Albert French

Ordinary Seaman Albert French of Randalstown, Co. Antrim died on 27th April 1941 when Royal Navy Destroyer HMS Diamond came under attack en route to Crete.

Ordinary Seaman

Albert French

D/JX 198121

Ordinary Seaman Albert French of Randalstown, Co. Antrim served on board HMS Diamond when it came under attack from the Luftwaffe in 1941.

Ordinary Seaman Albert French (D/JX 198121) served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. He was the son of William John French and Agnes French of 2 Factory Walk, Randalstown, Co. Antrim.

Albert’s twin brother Herbert French also served in the Royal Navy. He survived a torpedo attack on HMS Rajputana.

Albert died on 27th April 1941 aged 26 years old when a Luftwaffe attack sank HMS Diamond. The previous evening, HMS Diamond, and 2 other Destroyers, HMS Hotspur and HMS Isis began evacuating Allied troops from Nauplia (Nafplion), Greece. Alongside Cruisers, HMS Calcutta, and HMS Orion, they embarked around 2,500 troops. Dutch Ocean Liner Slamat continued to board troops and delayed the progress of the convoy. It departed for Crete at 0415hrs on 27th April 1941.

Between 0645hrs and 0715hrs, 9 Junkers JU-88 dive-bombers from Sturzkampfgeschwader 77 attacked the convoy. Slamat caught fire and HMS Diamond pulled alongside to begin rescuing survivors. At 0815hrs, HMS Diamond continued the rescue mission while the rest of the convoy sailed on to Crete. In a coup de grace, HMS Diamond torpedoed the hulk of the burning Slamat. HMS Wryneck joined HMS Diamond in the rescue attempt and with most troops from Slamat on board, the Destroyers made for Souda Bay, Crete.

At around 1315hrs, Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Junkers JU-88 bombers sank both destroyers within minutes. HMS Diamond launched 3 Carley Floats. There were few survivors from HMS Diamond, HMS Wryneck, or Slamat.

Albert French has no known grave. His name is on Panel 49, Column 1 of the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Plymouth, Devon.