A Second War & Palestine Naval Group to Submarine H.M.S. Sunfish
A Second War & Palestine Naval Group to Submarine H.M.S. Sunfish - 1939-1945 Star; Atlantic Star; War Medal 1939-1945; Naval General Service Medal, George VI, 1 Clasp - PALESTINE 1945-48 (P/ JX. 801060. E.A. BRIDGES. P.O. R.N.); and Royal Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, George VI (JX. 801060 E.A. BRIDGES. P.O. H.M.S. DOLPHIN.). Naming is officially impressed on the NGSM and the RNLSGCM, the Second World War medals are un-named. Court mounted, original ribbons, edge nicks on the latter two, light contact, near extremely fine. Accompanied by a duotang folder with his military biography, a copy of his Service Records, pertinent articles and ten black and white ship photographs. Footnote: Eric Arthur Bridges was born on May 26, 1919 and joined the Royal Navy as a Boy Seaman, on July 28, 1936 at the age of 17. He was drafted to H.M.S. Vernon, the Torpedo School at Portsmouth, where he qualified as a Seaman Torpedoman. He saw two rank promotions before the outbreak of the Second World War: to Ordinary Seaman on May 26, 1937 and to Able Seaman on May 26, 1938. Bridges was drafted to the Depot Ship H.M.S. Dolphin on March 13, 1939, "for Submarine Training", then transferred to H.M.S. Titania, as part of the 6th Submarine Flotilla and assigned to the H Class Submarine H.M.S. H-43 for five days, from April 23 to 28, 1939, before returned to H.M.S. Dolphin. He was again drafted to H.M.S. Titania, as part of the 6th Submarine Flotilla and assigned to H-33, from August 2 to 20, 1939. His next draft would become his most famous one, to the Submarine Depot Ship H.M.S. Cyclops at Harwich for service with the submarine H.M.S. Sunfish, on December 14, 1939. The H.M.S. Sunfish Captain was Lieutenant Commander Jack Slaughter, who won the Distinguished Service Order for his exploits. The submarine's first torpedo attack on February 19, 1940 was an unsuccessful one. In early April, on patrol off Norway, H.M.S. Sunfish sank three ships, the Merchant Vessels Amasis, Antares and Florida, totalling 12,034 tons and damaged another ship of 2,448 tons. H.M.S. Sunfish, along with the rest of the 3rd Submarine Flotilla and the Submarine Depot Ship H.M.S. Cyclops were transferred to a new base at Rosyth for a refit on May 9, 1940. Further patrols were made off Norway in August and September 1940 without successes. On November 15th, she attacked a convoy off Norway but no damage or sinkings were claimed, however, on December 5, 1940, the H.M.S. Sunfish had better luck, as she sank the 2,182 ton Finnish Steamer Oscar Midling. In March 1941, the H.M.S. Sunfish was stationed in the Bay of Biscay and off Brest, to try to thwart the breakouts of the German Battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst. This operation was not successful, as both ships escaped to the German port of Kiel. Bridges left H.M.S. Sunfish on August 28, 1941 but it is not clear as to what his next draft was. What is clear is that he was drafted to H.M.S. Vernon, the Torpedo School at Portsmouth in late 1941, where he completed the Torpedo Pistol Course on November 15th and the Mining Course on November 20th. With the rapid construction of new submarines, new crews had to be trained. On October 1, 1942, Bridges was posted to H.M.S. P-512, an old ex-United States Submarine (formerly R-17 in the U.S. Navy and built at the Union Iron Yard in 1912). H.M.S. P-512 was based at H.M.S. Malabar, the Naval Base at Ireland Island in Bermuda, where the new submarine volunteers were trained. It was during this time that he achieved the rank of Leading Seaman (Temporary) on May 12, 1943. After almost eleven months, he returned to the United Kingdom on August 24, 1943. That Fall, he was drafted to H.M.S. Marlborough for his "Leading Torpedo Operator Course" on October 8, 1943 and successfully completed it. On January 26, 1944, he was drafted to the Depot Ship H.M.S. Dolphin, as part of the 6th Submarine Squadron, assigned to H.M.S. P-556 (the former U.S.Navy submarine S-29, which was built by the Bethlehem Steel Company in 1924), a similar vessel as the previously mentioned H.M.S. P-512. Bridges was drafted to H.M.S. Pembroke, the Royal Naval Barracks at Chatham, "for Petty Officer's Course", on March 4, 1944 and was promoted to Leading Seaman later in the month, on March 28th, after which he returned to H.M.S. P-556. He then went into General Service on September 22nd, completing his war service in the Surface Fleet. For his Second World War service, he was awarded the 1939-1945 Star, the Atlantic Star and the War Medal 1939-1945. After the war, while still in General Service, he served in the Mediterranean and was awarded the Naval General Service Medal with Palestine Clasp 1945-1948. He returned to submarines on June 9, 1948, drafted to the Depot Ship H.M.S. Dolphin and assigned to H.M.S. Artemis. However, the order was cancelled and he was re-assigned to the submarine H.M.S. Totem on July 16, 1948. While with H.M.S. Totem, he was promoted to the ranks of Petty Officer (Temporary) on February 14, 1949 and Petty Officer on June 1, 1949. Bridges later qualified T.D. 2 on May 31, 1950, T.D. 1 on August 24, 1951 and T.A.S. on May 2, 1952 at H.M.S. Vernon. Three days after his qualification to T.A.S., he was drafted to the Depot Ship H.M.S. Dolphin and assigned to H.M.S. Aurochs, on May 5, 1952. After one month with H.M.S. Aurochs, he was drafted to the Depot Ship H.M.S. Maidstone and assigned to the submarine H.M.S. Thermopylae, on June 5th, until June 30th. After embarkation leave, Bridges was sent to the Far East and drafted to the Depot Ship H.M.S. Terror, assigned to the submarine H.M.S. Telemachus for a six months tour of duty, on August 4, 1954. Upon return from the Far East, he reverted to General Service on February 5, 1955 until his pensioned retirement on October 4, 1959 at the age of 40. He was awarded his Royal Naval Long Service and Good Conduct while with H.M.S. Dolphin.