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eMedals-Lt.Cmdr Fovargue - Malta Campaign Mine Casualty

Item: GB1013

Lt.Cmdr Fovargue - Malta Campaign Mine Casualty

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Lt.Cmdr Fovargue - Malta Campaign Mine Casualty

1939-1945 Star; Atlantic Star; Africa Star, 1 Clasp - NORTH AFRICA 1942-43; Italy Star; War Medal 1939-1945 with Oakleaves; and Poland: Cross of Valour, Type IV. All medals are unnamed. Board mounted, original ribbons, extremely fine. Also included is a duotang folder with his extensive military biography, copies of his Service Records, a letter from the office of the Chief of the Polish Navy in London, his Royal Naval Warrant Patrol Card, a Polish identification card, an acknowledgement letter that he was cited in the London Gazette on February 8, 1944 as mentioned in a Despatch for distinguished service from the First Lord of the Admiralty, research articles, plus two sailor and ten ship photographs. Footnote: Stephen John Fovargue was born on May 25, 1917 and joined the Royal Navy on November 1, 1939 as Lieutenant, after having successfully completed his Lieutenant's Course at Greenwich. His first ship was H.M.S. Esk, a Destroyer engaged in minelaying in Norwegian territorial waters during April 1940. On May 6, he volunteered for submarine service. On August 31, 1940, H.M.S. Esk hit a mine and was lost along with 9 officers and 151 ratings, with Fovargue no longer a part of her crew. After his initial training at H.M.S. Dolphin for submarine courses, he was posted to the Depot Ships H.M.S. Forth (June), Maidstone (September) and Titania (October), where he was "spare crew". During this period, he did several patrols in the Polish submarine Wilk as a Liaison Officer. For this service, he was awarded the Polish Cross of Valour (Krzyz Walecznych), the second highest decoration for individual acts of gallantry, in September 1941. As stated in the letter from the Vice-Admiral of the Polish Navy, "in recognition of your (Fovargue's) gallant and brave conduct during operations with the Polish Navy in the struggle for the common cause." His next submarine was H.M.S. Trident, joining her in October 1940. Under Commander G.M. Sladen, he took part in the 14th and 15th war patrols, in the Bay of Biscay area. Trident arrived for a refit on January 16, 1941, Fovargue leaving her and going to Dolphin to pick up H.M.S. Olympus in February, which was due to return to the Mediterranean, based in Gibraltar. The Olympus made patrols in the Western Mediterranean, off Sardinia and the west coast of Italy. He became the ship's First Lieutenant under Commander Dick Dymott. Olympus also did storing trips to beseiged Malta, taking valuable cargo of foodstuffs, ammunition and spare parts to the island. According to record, he became sick at Gibraltar on April 20, 1942 and was hospitalized there. Olympus left for Matla with another cargo of supplies and personnel, arriving safely. On May 8, 1942, the Olympus struck an enemy mine while leaving Malta with a total 0f 98 officers and men aboard, some of whom were survivors of P 36 and P 39, which had been bombed in Malta harbour. Athough most survived the mining, only 9 survived the long swim to shore. Fovargue was then sent home to England, where he picked up H.M.S. Oberon, a submarine which was being used for training purposes, on June 4, 1942. That September saw him at H.M.S. Elfin, which was a training base at Blyth, where he was a Training Instructor. On February 23, 1943, he joined H.M.S. Ultor, under the command of Lieutenant George Hunt. Ultor had done working trials and completed its first war patrol off North Cape, Northern Norway, returning to England to prepare to depart for the Mediterranean. Fovargue replace the Ultor's previous First Lieutenant, who was taking his submarine course. The Ultor reached Gibraltar on March 23, and joined the 10th Submarine Flotilla. He did five war patrols in the Ultor, which it is claimed had the highest percentage of torpedo hits in British submarine history. During these patrols, the Ultor sank five ships and Fovargue was Mentioned in Despatches. His commanding officer, George Hunt, must have thought very highly of Fovargue because he recommended him for the submarine Commanding Officer's course. He left the Ultor on July 25 and on August 2, took his C.O.'s cousre at H.M.S. Dolphin. He took command of H.M.S. Varagian, a more modern version of the U Class submarines on November 22, 1943 at Dundee. Varagian was in dock for repairs and had already done two patrols off Norway under her skipper, Lieutenant J. Nash, DSC but without any success against the enemy. On completion of repairs, on December 28, 1943, Fovargue took Varagian around to the Clyde, where she joined the 7th Submarine Flotilla at Rothesay for Anti-Submarine Training with newly commissioned Escort ships. On April 15, 1944, he was relieved of command and went to Tyneside, Vickers-Armstrong Yard, to stand by H.M.S. Virulant, which was then fitting out, taking command of her on May 15. He read the commissioning warrant in August 1944 and the boat was ready for service at the end of September. The Virulent arrived in the Clyde to do the usual trials and working up to practices, later assigned to Rothesay in December 1944 for the monotonous A.S.T. running from Campbelltown to Tobermory. On March 19, 1945, he was again relieved of his command and this time, posted to H.M.S. Dolphin as a spare Commanding Officer. Fovargue did not do any war patrols in either Varagian and Virulent, doing routine but necessary tasks of helping in the training of surface craft to detect submarines. May 5, 1946 saw him taking a couse in Bathythermo Graphic Duties. After the war was over, on June 25, 1946, he took command of one of the larger T Class Submarines, the H.M.S. Trespasser, until October 14, 1947, when he became a spare Commanding Officer once again with the Depot Ship H.M.S. Montclare. He rose in rank again, this time to Lieutenant Commander on November 1, 1947. As an additional C.O., he took passage from the Naval Base H.M.S. Triumph to Dolphin, then to H.M.S. Terror, the Naval Base at Singapore on September 15, 1949. He took command of another T Class Submarine on September 4, 1950, the H.M.S. Thorough. On August 7, 1952, he became another additional spare C.O. at H.M.S. Dolphin. He was appointed to the Commander-in-Chief's staff in Plymouth, as Naval Provost Marshal, in charge of patrols, etc. at H.M.S. Drake on August 17, 1954. His lasting posting prior to retirement was to H.M.S. Phoenicia, the Naval Base at Malta, where he was again Naval Provost Marshal, from April 8, 1957 until his retirement on March 30, 1959. (BGR255)
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