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HMS SHAMROCK – Captain James A. McCoy DSO

Captain James A. McCoy DSO was a commander of HMS Shamrock. His son,  Jim McCoy, has very kindly given permission for an extract of his biography on his father to be published here. Included is some relevant detail from Jim McCoy’s communications to the webmaster.

“I didn’t really start on my father’s bio until over 50 years after his death – so first-hand information is nil!  What I have derives from the Navy Lists of the time, from his Visitor’s Book which he started to keep in that appointment, and his flimsies (the short personal report given to officers at the end of their appointments) […] Being Irish, he will have been delighted to take command of Shamrock – and disappointed that his time in her was cut short by his father’s illness and death […] Father’s subsequent appointment was  to take command of HMS Worcester in the Med. Fleet in the October of 1931.” Jim McCoy

“The greatest moment in any Naval officer’s life is appointment to his first command; and for Father that came shortly after his thirtieth birthday when on 29th. July 1930 he was appointed to command HMS Splendid assigned to the Gibraltar Local Defence Flotilla. So far as I can tell he started this appointment by taking command of the Splendid in Gibraltar before he sailed her home to Portsmouth for refit, paying her off into Dockyard control at the end of October. Splendid was one of 60+ ships of the Admiralty ‘S’ Class displacing 1,075 tons and of 277 feet overall length. First commissioned in 1918, she was armed with 3 x 4 inch guns, 4 x 21 inch Torpedo tubes and capable of 36 knots.

On 3rd. November he transferred to Shamrock (a sister ship) in Portsmouth, and later in the month, sailed her back to Gibraltar, The Irish connection will have appealed to him greatly. After arriving in Gibraltar, the first group of signatures in his visitors book (on 5 December 1930) are all Gibraltar-based, and include the first of many by his good friends the Larios’s: (F., Lita and Silvia) of Monte de la Torre, Algeciras. Over the next months we see many Gibraltar names but also his brother, J.W. McCoy of HM S/M M.2. There is evidence of a fairly rumbustious birthday party in Gibraltar on or near 17 June 1931 mostly Larios’s but also Richard Onslow. Among his father’s collection of sporting trophies is a silver cup inscribed “Andalusian Meeting – January 1931 – Naval Scurry”. I’m not sure what “Scurry” was but I’m sure it involved horses! I don’t believe the pressure of work in the Gibraltar Local Defence Flotilla was unduly onerous.

Father appears to have been relieved by Lt. Cdr. J.H. Plummer on 25 Aug 31. His flimsy read:

“… entirely to my satisfaction. A most capable and promising Destroyer Captain whose commands have been efficient and well-conducted in every way. ”
EP Vivian Commander-in-Command Gibraltar Local Defence Flotilla
(HMS Searcher)

Thus ended the first (and second) of his twelve sea commands. This slightly early relief was due to the illness of his father who died in Waterford in early September.

(extract from the biography of his father, by Jim McCoy, reproduced bere by kind permission)


Written by taostream

May 27, 2015 at 12:21 pm

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