-H.M.S. Hood Crew Information-
H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour
Memorials to Men Lost in the Sinking of Hood, 24th May 1941

Updated 30-Aug-2015

We will remember them
Chainbar divider

In Remembrance of
THOMAS JOSEPH BERNARD SAMMARS

Photo of Boy 1st Class Thomas Joseph Bernard Sammars, courtesy of his family, August 2015

Service: Royal Navy
Rank: Boy 1st Class
Service Number: P/JX 182136
Date Joined Hood: 14 May 1941
Biographical Information: Bernie, as he was known to the family, was born on 18th January 1925 in Ringwood Hampshire.  He was the second child born to Thomas and Minnie Sammars, having an elder sister and eventually two younger sisters and three younger brothers.

His first home was Kings Bungalow, Church Lane, St. Leonards, then in Hampshire but now in Dorset since the county boundary was redrawn. By 1927 the family had moved nearby to Pine Cot, Woolsbridge Road which became the family home for the next sixty years. At that time Woolsbridge Road was an unmade gravel road with no paths nor street lighting, sparsely populated, and nothing like the built up thoroughfare of today.  In those early days the family house had no electricity, earth closets and water was drawn from a well. It was surrounded by forest and heathland which became a playground for Bernie and his siblings which included learning to swim in the nearby Moors and Avon rivers.

Bernie went to school initially at the Ringwood Church of England School and at 11 won a scholarship to Brockenhurst County High School.  This entailed a train journey of some 15miles each way from our nearest station, Ashley Heath Halt.  (Sadly the railway was a victim of the Beeching cuts and is now long gone.) Bernie represented his school at athletics winning the half mile race at the County Schools Sports in Winchester.

Our Dad was a Navy man serving from 1910 to 1932 ending as a CPO.  He was called back again in 1939 serving for the duration of the 1939-1945 War.  It is really no surprise therefore that Bernie left school at 15 and became a Ganges boy on 19th February 1940.  The boys were moved to H M S St. George on the Isle of Man on 17th May 1940 and he left there as a Boy 1st Class on 3rd April 1941 for the Royal Naval Barracks Portsmouth to await his first draft.

When this came through he was given leave and afterwards travelled back to Portsmouth with our dad where following the wartime custom of “old enough to fight for his country, old enough to have a drink”, they had a beer together in the Sussex Hotel which was in the Guildhall Square where the Civic Offices now stand.  That was the last time he was seen by any of our family as they then went their separate ways, our dad to his posting and Bernie to make the long trek north to Scapa Flow to join H.M.S. Hood on 14th May 1941.

The family did not hear from Bernie again as just a week later the Hood sailed from Scapa Flow to hunt the Bismarck and meet its fate.  We understand he was the youngest person on board at just 16 years and 126 days old when his first and only seagoing ship was sunk. We can only guess at the range of emotions he went through from excitement and the bravado of youth that we remember, to no doubt fear and dread at the end.

Despite the loss of Bernie we three younger brothers all followed him by joining the Navy as we became of age and it says a lot about our parents that they supported us despite obvious misgivings.

Bernie has never been forgotten and although as the youngest sibling my own memories are very vague, he was talked about often and a coloured photograph of him and our dad both in uniform always had pride of place on the living room wall of the family home.

Bernie was 16 years old at the time of his loss. He was the youngest crewmember lost in the sinking.

If you have any additional details, please contact us.



Memorial Information
Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 51, Column 3 (click to view panel)
Also memorialised at

All Saints Church St. Leonards and St Ives, Dorset, and in the book associated with the
Memorial stone to Boy Seamen killed by enemy action 1939 -1945, in the Church of England Cathedral of St Thomas Portsmouth,
and
Hood Chapel, Church of St John the Baptist, Boldre, Hampshire


Additional Photographs
Photo of Boy 1st Class Thomas Joseph Bernard Sammars, courtesy of his brother, Mr BE Sammars, May 2005Photo of Boy 1st Class Thomas Joseph Bernard Sammars, courtesy of his family, August 2015Photo of Boy 1st Class Thomas Joseph Bernard Sammars, courtesy of his family, August 2015
Above- various photos of Bernie (to include a photo with his father at far right)
Sources
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Bernie's siblings Bevery, Mary, Fred, John, Thelma and Kath (detailed biogrpahy and photos, May 2005 and August 2015)
'Register of Deaths of Naval Ratings' (data extracted by Director of Naval Personnel (Disclosure Cell), Navy Command HQ