sank the Kipling, which had rescued many survivors from Lively, as well as badly damaging the Jackal. Next morning, Jackal had to be abandoned and sunk by a torpedo from Jervis, which retired carrying the 650 survivors.

    The son of a naval officer, John Ernle Pope entered the Royal Navy at Dartmouth in 1935.

    It was his talent for driving and motivating people which led to his next two successful tours, first as the second-in-command of the boys' training establishment HMS St Vincent
  3. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    What an incredible career. RIP.

    Found this particularly fascinating:

  4. barnsey

    barnsey Guest

    Kryle-Pope .....a big question mark for me.

    Hello everyone from Westport on the NW coast of the South Island of New Zealand ... stumbled across this site this evening because of Rear Admiral Kryle-Popes obituary. I just had to join ...and make some comments. This is my first posting.

    Apart from this thread which I will come to in a moment ... strange to say I had studiously avoided reading much about WW II and "The Battle of the Atlantic" all my life until two years ago. A mate from training ship days asked a question regarding his Dads ship HMS Wren which was in Escort Group 2, Captain Walkers famous group. It set me off and by sheer luck I got a couple of books which analysed the battle with the hindsight of todays information, Enigma and so on. I have now become an addict and have an extensive library on the subject .... so watch out. Another, older member of the training ship was also in EG2 as it happens so I have some info from him as well.

    Kryle-Pope .... you should compare the obituary psoted in this thread with the one in the Telegraph. Note that The Times makes mention that ... Kryle-Pope was embittered by the experience.

    The commander of the Oswald was our executive officer on my training ship HMS Worcester on the Thames at Greenhithe in 1955. For my sins, I went at the age of thirteen and a half I was aboard with Commander Fraser for four years. We all looked up to him and he was held in great esteem ... terrific bloke.

    The Oswald saga enfolded at the Courts martial of David Fraser was pretty much distorted by Kryle-Popes evidence. The submarine was spotted by the very large Italian destroyer Vivaldi at 2,500 metres or 1.5 nautical miles. The Italian commander stated that the two vessels heeled over, the submarine considerably and that the Vivaldi suffered only a crease along her side. On the Oswald the flare of the bow of the destroyer bent the conning tower and periscope standards and the ballast and fuel tanks were opened by the collision. Kryle-Pope was detailed by David Fraser to make a damage report he found she was making water forward and also aft in the engine room where the after hatch was distorted and unable to be closed. This is very different from the tale in The telegraph obituary.

    Over the last year my mates from the Worcester and I have compiled a dossier on the loss of Oswald which bears a lot more investigation. Kryle-Pope was third hand on her ... and he made much of himself at the inquiry. He was embittered by his experience in the PoW camp reading between the lines and we have not got to the bottom of that yet. There was a second submarine sunk at the time Oswald was sunk with only 3 survivors. They all finished up in the same PoW camp and it seems there were some events there which, after the PoWs were repatriated led to an inquiry and eventually the Courts martial. Pope seems to have made much of himself as I said and my fellow shipmate from Worcester has examined part of the file at the Gosport Museum where the historian is exceedingly helpfull. There would appear to be a note by Kryle-Pope, who has had the file out many times annotating the fact that "I was a bit heavy with the facts at the time"

    Its all very well Kryle-Pope wanting to man the gun and fight back but thos who have read articles on submarines be they British or U-boats will know that just getting the shells up on deck was a major feat let alone dealing with one in a bent state after collison with an Italian destroyer. As for firing torpedoes Oswald was swung hard a port to present the stern but the Vivaldi Commander had the speed to keep ahead of any stern firing position of oswald and states that was his intention, in fact he let off a torpedo at Oswald.

    Anyway its past my bed time .... I shall return to this tomorrow.

  5. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Welcome to the forum, Barnesy, with an excellent first post! Hope you enjoy it here.

    You raise an interesting opposing view to what the obit says and it is great to hear further detail from someone who has committed some hard core research. Why would Pope have changed the story so much to "suit himself". Was he worried about looking like a shirker or being painted with the same brush if the crew was found lacking (find it hard to understand how a sub crew could be found lacking!)?

    Am looking forward to your Battle of the Atlantic expertise. May I ask why you "studiously avoided" this area of the war?
  6. barnsey

    barnsey Guest

    Thanks for the welcome Andy,
    Why did I studiously avoid reading about "The Battle of the Atlantic" ??? Well when I was a cadet on Worcester in 1955 there were a number of books coming on the market written by people, both German and Allies of "Their particular experiences". Those books were somewhat "coloured" and not what I would call objective. In particular there were various tales of U-boats machine gunning survivors in lifeboats, Tankers blowing sky high and people being smothered in oil and burning to death......and so on. Then and now I hate unfairness and I am not enamoured with blood and thunder. Being on tankers also got me closer to those stories. I sailed with a few people who had war service and one Master in particular spoke of his torpedoing and subsequent survival trip from the top of Australia to the bottom. I avoided reading the books......they did not appeal and did not inetrest.

