Dedicated to Mum, Dad
all Crewmembers on H.M.S. Dauntless, Scarab,
My parents: Frank Sutton Taylor and my mother Ann Mary Bridget (Meehan) Taylor
The Lady who graced my Father’s home was known affectionately as Joyce
In recent years
a photo album which had not seen the light of day for many years was recovered.
The contents were faded and very worn because of time. I have since started
having all them professionally re-done mainly of HMS Scarab. I also made application to the Ministry of
Defence and received my Father's WW II Medal entitlement which for reasons
unknown he did not collect. These include: 1939 - 1945 Star, Atlantic Star
I have since been in contact with a former crew member of Scarab, Mr. Fred (Kiwi) Lemberg. Not only did he serve with my Father but they were good mates. He advised that the crew of Scarab were ‘a great bunch with a fantastic Skipper as well. Everyone got on well.’ Another whom I met was Dr. Peter Miller who was Surgeon Lieutenant aboard HMS Aphis. Also Mr Gordon Smith the site author from http://www.naval-history.net/.
My travels have taken me around the world on a voyage of discovery. I have met so many very fine people along the way which has been very fulfilling. Contributions in the form of anecdotes, photographs, memoirs and diaries, the discovery of Scarab’s commemorative shield in the market town of Sudbury in Suffolk (not seen for 60 years) and the excitement that produced, a visit to the Royal Navy Archives at Portsmouth, the list goes on and continues to grow. (See Acknowledgments)
It is very evident that I did not know where it would take me or where I was going with this project. What started off with some very old, faded and yellowed photographs has made a tremendous impact upon my life. It has become a portal into the past, an intimate look into a time when the future, all that one held dear and survival itself was at stake. When the whole world was at war and nobody and nowhere was safe.
When I mentioned to a few people what I was doing most thought it was a great idea but many felt I would be wasting my time as WW II veterans would be very old or would have passed away. Undeterred I nevertheless felt it was a story that needed to be told, especially about Scarab as very little is written about these river gunboats that served in the Mediterranean or their contribution to the various campaigns.
Mr J D (Dave) Downey of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia was my Father’s best mate. When I first enquired of him if Dad would mind me going into his war service. He gave me an order - “Do it”. Dave Downey was a WWII Sergeant, a decorated veteran of the Pacific Campaign and a family friend for over 55 years.
And by crikey what a magnificent story it has turned out to be.
Russ Taylor 2012
Royal Navy Insect Class - River Gunboat
(A Lucky Little Ship)
Other River Gunboats
ANZAC Day Parade (1985) with fellow members of New Lynn R.S.A.
(Returned Serviceman’s Association)
My Dad Frank Sutton Taylor (circled top left)