The Royal Navy Patrol Service

The August 1996 journal of the Group contained an article under the heading Full Circle that mentioned the author’s father’s and uncle’s service in the Royal Navy.

Both served on minesweepers and would have been attached to the Royal Naval Patrol Service, a new division of the R.N. with their central depot in Lowestoft in a place calle dthe Sparrow’s Nest. This had the official title of HMS Europa andoperated from the beginning of the war until 1946 when it was closed down.

Lieutenant F R Linfield is named on the memorial at Lowestoft to commemorate sailors of the RNPS lost at sea.. This memorial which is 50 feet high, surmounted by a bronze galleon, rises from a 40 foot diameter base fitted with 17 bronze panels bearing the names of 2,385 sailors lost at sea.

My own service commenced in 1944 as a Royal Naval rating attached to Chatham depot, but within a month I was transferred to Lowestoft and became a Royal Naval Patrol Service sailor. My first draft in this division was to a small minesweeper out of Grimsby, deployed in keeping open charted shipping lanes in the North Sea. At the end of the war in Europe, I was posted abroad and served for two years in the Pacific and Indian fleets before being demobbed in 1947.

I joined the Royal Naval Patrol Service Association last year and have taken part in the last two annual parades, service and wreath laying at Lowestoft. The parade of about 1000 ex-RNPS personnel is through Lowestoft, terminating at the memorial for the service and then to the old parade ground for the final service – a very proud and moving occasion.

It was at the service that I noticed Lieut F R Linfield’s name, and the secretary of the association answered my enquiry with the following details:

LINFIELD, FREDERICK ROY, Lieut. R.N.R. Son of Frederick William and Mary. Husband of Alice Cameron Minter Linfield of Durban, Natal, South Africa. Lost on HMS Sotra, 29th January, 1942, aged 31. The Sotra was a whaler, 313 tons, built 1925, hired as a minesweeper in September 1939. It was sunk by a German submarine U431 off Bardia (Bariyah), North Africa.

In my four years service in the RN the only Lin(d)field I met was my cousin Jack Lindfield who served on the carrier Ark Royal and then on the Royal Fleet auxiliaries throughout the war after his pre-war training at King Alfred, Hove. It would be interesting to hear from any other Lin(d)fields who were associated with the Royal Navy.

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