    Here we are 63 years on from the end of hostilities with historians having analised all sorts of documents from both sides of the equation and in doing so painted the true picture of what actually happened. We have groups such as this where the even finer details come out and get discussed. The books now available are fascinating. A mate on the Worcester asked me a question about HMS Wren, which was his fathers command at the start of last year. That got me curious and as a result by pure chance I picked up Tarrants book "The U-boat offensive 1914-1945" .... that did it. There one finds out that in fact the U-boats "machine gun incidents" were but 2 documented ones, that in fact they often righted the lifeboats and supplied them. One has to admire the courage and skills not only of my fellow Merchant Service crews but also that of the U-boats crews. It is pleasing to often read of the friendships existing between those adversaries today.

    The books produced in the early 50's are now shown, for the most part to have painted a false picture which did none of the adversaries any favours.

    Hagues "The Allied Convoy system" along with Chay Blairs two volumes "The Hunters" and "The Hunted" demonstrate that in the convoys there were comparitively few convoys out of the hundreds each year where masses of ships were lost. When you speak of masses we are talking the loss of perhaps 20 - 25 and often there were around 10 out of a total of perhaps 50 ships. We have a fellow here in Westport who did 5 trips across and never heard or saw any action in his convoys ..... and when you look at things realistically, to have fed Britain and do the build up for the Normandy invasion the losses had to have been comparitively small. I'll stand to be corrected as I have not the time right now to check my memory that some 5 % of shipping was sunk in the Battle of the Atlantic. Thats not to say it was small ... quite the contrary it was a horrific slaughter. But I hope you see the picture i am trying to paint.

    Another book I have been lucky to collect is Cmdr K Edwards "Operation neptune" which describes the logistics behind the Normandy invasion .. funnily enough written in 1946 just to prove me a fool. But reading that makes one realise just what had to come across the Atlantic ...and did.

    We now know that through various lucky turns the U-boats did not stand a chance of succeeding ... the terrible loss of crews was more or less equal on both sides around 33,000 but when you look at it from crews per vessels the U-boat percentage is suicide.

    Although have rapidly built an excellent library on the subject I have much yet to read and find out about ...fascinating.
  7. barnsey

    barnsey Guest

    Item from an interview with Mrs Suzanne Kyrle-Pope

    Further to the above items I have come across this item which is an excerpt from an interview with Kyrle-Popes wife published on the web.

    To me it gives an insight into how Kyrle-Pope has distributed his version of the sinking of Oswald and his own supposed exploits. Whilst I can acknowledge this version is a second hand explanation from a non-technical person and his wife at that we must remember it is from someone who will have heard the story many times. For her to say that David Fraser and Roy Marsh were quote .... "craven cowards" is in my book despicable and she may well be right that it is libel of the highest order.

    The Italians in particular would be incensed by the statement that they machine gunned survivors in the water, that is simply untrue as it was as a matter of fact in all but two cases with U-boats.

    Our investigations and gathering of facts moves apace now. Apart from my Old Worcester friend we have David Frasers stepson Angus, Roy Marsh's nephew Grahame, Stoker Calahane's son Barry and this week a fine fellow John Stitt who has a mass of detail and is well into writing a book on the loss.

    Oh yes and thanks to this website for putting us in touch with Grahame, he read this thread and contacted me ... lovely bloke who held Roy Marsh in high esteem. Roy Marsh as a matter of point had reported to the MO aboard the depot ship before patrol with a stomach disorder which was untreated before they sailed. The Oswald was in poor condition with amongst other things a leaking stern tube which was upsettingt the trim of the submarine. Roy Marsh as First Lt. was responsible for trim and because of the difficulty of maintaining trim had had no sleep for 3 days before the incident. He was also covered in Boils and prickly heat .....The Admiralty took none of this into consideration.

    Nearly everyone has been drawn to the same conclusion by Kyrle-Popes obituary that all was definitely not as he say's it was....

    Here is Mrs Kyrle-Popes interview excerpt.

    My present husband was in one [submarine] but not… that is another story. His submarine was on the surface at night charging their batteries which they had to do by night, they had to do it on the surface, so they were off the south coast of Italy and they were spotted by an Italian or German who came out to attack them and they were rammed, a certain amount of damage was done but they had a gun which was perfectly undamaged. My present husband was only a Sub-Lieutenant and the Captain ordered the crew to abandon ship for absolutely no reason but craven terror and Michael wanted to fight but the First Lieutenant was also a coward and had already jumped in the water. I don’t know if you ought to say this about that because you could be had up for libel. The Captain was court-martialled and thrown out of the navy at the end of the war and my husband had to witness against him which was a terrible thing to have to do to a fellow officer and I think that this First Lieutenant was as well. And they were rescued, some of them were being machine-gunned in the sea and my husband went back down into the submarine which started to sink from the damage to get out one or two sailors who had been inured. The Captain couldn’t care less. He was already swimming for his life. But Michael went back. Those who were picked up and captured were put into prison camps and they were ordered by the Captain to do this that and the other and the sailors mutinied. They wouldn’t obey the Captain of the submarine. They said no the only man they could obey was my husband and my husband used to be in touch with them in prison. They were in the same POW camp but different parts of it — officers and men were not in the same part. But he used to have to go and visit his men and boost their morale and chat them up.

    [J: was he there for the rest of the war?]
    Yes he was. He kept escaping but hey kept recapturing him. But that’s another story in itself. But he was taken prisoner, his submarine was lost and I was told, I was married that year, maybe I wasn’t, I was engaged… anyway I was told he’d been shot trying to escape and I assumed that he’d been killed so at that point I gave up and married a soldier.

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