HARTNELL A.E. - The OldWinburnians

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Full Names

Rank /Unit  

Years at Q.E.G.S.

Albert Ernest Hartnel

Chief Petty Officer
H.M.S. Fidelity, Royal Navy


Date  / Place of Birth

Date  / Place of Death

Age at Death

Corfe Mullen

Friday 1st January 1943
North Atlantic approximately
400 miles North of The Azores


Albert was the son of William Ernest & Sarah Ann Hartnell and the husband of Victoria Ena Hartnell of Corfe Mullen.
On December 28th 1942 his ship, HMS Fidelity, fell behind Convoy ONS-154 due to engine trouble and streamed its torpedo nets, which brought down her speed to 2-3 knots. The next day the Captain decided to head for The Azores and launched her motor torpedo boat and also a Kingfisher floatplane for anti-submarine patrol. Two lifeboats of Empire Shackleton were spotted by the aircraft and their 44 occupants were eventually taken aboard HMS Fidelity.
Later that day she was attacked by U-255 but the torpedo missed.  U-615 shadowed her the following day and about 2200 hours fired five single torpedoes which also failed to hit her. At 16:38 on the 30th of December, HMS Fidelity was finally hit by two torpedoes from U-435 and sank immediately after heavy explosions.
The U-boat reported a surprisingly high number survivors in the water, none of whom were rescued due to worsening weather and 274 crew members, 51 Royal Marines and the 44 survivors  all drowned.
NOTE. It was customary for The Admiralty to allocate a notional ’ Date of Death ’ when the actual date could not be determined.

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