A Group to HMS Oxley and One of the First Casualties of WWII
A Group to HMS Oxley and One of the First Casualties of WWII - British War Medal (J.41545 R.E.J. BARGROVE. A.B. R.N.); Victory Medal (J.41545 R.E.J. BARGROVE. A.B. R.N.); 1939-1945 Star (un-named) and Royal Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (41545 R.E.J. BARGROVE, P.O. H.M.S. PEMBROKE.). Naming is impressed on the three medals, the Star is un-named. Un-mounted, original ribbons, dark patinas on the silver medals, light contact, better than very fine. Footnote: R.E.J. Bargrove served as an Able Seaman in the Royal Navy during the Great War, earning him the WWI Pair. Between the wars, he achieved the rank of Petty Officer and was awarded the RNLSGCM. He continued serving in the Royal Navy and during 1939, his vessel, the submarine HMS Oxley, was based at Portsmouth as part of the 5th Submarine Flotilla. He was activated when hostilities broke out at the start of September 1939, the beginning of World War II, with tensions running high in the North Atlantic. Following the outbreak of Second World War, HMS Oxley was assigned to patrol duties off the coast of Norway with the pennant number 55. On September 10, 1939, HMS Triton was also patrolling in the area. The two submarines had been in regular contact, and when HMS Triton spotted an unidentified submarine in the area, it was initially assumed that this was HMS Oxley. Recognition codes sent by signal light to the unknown boat were not responded to, causing HMS Triton's commander to assume that she was an enemy submarine and fired two torpedoes accordingly. HMS Oxley was the target, with both torpedoes hitting and sinking her. Only two sailors survived and were recovered by HMS Triton. One of the fifty-three casualties was Petty Officer R.E.J. Bargrove. A Board of Enquiry found that HMS Oxley was out of position and that HMS Triton had acted correctly and was not culpable for the sinking. HMS Oxley was operating from Dundee, Scotland with the 2nd Submarine Flotilla when she was lost. Bargrove, along with the other fifty-two members of the crew are commemorated on the Dundee International Submarine Memorial. HMS Oxley was the first British submarine lost during World War II.