C/JX 191239 HMS Fiji, Royal Navy
Emrys Bird was born around 1921, the son of Harry and May Bird. He was married and they lived at 14 Garden Row, Sudbury.
HMS Fiji was a ‘Fiji’ Class Cruiser built by John Brown Shipbuilders, Clydebank, Glasgow. She was launched on 31st May 1939 and completed on 5th May 1940. In the early months of 1941 the ship was shadowing the Atlantic convoys, which were under threat from the German Battle Cruisers ‘Scharnhorst’ and ‘Gneisenau’. She was then sent to the Mediterranean and saw action during the Battle of Crete in May 1941. On 22nd May 1941 HMS Gloucester was sunk and ‘Fiji’ went to pick up survivors. As she released some of her life rafts she came under attack by German and Italian dive-bombers. Later that evening she was attacked again and began to sink. There were some life rafts but not enough for all the survivors. HMS Kandahar came to rescue survivors but had to leave when she too came under attack. HMS Fiji sank with a loss of 241 lives.
Emrys died aged 20 on 23rd May 1941, there is no know grave and he is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Chatham, Kent.
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