Chelmondiston: Son’s tribute to naval captain father who died in attack on HMS Boadicea
PUBLISHED: 09:00 12 June 2012 | UPDATED: 09:36 12 June 2012
THE proud son of a naval captain who died when his destroyer was sunk in the Second World War is preparing to visit the shipwreck to pay a poignant tribute.
Lieutenant Commander Frederick William Hawkins was behind the helm of the HMS Boadicea when it was sunk by a German Junkers 88 Torpedo plane on June 13, 1944, while carrying out convoy escort duties following the D Day landings.
The vessel went down in three minutes, taking with her 170 men and leaving only 12 survivors.
On Wednesday, to mark the anniversary of the tragedy, Lt Cdr Hawkin’s son, John, of Chelmondiston, near Ipswich, will be travelling to the site of the shipwreck, off Portland Bill in Dorset.
The 74-year-old has asked a team from Scimitar Diving to go down and place a special plaque close to the shipwreck.
The lasting tribute, which has been crafted out of stainless steel and will be padlocked in place, was made by Brafe engineering, near Woodbridge.
Mr Hawkins, a former printing engineer at the EADT, said: “My father, who lived at Freston, was just 34 when he was killed, I was six years old. I remember a few things about him but most of the time he was at sea.
“I have always had an interest in the Second World War and I was looking up the HMS Boadicea when I came across a website for Scimitar Diving. There was video of them diving on the ship wreck – 50 fathoms down. I wrote to them and asked if they could take me to the wreck on June 13 as I’d like to lay a wreath there. They very kindly agreed, which is fantastic.”
Mr Hawkins was talking to a friend about finding some stainless steel for a plaque when it was suggested he get in touch with Brafe engineering.
“I contacted Chris Heath [from Brafe] and he very kindly agreed to do it free of charge,” Mr Hawkins continued. “I can’t thank them enough. It looks great. It will be a lasting memorial. The sacrifice of these men, like so many others, who fought for the freedom we all enjoy today, shall not be forgotten.”
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