4. Lt. Cdr. Patrick Noel Humphreys GC, RN (1913-1943)

June 2019

Patrick went to Britannia Royal Naval College in 1926.  Although the United Kingdom was, of course, neutral in the Spanish Civil War, Lieutenant Humphreys was serving on board H.M.S. Hunter on the 13th. May 1937, when it was mined off Almeira. This caused an explosion underneath the Stoker Petty Officers' and Torpedomens' Mess Decks, and the ladder was blown away. In order to reach the ratings on these decks, Lieutenant Humphreys and four others under his command had to jump down eight feet, into three feet of oil fuel. Although Humphreys and the other four were in danger of falling through the shattered mess decks, they dragged both living and dead out from the wreckage and the oil fuel. Some of the rescued had swallowed oil fuel, others were severely burned, and all would have died if they had not been rescued so quickly. Lieutenant Humphreys was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal for this deed. When the George Cross was inaugurated, on the 24th. September 1940, his E.G.M. was exchanged for the new medal. Before the Second World War broke out, Humphreys joined the Fleet Air Arm. He took part in the raid on the Italian fleet at Taranto, and was mentioned in dispatches. in 1942, he was appointed to form and command the first Fleet Air Arm night fighter squadron. Unfortunately, the next year, he was killed in a take-off crash from West Malling Airfield in Kent. The inscription at the base of his gravestone, "They shall mount up with wings as eagles", is taken from the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 40, Verse 31.

Sadly, no image of Patrick is available at present.  He is buried in Plot CC1, Grave 108 in Maidstone Cemetery, Kent.


Lt. Cdr. Patrick Noel Humphreys GC, RN (1913-1943) #1961 on the web family tree

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