V.C. of Namsos

Lt. R. B. Stannard, H.M. Trawler 'Arab'

The War Illustrated, Volume 3, No. 52, Page 222, August 30, 1940.

It was announced on August 16 that the second naval V.C. of the war had been conferred on Lieut. R. B. Stannard, R.N.R., for "outstanding valour and devotion to duty" at Namsos. The first British naval detachment landed at Namsos on April 14 and between then and May 1, when the British troops were withdrawn, Lieut. Stannard made his gallant stand. The official announcement of the award stated that when enemy bombing attacks had set on fire many tons of hand grenades on Namsos wharf, with no shore water supply available, Lieut. Stannard ran the "Arab's" bows against the wharf and held her there. Sending all but two of his crew aft, he then endeavoured for two hours to extinguish the fire with hoses from the forecastle. He persisted in this work till the attempt had to be given up as hopeless. After helping other ships against air attacks he places his own damaged vessel under shelter of a cliff, and landed his crew and those of two other trawlers and established an armed camp. Here those off duty could rest while he attacked enemy aircraft which approached by day and kept anti-submarine watch during the night. When another trawler near by was hit and set on fire by a bomb, he, with two others, boarded "Arab" and moved her 100 yards before the other vessel blew up. Finally, when leaving the fjord, he was attacked by a German bomber, which ordered him to steer east or be sunk. He held on his course, reserved his fire till the enemy was within 800 yards and then brought the aircraft down. Throughout a period of five days the "Arab" was subjected to 31 bombing attacks, and the camp and Lewis gun positions ashore were repeatedly machine-gunned and bombed; yet the defensive position was so well planned that only one man was wounded. Lieut. Stannard ultimately brought his damaged ship back to an English port.

Articles in the Victoria Cross category