Colin Horner – Rotherham seaman torpedoed by U-boat in 1944, but swam and lived

Above: Colin Horner, his medal and certificate

Name of soldier/sailor : Colin Horner

Name of descendent : Tommy Horner

Colin Horner was a sailor on the HMS Hardy when it was torpedoed in the Artic Ocean by a U boat during the Second World War. Blown overboard, he managed to survive in the icy waters until rescued, and went on to live a long and fruitful life. Thirty five crew members were not so lucky and lost their lives

The HMS Hardy was a V-class destroyer escorting Convoy JW 56A when it was hit by the German submarine U-278 on January 30 1944. The destroyers HMS Venus and HMS Virago rescued the survivors and sank the damaged Hardy. The HMS Virago sustained damage to her bow while in contact with the Hardy and was later repaired by Russian workers while at the convoy destination in Murmansk.

Like many such ships, the HMS Hardy (pictured below) was built by John Brown & Company at Clydebank, Scotland.

Today, his grandson Tommy Horner (pictured below) lives in north Dublin with his family. He is a fitness coach and also helps train youths with the Bohemians FC soccer academy.

Tommy is the second ‘Bohs’ coach on this site. In a separate entry, Phil Flynn, describes how his grandfather Patrick Flynn, a sapper from East Wall, tunneled under the Germans in World War One.

Thomas Horner train with Bohemians youths, Dublin

Your own name : Thomas Horner.

Your relative : Grandfather, Colin

Period of activity: World War Two, naval war

Specific regiment: The Royal Navy

Areas served in: The Artic Ocean, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean etc

Did you have much contact with him?

Yes, I used to regularly talk to him about his wartime experiences. In fact, I recorded much of it on an old phone but the mobile phone got lost. Hopefully, it’ll turn up!

Pictured above : a log of some of the many ships which Colin Horner served on, including the Raleigh, the Defiance and the Golden Hind.

Pictured below : scrapbook items, including a postal greeting from the British military base in Chatham, Colombo, in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Also a newspaper cutting of how Horner survived the attack on the HMS Hardy.

Pictured below : Royal Marines training with 40mm Bofors field guns at Chatham base in September 1943. The HMS Hardy was also equipped with twin 40 mm Bofors cannon, as well as other guns and mortar tubes.

Pictured below : Horner ‘s Conduct sheet, from 1944-46.

Pictured below : Horner ‘s Certificate of Service

Pictured below : Pictures of Colin Horner in uniform and with his family in later life.

Pictures of Colin Horner and his family

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