James Hamilton Swain DSO, RN

Born  10 May 1905
Died  31 Mar 1970(64)


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Ranks

1 Nov 1926 S.Lt.
1 Aug 1928 Lt.
1 Aug 1936 Lt.Cdr.
17 Sep 1948 Cdr. (retired)

Retired: 17 Sep 1948


Decorations

19 Aug 1941 Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
6 Nov 1942 DSO

Warship Commands listed for James Hamilton Swain, RN


ShipRankTypeFromTo
HMAS Waterhen (D 22)Lt.Cdr.Destroyer30 Aug 193930 Jun 1941
HMS Penn (G 77)Lt.Cdr.Destroyer2 Dec 1941Nov 1943

Career information

Lt.Cdr James Hamilton Swain joined the Church of Ireland and became Canon of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin 1969, Rector of Maghera Union 1953-1970. He was married to Elizabeth Louisa Swain who died in 1984.

Events related to this officer

Destroyer HMAS Waterhen (D 22)


29 Jun 1941 (position 32.15, 25.20)
HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) sailed from Tobruk Roads heading Alexandria with HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, RN) carrying soldiers of the 6th (Australian) Division.
At 1945 hrs of 29 June the ships were off Sollum and came under attack of 19 Ju-87s, of which 12 were German machines from I/St.G.1 and 7 Italian of the 239th Dive-bombing Sqn (Capt. Giuseppe Cenni).
It was the latter which scored on Waterhen, the plane piloted by Maresciallo (Chief W.O.) Ennio Tarantola, placing his 500-kg (1100 lb) bomb on the stern of the destroyer. The detonation caused the immediate flooding of the engine and boiler rooms. The situation appeared desperate from the onset and Waterhen was abandoned, the entire crew (there were no dead) being taken aboard Defender.
In the same area operated the Italian submarine Tembien, which witnessed the attack and attempted to close the cripple to delivered a coup de grace but was detected by Defender and forced to fire blindly, missing the target.
Waterhen finally capsized and sank at 0150 that night (30 June), 7 nautical miles north of Sidi el-Barrani in position 32°15'N, 25°20'E.


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