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Oliver William Rivers

C/J90511, Chief Yeoman of Signals Oliver Rivers, Age 37
HMS Pelican, Royal Navy
Died 22 April 1940

Chief Yeoman of Signals C/J90511, Royal Navy, HMS Pelican. Killed in action 22/04/1940. Aged 37.


Born 21st June 1902 in Coddenham, the fifth of seven children of Charles Rivers & Mary nee Hearn. In 1925 Oliver married Mabel Sparrow and they went on to have two children, Doreen b. 1927 and Oliver b. 1929.    In 1939 the family were living at 87 High Road, Felixstowe, with Oliver Sr. in Chatham with the Royal Navy.

Oliver joined the Royal Navy as a Boy on 26th June 1916 at HMS Ganges,  signing up for 12 years when he reached 18 in 1920. His naval career surpassed the twelve years as his service continued until his death. On 22nd April 1940, Chief Yeoman OW Rivers was on Special Service, Combined Operations to establish a shore base at Andalsnes, Norway. He took passage on H.M.S. Pelican along with a landing party which consisted of Commodore Hallet R.N., 7 officers and 51 ratings. The ship was attacked by a German Ju-87 (Stuka) dive bomber in the Norwegian Fjiords, (Andalsnes). She was hit aft with bomb splinters detonating her depth charges and her stern was blown away. The vessel survived the attack and was towed back to Chatham, England, after a third attempt by the tug H.H. St Mellons. Three officers and fifty four ratings were killed. Eighteen more or less bodies were lashed up in hammocks, weighted with four inch rounds, and committed to the deep. Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial. Panel 36, Column 3.

HMS Pelican was a sloop built in 1938 and served until 1958, when she was broken up.

Oliver Rivers.jpg

Chatham Naval Memorial

Royal Navy.JPG

Royal Navy


HMS Pelican

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