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William Thomas Snow B.E.M.
Able Seaman
P/JX 156912


Boy Seaman William Thomas Snow - His BEM was awarded 2 years after this picture was taken

William (on the left), with a friend whilst serving at HMS St Vincent (click for a larger view in a new window) (37079 bytes)

William was the helmsman of HMS Li Wo during the battle in which she eventually rammed a Japanese transport ship and sank both it, and HMS Li Wo. He would have actually been at the helm when HMS Li Wo rammed the transport ship. His mother was subsequently notified of his death, and a message of Royal Condolences was sent to her on 29th October 1945.
The British Empire Medal was awarded to him whilst serving aboard the 'Town Class' cruiser HMS Glasgow.
The award, dated 29th April 1941 is recorded in The London Gazette no. 35147 dated 25th April 1941. There are no other details available except that three other men from his ship were awarded this medal at the same time. Family consensus has the award dated as December 1940 whilst William was an Ordinary Seaman.

On 3 December 1940, HMS Glasgow was attacked by Italian aircraft while anchored at Suda Bay Crete, she received two torpedo hits one hit the chain locker and the other put two of her four shafts out of action. two men were killed in this action, they were Surgeon Lt. G R E Maxted and Royal Marine Albert Harold Bragg. Although badly damaged she left for Alexandria on the 5th December, where temporary repairs were carried out to the damage.

Here s the citation for William's British Empire Medal:
William Thomas Snow, Ordinary Seaman, Official Number P/JX. 156912, HMS Glasgow.
On the occasion of the torpedoing of HMS Glasgow on 3rd December 1940, Ordinary Seaman Snow accompanied Lieutenant Godson soon after the explosion and proceeded to close the water-tight doors in the cordite gallery flat.
This he did successfully though only wearing a gas mask and when Lieutenant Godson collapsed he brought him up out of the compartment. He then went below again and brought up an unconscious Marine.

In January 1941 HMS Glasgow left for Singapore, to join the East Indies Fleet where more repairs were carried out to her damaged hull.
In February 1941 upon completion of repairs, allocated to the East Indies Station and employed in escort duties to troop convoys.
During February whilst in the Indian Ocean the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer sank the freighter Canadian Cruiser, and the Dutch steamer Rantaupandjang, before sinking, the freighters managed to transmit a distress signals which were received by Glasgow which was stationed in that area.

On the 16th March HMS Glasgow leading a small fleet, landed Indian Battalions and a Somali commando detachment either side of the Berber Somaliland. The town was recaptured from the Italians by the troops with support from naval gunfire.
At some point Glasgow must have returned to the East Indies station and Singapore. William must have been reassigned in or near Singapore, as he didn't leave the East Indies Station with Glasgow in April 1942 for New York, in fact he had already been killed on HMS Li Wo in February 1942. 

Second Supplement
The London Gazette
of Friday, the 25th of April 1941.
Published by Authority

Registered as a newspaper


St. James's Palace, SW1.
29th April 1941.

The King has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards of the British Empire Medal (Military Division) to the  under-mentioned:
          For courage and resource:
Chief Engine Room Artificer Hurst Salisbury Best Stephens, D/MX.49597.
Acting Electrical Artificer Fourth Class Stanley John Wencelas Jurd, P/MX.61826.
Able Seaman Lionel Wilfred Gray, C/J.79641.
Ordinary Seaman William Thomas Snow, P/JX.156912.

Whitehall SW1
29th April 1941.

The following service records were obtained in October 1989 by my husbands older brother Antony:
William Thomas SNOW
Born 8th October 1922 at Westhampnett, Bognor, Sussex.
Occupation: Carriage Oiler (Railway)
Height: 5' 6"1/2; Chest: 34" Hair: dark brown; Eyes: hazel; Complexion: sallow.
He entered the Navy as a Boy 2nd Class on 25th January 1938 with the number Portsmouth JX.156912.
He needed his parent's written permission to do so and the consent form was signed by his Mother Alicia Snow of Bognor Regis, Sussex.
On 8th October 1940, at age 18 years, he entered into a 12 year engagement in the Royal Navy. At this time his personal description was as follows:
Height: 5' 10"; Chest: 36".
The ships and shore establishments in which he served, together with the relevant dates, and his Rating at the time, were recorded as follows:

HMS St Vincent Boy 2nd Class 25 - 01 - 38  to  30 - 09 - 38
HMS St Vincent Boy 1st Class 01 - 10 - 39  to  01 - 12 - 38
HMS Dunedin Boy 1st Class 02 - 12 - 38  to  27 - 04 - 39
HMS Glasgow Boy 1st Class 28 - 04 - 39  to  07 - 10 - 40
HMS Glasgow Ordinary Seaman 08 - 10 - 40  to  07 - 05 - 41
HMS Glasgow Able Bodied Seaman 08 - 05 - 41  to  08 - 09 - 41
HMS Li Wo Able Bodied Seaman ------- ? ------  to  14 - 02 - 42

William's medal entitlement was:
The Medal of the Order of the British Empire (BEM)
1939/45 Star
The Atlantic Star 1939/45
The Africa Star 1940/43
The Pacific Star 1941/45
The War Medal 1939/45

My husband is one of six sons of William's younger brother Les. William (Uncle Billy) has one surviving sibling his older sister Dot (Doris) who is 87 and lives in Western Australia. She has a daughter and a son. 
Both of William's Grandfathers served in the Navy for twenty years each and his Granddad William Reeves Verion served on HMS Warrior which is now an attraction in Portsmouth harbour. He also served on Philomel, Hibernia, Thunderer, Iris, Alexandra and Howe amongst others.
Frank Snow had been a Stoker 2nd Class and served on HMS Malabar, Active, Inflexible and Terror amongst others.

Diane Snow

Please contact Andy (webmaster) with any information.

Andy Wade (Webmaster)

Information provided by
Diane Snow, The London Gazette, and The CWGC

Commonwealth War Graves Commission record:

Rank: Able Seaman 
Regiment: Royal Navy 
Unit Text: H.M.S. Li Wo 
Age: 19 
Date of Death: 14/02/1942 
Service No: P/JX 156912 
Awards: B.E.M. 
Additional information: Son of Victor Osborn Snow and Alice Sophia Snow, of Bognor Regis, Sussex. 
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead 
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 65. Column 1.