East Camp
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Kenneth Gordon Sumnall (1914 - 1986) Instructor Commander, Royal Navy Kenneth Sumnall was born on May 30, 1914, the son of Frank Edmund and Elizabeth (Marks) Sumnall of Hanley, Staffordshire, England. Kenneth joined the Schoolmaster Branch of the Royal Navy in December 1939. After a period of training, he joined HMS Nigeria in March, 1942 . During his time aboard, HMS Nigeria, he saw escort service on the Arctic/Russian Convoys up until July 1942. In March, 1942 HMS Nigeria provided distant cover for the passage of returning Convoy QP8, and was deployed with the Home Fleet covering force for the passage of Russian Convoy PQ13 and returning convoy QP9. In April, the Nigeria escorted the battleship King George V from Rosyth to Scapa Flow to join the Fleet, served as part of Home Fleet distant cover for passage of Convoy PQ11 and returning Convoy OP10, and escorted Russian Convoy PQ15. In May, Nigeria was an escort for returning convoy QP11, provided Home Fleet covering force for passage of the damaged cruiser HMS Trinidad to the UK for repair (HMS Nigeria came under air attacks on the return passage) and provided cruiser cover for Russian Convoy PQ16 and for returning Convoy QP12. In June, Nigeria was deployed for convoy and fleet defence in the North West Approaches. On June 30, Nigeria joined Home Fleet distant cover for Russian Convoy PQ17 and cover of returning Convoy QP13. After the arrival of Convoy OP13 at Reykjavik Nigeria resumed Home Fleet deployment. In August, HMS Nigeria then joined as a reinforcement escort for the military supply convoy WS21s to Malta. (Operation Pedestal). On August 10 the ship joined Force X at Gibraltar for escort of a convoy to Malta. On August 11 Nigeria came under attack by U-boats followed by torpedo and dive bombing. HMS Aircraft Carrier Eagle was sunk during the submarine attacks, On August 13 Nigeria was hit by a torpedo from the Italian submarine Axum during air attacks when entering Skerki Channel at Tunisia. The ship was stationary with everything out of action. Flames were leaping from one of the funnels. Below deck fifty officers and men perished, and others were wounded. The ship was a sitting target for a further attack and Italian aircraft dropped several torpedoes onto the water but they failed to hit the ship. It was several hours before some power could be restored to the engines. Escorted by destroyers, Nigeria began the long journey back to Gibraltar. Despite another torpedo attack from a submarine Nigeria reached Gibraltar on August 15. Those who were killed in the action were buried with full military honours. The Nigeria was given temporary repair in Gibraltar and October 7, 1942 departed Gibraltar for passage to the US Navy Yard at Charleston arriving there on October 23. It was with this wartime experience that Kenneth, in November, 1942 was posted to HMCS St Hyacinth, the Signal School at St. Hyacinthe, Quebec instrumental in training thousands of wireless operators during World War II. In January, 1943 he was transferred to No 1 Naval Air Gunners School (East Camp) at RCAF Station, Yarmouth as a Radio Theory Instructor. He remained at East Camp until August 1944, when he returned the United Kingdom. He served during the establishment of Telegraphist Air Gunner training in January 1943 with the arrival of the first course of TAG trainees, Course 45A at the Camp. As Radio Theory Instructor, he was directly involved in the radio theory training of courses 45A through 65A. As an instructor, he was involved in many aspects of East Camp life (see East Camp Instruction). At the time of his departure in August 1944, East Camp had evolved into a well established training facility. During his time at East Camp in Nova Scotia, he made life long friends with local Canadian families he met through the camp. In 1945, whilst stationed at HMS Dryad, Portsmouth, he met his wife, Irene, who was also stationed at HMS Dryad as a Wren. After the war, he remained in the Royal Navy until August 1966 reaching the rank of Instructor Commander. He held the rank of Schoolmaster whilst serving on HMS Nigeria, and while stationed at East Camp. Confirmation of his promotion to Instructor Lieutenant in the Royal Navy was confirmed at the end of December 1946. His service included periods of duty in Singapore and Malta. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire in January, 1964 for services to Naval education. Following retirement from the Navy, Ken Sumnall returned to his original profession of teaching, settling in Cambridgeshire. He eventually retired from teaching in 1979. Instructor Commander Kenneth Sumnall died on March 9, 1986 at Whittlesford, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England.
Kenneth Gordon Sumnall Radio Theory Instructor, East Camp
Winter at East Camp Kenneth Sumnall (fourth from right, wearing sheepskin jacket) Lieutenant Doust on the far left, next to Mr N. Tomlinson, and then Cdr, Mudie
Party- Officers Mess, East Camp
Officers at East Camp Kenneth Sumnall (third row from bottom; third officer from the right)
Royal Naval Officers at East Camp Kenneth Sumnall (second from left, back row)