“Then, just before sunset, just before sailing time for Egypt, there was a drone in the distance and half a dozen Stukas came in, flying low and fast. The ship carried guns fore and aft and was a legitimate target.
Five bombs struck the crowded Hellas; three burst alongside on the wharf. In a few minutes flames seemed to be everywhere. Surrounded by the wounded, the dead, and the panicstricken, Staff-Sergeants Wilson and Cooney worked valiantly in a race against the fires, quietly organising rescue parties to sort the wounded from the dead.
Diving overboard, Drivers Cliff Lockyer, Thornton, and ‘Scotty’ McIntyre set off to swim across the harbour away from the burning ship. Lockyer, struggling across the quartermile of sea, reached the shore to find McIntyre, black with oil. ‘It was serious, but we couldn't help laughing at ourselves, all dirty, all nude.’ Driver Ramsay, among those who made for the shattered docks, badly burned his hands and legs on the scorching bolts and staples in the smouldering piles.
Driver ‘Ginger’ Wingham, helpless from the strafing which had killed Captain McAlpine six days ago, was helped by Ian Cooney and another driver to mooring ropes still intact, down which he slid to safety. Staff-Sergeant Hoare, suffering from concussion and a broken arm and jaw, was a pitiful sight with face and legs blackened and clothing ripped and torn. Sergeants Mellsop and Delaney were found among the dead, together with five others, Drivers Thurlow, Hook, Austin, Allanson, and Patrick. Few, if any, escaped from the shambles of the once luxurious smoke-room.” [Henderson (1954)]
Submitted by: Geoffrey Patrick Scaramelli
Relationship to casualty: Nephew, named after him.He was born 9 June 1914, in Wellington. (Also RMT Official History) [Record since amended - NZWGT] Geoff died in the bombing and sinking of the Hellas, a large steam yacht, in Piraeus harbour on 24 A... Read More
Text in italics supplied by Cenotaph Online, Auckland War Memorial Museum