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Auction: 18002 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 479

'May 1st [1940] dawned ominously fine and clear. In the bright sunshine the thawing snow sparkled. It was a breathtaking vision of spring beauty, had there been anyone to appreciate it. Instead, with daylight the Stukas were back to make all hideous as they snarled down out of the blue sky. The anti-aircraft ships Calcutta and Auckland were the centre of their attention as they lay of the town of Aandalsnes. With steadily increasing fury the attacks continued all day. By 4 in the afternoon, when a big formation of Stukas made a most determined effort to eliminate them in an attack lasting for half an hour, their ammunition was nearly exhausted. Though both ships were still whole at the end of it, prudence as well as peremptory orders from the C.-in-C. made a withdrawal necessary. The ships were to be preserved for the vital operations impending … '

Narvik, by Captain Donald McIntyre, D.S.O., D.S.C., R.N., refers.

A fine Second World War Norway 1940 operations D.S.M. group of seven awarded to Acting Leading Seaman A. F. J. Simcox, Royal Navy, who was decorated for his gallantry under relentless air attack in H.M.S. Auckland

Distinguished Service Medal, G.VI.R. (J. 107397 A. F. J. Simcox, A./L.S., H.M.S. Auckland); 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; Coronation 1937; Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., G.VI.R., 1st issue (J. 107397 A. F. J. Simcox, A,/L.S., H.M.S. Excellent), one or two edge bruises, generally very fine and better (7)

D.S.M. London Gazette 25 June 1940:

'For courage and resource in operations on the Norwegian coast.'

Albert Fredrick Joel Simcox was born at Portsmouth, Hampshire on 22 December 1907 and entered the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class in June 1923.

An Able Seaman serving in the sloop H.M.S. Auckland on the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939, he remained similarly employed until September 1940, and gained appointment to Acting Leading Seaman in the same period. It was in this capacity that he won his D.S.M. for courage and resource in operations on the Norwegian coast during Operation "Sickle" in 1940, when, under relentless air attack, Auckland lent valuable service in landing and evacuating our marines and troops.

Her first such outing was during Operation "Primrose", when she landed a party of marines at Alesund on 17 April. Next assigned to A.A. duties, Auckland came under continuous air attack in making her way up a fjord to Namsos to relieve the destroyer Nubian. Her arrival - undamaged - has been described as miraculous. A few days later - and having been damaged by a bomb hit on the 20th - she returned to the U.K. to replenish her ammunition. Back on station on A.A. duties off Aandalsnes by the 30th, and as cited above, she came under relentless air attack from Stukas on the following day. Nonetheless, she assisted in the ongoing embarkation of troops and was in fact the last ship to depart the embattled harbour on the 3rd.

Following a spell at the gunnery establishment Excellent, where he was awarded his L.S. & G.C. Medal in January 1941, Simcox joined H.M.S. Rockingham in the following month and was still serving in her at the year's end; Rockingham, a U.S. lend-lease destroyer, was assigned to the 1st and 8th Escort Groups for convoy work in the Atlantic. Simcox's subsequent wartime appointments remain unknown and he finally came ashore as a Petty Officer in May 1953. He was later a licensed victualler in Plymouth; sold with copied research.

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