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Aubrey J FINCH References Memorial 1939–45


Canteen Manager HMS Hartland Royal Naval RN no. C/NX 207

He died on 8 November 1942. He was 31. He was the son of Albert and Elizabeth Paintin and the husband of Florence M Paintin of Souldern He is remembered on panel 66, 3 of the Chatham Naval Memorial.

Additional Information

His name is also inscribed on the Charlton and Newbottle War Memorial The operation was the prevention of destructive sabotage by the French preceding the allied troop landings in Algeria. A contemporary newspaper report described the action as follows;

“A 53 year-old captain in the Royal Navy, who led a “suicide charge” by two small cutters at Oran in November 1942 has been awarded a posthumous VC. He was Acting-Captain Frederick Thornton Peters, DSO, DSC, and the award, says the official citation, is given “for valour in taking HMS Walney in an enterprise of desperate hazard into the harbour of Oran on 8 November 1942. “Walney” and “Hartland”, ex US Coastguard cutters, were lost in a gallant attempt to prevent the scuttling of block ships in the harbour of Oran during the landings on the North African coast. They had the task of ramming the boom. Both ships broke through - a feat which was described as one of the great episodes of naval history - and although on fire penetrated to the inner harbour. Troops were landed from them at the west end of the Bassin Gueybin before the ships were sunk. After his ship had rammed the boom, sunk a destroyer, attacked a cruiser and herself been sunk, Captain Peters was taken prisoner. He was thrown into prison in Oran by the French authorities but when the city capitulated he was released by the populace and carried through the streets shoulder-high and showered with flowers.

For his bravery in the action in Oran Captain Peters, who has since died in an air crash while on a special mission, was also awarded the American DSC”

Aubrey J FINCH References Memorial 1939–45