On 5 November, 1940 the eastbound convoy HX 84 of thirty-seven merchant ships, escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Jervis Bay, was attacked in mid-Atlantic by the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer. The Jervis Bay, commanded by Captain Edward Fegen, charged at the enemy. Hopelessly out-gunned, she was blown out of the water by the Scheer's 11-inch guns.
Meanwhile, led by HX 84's commodore ship, the Cardiff tramp Cornish City, the merchantmen scattered under the cover of a smoke screen, were picked off one by one by the radar-equipped Admiral Scheer.
Captain Hugh Pettigrew, commanding the highly armed Canadian Pacific cargo liner Beaverford, began a desperate game of hide and seek with the Scheer, which continued until Beaverford was sunk with no survivors. Thanks to this sacrifice, incredibly only four other merchantmen were sunk.
Later the neutral flag Swedish freighter Stureholm, commanded by Captain Olander, picked up survivors from the Jervis Bay. Without this brave and dangerous gesture no one would have lived to tell the tale of the death throes of the Jervis Bay, whose Captain was awarded the VC.
Sadly, the history books only mention the Beaverford and the Stureholm in passing. This thrilling book puts the record straight.
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