C/JX 129070 HMS Heythrop, Royal Navy
Basil was born around 1912, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. William Sandford. He and his sisters lived with their parents at 9 Inkerman Row. Basil joined the Royal Navy on leaving school. He later married Phyllis.
HMS Heythrop was a ‘Hunt’ Class Escort Destroyer built by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd, at Wallsend-on-Tyne. She was named after a small village in the Cotswolds near to Chipping Norton, a village, which still remembers her today. She was launched 30th October 1940 and commissioned on 21st June 1941. The ship was sent to Scapa Flow before sailing to the Mediteranean to Gibraltar in August 1941, where she escorted convoys to Malta during Operation Halberd. In November 1941 she joined the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla supporting the Libyan offensive in Operation Aggressive and Operation Landmark. From November 1941 to January 1942 she made several journeys between Alexandria and Tobruk under almost constant attack from enemy torpedo bombers. At 1054 hours on the morning of 20th March 1942 she was hit by one of 4 torpedoes fired by the German submarine U-652 about 40 miles northeast of Bardia. Her sister ship HMS Eridge took her in tow but she foundered 5 hours later and sank with a loss of 15 crew.
Basil died aged 30 on 20th March 1942. There is no known grave and he is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
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