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  Casualty Lists of the Royal Navy and Dominion Navies
Researched & compiled by Don Kindell

WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT

Canteen Assistant Robert MILLS, NAAFI, lost with HMS Fiji, 22 May 1941, missing presumed killed

HMS Fiji, light cruiser, at Alexandria in 1941

(NP/Bruce Constable, click photograph for enlargements)
 

 

 
 

On the 22 June 2008, Gordon Smith received the following email from Don Kindell:

 

 

Hello Gordon

 

Just wanted to share this one with you.  This is what it is all about.

 

All best

 

Don

 

 

 

The relevant emails follow:

 

 

Enquiry from Dick Fobbester to Don Kindell - Would you know the age and address of a casualty from HMS FIJI - Robert Mills, NAAFI Worker. He was possibly my brother.

Don's reply - Robert was 24 years old when he was killed in FIJI. He was born around 1917. I don't have an address, but his mother was Mabel Mills.

From Dick - You have made my day. Mabel Mills was my mother, so Robert was my brother. I had been looking for him under the name of Albert and it was through you that I have found him. I can go no further as all the family bar me are dead. There were three of us boys and we all went to sea, myself into the MN ending up donkeyman and my eldest brother who I talked into going to sea, ended up on the HMS Pursuer. I live in Gorleston Norfolk.

 

From Dick to Gordon (in response for a request for any more information) - You ask me if I would mind you adding a note to Roberts entry, and I will try to put you in the picture. I never knew I had another brother until he had been killed. My mother let it slip in her grief. Even then I'm not sure I took it In. I was only fifteen, and had other things on my mind like joining-up and going to sea. It came back to me when someone mentioned HMS FIJI. Then I remembered what my mother had said. This was where I made the first mistake. I heard the name Bert so I automatically thought ALBERT and I spent years looking for that name. My middle boy went on holiday to Crete and came back with a book about the HMS FIJI, so I started again in earnest and I am pleased with the results.

 

As for me, my first MN ship was a tanker crossing the Atlantic. Another ship was SS Strathnever, a trooper that took part in the Italy invasion. After a while I was on the Fort McPherson with the France and Germany invasion. While waiting for more troops, we got hit by a doodle bug (V.1) while in East India docks which finished us, but I think we had done our bit. I was then asked to join a NAAFI ship, SS Philomel, out in the Far East. She was an oil burner (I forgot to say I worked below as a fireman). I don't think she was a NAAFI boat, but packed from stem to stern with ammo. That didn't bother me, and I finished up a Donkeyman. This is my story. My other eldest brother Richard, I talked into going to sea. He joined as a T124X, and served on HMS Pursuer (flat top) through the war. He died about ten years ago so he never knew about Robert. By the way, although I did not know at the time, I named my eldest son Richard Robert. Fate? Thanks again Dick.

 

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