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Hebden Hebdon Hebdin Hepden Hepton Ebden Ebdon and Epton

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HMS Fidelity

HMS fidelity

HMS Fidelity (2,456 tons) was originally a French merchant ship "Le Rhin" or more likely "Le Rhone". After the fall of France the ship escaped to Britain and In June 1940 was accepted by the Royal Navy. The ship was refitted and converted into a Special Service Vessel (SSV) and commissioned on 24th September 1940 as HMS Fidelity (D 57). The ship was armed with four 4in guns, four torpedo tubes and equipped with two seaplanes, a motor torpedo boat (MTB), two landing craft, HF/DF and torpedo nets.

On the 19th December convoy ON154 sailed from the UK heading for North America. She was carrying a troop of Royal Marine Commandos and 2 landing craft she was torpedoed by German submarine U-435 and sunk. 327 killed. The landing craft HMS LCV-752 and HMS LCV-754 were lost with the ship. The Motor Torpedo Boat with eight men aboard floated free from the fast sinking ship and were picked up by HMCS Woodstock (K 238). They were the only survivors apart from two men that had been picked up by HMCS St Laurent (H 83) after a seaplane from Fidelity crashed on take off.

RN Meml Hebden

One of the Royal Marines on board was Richard Hebden, born in 1919 in West Derby Liverpool, the youngest son of John Edward Hebden and Mary Littler
See Tree Chart 29 (C19/29) for details of the family. The sacrifice of Richard Hebden is commerated on the Royal Naval Memorial at Portsmouth Hampshire

Credits and Sources:

Image of HMS Fidelity from www.uboat.net  which has the full story of the sinking.
Image of the Royal Naval Memorial is from the author's collection.
Other sources: www.gordonmumford.com his website covers his wartime experiences on arctic convoys and a detailed section on HMS Fidelity and those on board and the sinking.