University of Oxford
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Service on HMS Saxifrage Escorting Convoys

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 19:51 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Frederick Fell married Phyllis Race in 1939 knowing that war was imminent. Phyllis' father and brother wanted Fred to join them working in factories in Coventry but Fred wanted to fight for his country. He joined the Royal Navy in 1941 and was assigned to HMS Saxifrage, a Flower Class Corvette, where he served for the whole of the rest of the war.

HMS Saxifrage was part of many Atlantic and Arctic convoys, as well as escorting ships in the Mediterranean visiting Gibraltar, Malta, Egypt and Palestine. On one voyage in a warmer climate, where they were wearing tropical uniforms, they received orders to escort a convoy to Murmansk in Russia. They had no warm clothing and were wrapped in blankets chipping ice off cables and surfaces to prevent the ship from capsizing. They received a warm welcome in New York and were lavishly entertained.

Escorting convoys was very stressful as they were constantly under attack and Fred would have seen many ships sunk and their crews lost. It is not surprising that he was happy to be demobbed.


Item list and details

1. Frederick Fell's memories part 1 2. Frederick Fell's memories part 2 3. Frederick Fell's memories part 3 4. Newspaper article about HMS Saxifrage 5. Frederick Fell in tropical uniform 6. HMS Saxifrage 7. Page from an album showing Frederick and shipmates 8. Arctic Convoy memorial 9. Frederick's campaign medals 10. Russian medal awarded to Frederick Fell 11. Arctic Star medal awarded to Frederick Fell

Person the story/items relate to

Frederick Fell

Person who shared the story/items

Brenda Semple

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor


Type of submission

Shared at Ahmadiyyah Mosque Hall, Warwickshire on 7 October 2023. The event was organised by Leamington History Group.

Record ID

95048 | LEA013