TL7523 : H.M.S. KITE Memorial, Public Gardens, Braintree, Essex

taken 9 years ago, near to Bocking, Essex, Great Britain

H.M.S. KITE Memorial, Public Gardens, Braintree, Essex
H.M.S. KITE Memorial, Public Gardens, Braintree, Essex
IWM War Memorials Archive No.55822 LinkExternal link
War Memorials Online No. 130998 LinkExternal link

In Remembrance of
The 217 Men of
Braintree & Bocking's
Adopted Warship
Who Lost Their Lives
On 21st August 1944

Here are some abstracts from the Braintree District Council Information Sheet "HMS Kite" LinkExternal link
Extensive further details can be found on the HMS Kite memorial website here: LinkExternal link
and on Wikipedia here: LinkExternal link

On March 7th 1942, as part of the Admiralty’s ‘Warship Week’ initiative, the people of Braintree officially ‘adopted’ HMS Kite, a Royal Navy sloop that entered active service almost exactly one year later, on 1st March 1943.

Kite’s short career was punctuated by several successes, but ended in tragedy in the icy waters of the Arctic.

HMS Kite arrived on the military scene at the height of World War Two naval tensions, and on 9th April 1943 she became a founder member of the 2nd Escort Group, tasked with protecting Allied convoys from the perpetual threat of enemy U-Boats and aircraft.

Despite being allies in the early stages of the war, it was only a matter of time before Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia turned on one another, and when this happened in June 1941, Churchill quickly made common cause with the Soviets by offering to supply them with war materials. The chosen method of delivering these supplies was by naval convoy to the Russian ports of Archangel and Murmansk; a route which involved navigating the icy waters surrounding Norway.

Convoy JW.59 was the first to brave the Arctic trip following the D-Day operations, and HMS Kite was one of the many British vessels tasked with its protection. On 21st August 1944, a German U-boat patrol encountered the convoy off the coast of Greenland, and U-344 unleashed a salvo of pattern-running torpedoes towards the British ships. Kite was struck by two of them, and in the space of some 90 seconds she sank beneath the freezing sea. For the 226 servicemen on board there was little hope; a handful of life-jacketed crewmen were picked from the sea by friendly vessels, but only some nine individuals survived to return to Britain. (Some correspondence in the November 2008 issue of "Navy News" magazine suggested there was a 10th survivor. The founder of the HMS Kite Association has confirmed this suggestion is sadly not correct).

On 21st August 2004 - the 60th anniversary of Kite’s sinking - this memorial stone was unveiled in the Braintree and Bocking Public Gardens.
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TL7523, 43 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Thursday, 23 July, 2009   (more nearby)
Thursday, 23 July, 2009
War Memorial   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TL 75872 23538 [1m precision]
WGS84: 51:52.9598N 0:33.2333E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TL 75872 23538
View Direction
East-southeast (about 112 degrees)
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