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James Alan Davies
Rank: Leading Torpedo Operator
James Alan Davies



Royal Navy

Coast of Normandy, France

June 6th, 1944

Survived the war?
British Royal Navy

British Royal Navy

On board the HMS Rodney

This is a picture of my late father James Alan Davies, also known as Blodwyn due to his Welsh roots. He actually told a lie at the recruitment office when he joined the Navy, as he told the officer he was 18 when he was in fact still under age to sign up at 17. He did his training at HMS Raleigh at Plymouth, then was placed on HMS Rodney. He served on both the Russian and Malta Convoys, and was a Leading Torpedo Operator shelling Sword beach on D-Day.

On June 6, 1944, the HMS Rodney participated in the D-Day invasion as part of Operation Neptune. It supported the Allied forces by bombarding German positions, including the battery of Bénerville and various locations near Caen, off Sword Beach. The objective was to weaken enemy defenses and provide cover for the landing troops.

Unfortunately, on the day after D-Day, the Rodney was involved in a collision with the Landing Craft Tank (LCT) 427. Tragically, this incident resulted in the death of 13 British sailors. Despite this setback, the Rodney continued its mission and provided support to the Allied land forces during the ongoing Battle of Normandy.

The ship played a significant role in the battle, particularly in the areas of Carpiquet and Caen. It unleashed its firepower on German positions, causing substantial destruction. For example, it targeted the arrow of the Saint-Pierre church, inflicting damage on the enemy defenses.

He told me a story about on the way over to Normandy, the Rodney was involved in a collision with another ship causing it to sink with the loss of several lives. He never forgot that incident, after telling me this he wouldn’t tell me anymore but says the sinking of the Bismarck and the loss of lives a lot of whom weren’t saved left a lasting impression. He was on Board HMS Rodney from 1941 to 1845.

My father passed away a few days before the 6th June 2017.

Story was given to me by Moira Russel James' daughter

HMS Rodney

HMS Rodney (pennant number 29) was one of two Nelson-class battleships built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1920s. Entering service in 1928, the ship spent her peacetime career with the Atlantic and Home Fleets, often as a flagship. During the early stages of Second World War, she searched for German commerce raiders, participated in the Norwegian Campaign, and escorted convoys in the Atlantic Ocean. Rodney played a major role in the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck in mid-1941. After a brief refit in the United States, she escorted convoys to Malta and supported the British invasion of French Algeria during (Operation Torch) in late 1942 by bombarding coastal defences. The ship continued doing so during the invasions of Sicily (Operation Husky) and Italy (Operation Avalanche) in mid-1943. During the Normandy landings in June 1944, Rodney participated in several coastal bombardments. In poor condition from extremely heavy use and a lack of refits, she was reduced to reserve in late 1945 and scrapped in 1948.

Veteran's personal file
Royal Navy Leading Torpedo Operator
Royal Navy Leading Torpedo Operator

British Royal Navy

Personal photographs

Click on a picture for enlargement

  • 2017

Remember each and every sacrifice, made for your freedom!

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