Ordinary Seaman Smith Hanson Houldsworth

Smith Hanson Houldsworth

Ordinary Seaman, Royal Navy. Service no. P/JX 522102. HMS Penelope.

A British Royal Navy seaman wearing the dark blue navy uniform. He is facing the camera and his Royal Navy cap is pushed back on his head in a relaxed manner, showing a bit of dark wavy hair on his forehead.

Seaman Smith Hanson Houldsworth in Royal Navy Uniform

Early life:

Smith was born on 15th June 1925.
His parents were Arthur Houldsworth, a grocer's assistant and Hilda Mary Houldsworth née Hanson, a spinner.
At the time of Smith's birth they were living at Brown Springs near Bogthorn, although they also lived with Hilda's parents for a short while before they moved to 23, Damems and later, 48, Bogthorn.
Harry was educated at Holycroft Council School in Keighley.

Before enlisting he worked at the Aireworth Branch of the Keighley Co-operative Society which was on Bradford Road, Stockbridge.

War service:

A large stone built Cooperative Society building with large clear glass front windows for display of goods for sale.

Aireworth Branch, Keighley Cooperative Society on the main road at Stockbridge.

Smith joined the Navy in July 1943 aged 18 and trained at Portsmouth. He was serving on HMS Penelope when she was sunk on 18th February 1944. He was killed during the sinking and was just 18 years of age.
Keighley News dated 11th March 1944. In HMS "Penelope."
Two Keighley men who were serving on HMS Penelope when it was sunk are reported to be missing, believed killed.
They are Ordinary Seaman Smith Hanson Houldsworth and Able Seaman Harry Charlesworth.
Ordinary Seaman Houldsworth lives at 48, Bogthorn, Oakworth, and had been in the Navy since last July. He is 18 years of age and before enlisting was employed in the Keighley Co-operative Society's grocery department at the Aireworth branch. He was educated at Holycroft Council School.
A short account of the career and later, the sinking of HMS Penelope:
H.M.S. Penelope was built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast, Northern Ireland and launched on the 15 October 1935. She was nicknamed 'Pepperpot' by the crew and saw active service through out the war until sunk in 1944.
On the 11th of April 1940 she was badly damaged when she ran aground off Fleinver in the Vestfjord.
After repairs she was transferred to the Mediterranean as part of the British K force based in Malta. She was again damaged on the 18th of December 1941 when she, along with several other ships encountered an Italian minefield off Tripoli. Two were sunk and one badly damaged. HMS Penelope was lightly damaged and was repaired at Malta but was bombed during the repairs on 26 March 1942.
She left Malta on 8 April 1942 for full repairs at the New York Navy Yard in the USA, setting sail again in September 1942.
She participated in the Allied landings at Anzio where she provided artillery bombardment. She was torpedoed by the German submarine U-410, on the 18th February 1944 and sank west of Naples, Italy. 417 men including the captain were lost, there were 206 survivors. A memorial plaque commemorating those lost is in St Ann's Church, HM Dockyard, Portsmouth.


Smith Hanson Houldsworth has no known final resting place, having been lost at sea.
He is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 84, Column 1.
He is named on the Second World War - Garden of Remembrance in Holden Park, Oakworth.

Source information:

West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935
1925 birth record
West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962
Keighley War Scrapbook (WW2) at Keighley Library Local Studies and Archives.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Oakworth WW2 war memorial in Holden Park Oakworth.

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