Patrick Howard Havers

Patrick Howard Havers

Regiment:Royal Navy, HMS Dasher
Country:United Kingdom
Service Number:unknown
Cemetary/Memorial: Lee-on-Solent Memorial (Bay 4, Panel 3)
Awards:War Medal 1939 – 1945
1939 – 1945 Star

Born on 5th March 1908 in Worthing, Lieutenant Commander Havers died on 27th March 1943, aged 35 when HMS Dasher was sunk in the Firth of Clyde.

He was the youngest son of William Joseph and Lily Havers. He married Kitty (nee Lange-Nielsen) in 1939 and their daughter, Nina was born in 1940.

His elder brothers, John, Thomas and Arthur (1897-1988) were also Ronians. Whilst Thomas entered the clergy, John and Arthur both served and survived the war:

- Arthur Alfred (1900-1974), Lieutenant Commander on HMS Suffolk, was awarded the OBE in May 1943 and the DSC in recognition of “gallantry during active operations against the enemy at sea”.

- John Reginald, (b. 1895), Flying Officer with 103 Squadron was awarded the DFC in 1944 for “an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy”.

Patrick was a pupil at St Ronan’s from 1916 to 1921 where he was a Prefect and it seems a good all-rounder, gaining academic prizes and participating in all walks of school life. He went on to Cheltenham, having passed 9th out of 51 candidates. He returned to visit the school in 1923 and 1932.

He arrived at Cheltenham College in January 1922 and entered Hazelwell boarding house, while Henry Harrison Hardy was Headmaster of College and Rev. P.W. Unwin was Housemaster. He went through from 4C - Upper 5 Military Forms, leaving College in December 1925. He was Head of his House, a School Prefect, and an under officer in the Corps, in which he ran the Signalling Section. He was elected to a £60 Scholarship at Kings College, Cambridge.

He was a Cadet in the Royal Navy in 1925; a Midshipman in 1927; Lieutenant in 1931 (attached to RAF, before becoming Lieutenant Commander of Fleet Air Arm, and Squadron Leader in 1941.

Havers is listed on the College's Roll of Honour for the Second World War, and has a place on the Memorial Plaques in Old Chapel.

HMS Dasher was an Avenger Class Escort Carrier. She was built at Sun Shipbuilding, Chester as a merchant ship. She was converted to an aircraft carrier and re-named BAVG-5, being transferred to the Royal Navy on completion and commissioned on the 1st of July 1942.

HMS Dasher saw action in the North African landings, Operation Torch in November 1942, carrying the Sea Hurricanes of 835 squadron. She also saw action in the Russian convoys to Murmansk.  

On March 27th 1943 HMS Dasher, mysteriously exploded in the Clyde. She sank within eight minutes with the loss of 379 lives, only 149 of those on board survived. Two small coastal vessels Gragsman and Lithium, and the radar training ship, Isle of Sark, along with the French La Capricieuse managed to rescue survivors from the blazing oil covered sea.

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