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The Crew of HMS Exeter onboard at the Battle of the River Plate

Page updated 2nd May 2022

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Sub-Lieutenant Causton

There is no definitive list of the crew of HMS Exeter, during the Battle of the River Plate in December 1939. This page is based on a list compiled by Jim Smith, who has kindly allowed its inclusion on Exeter Memories. The list now contains 486 crew names, with additions added by family and friends, and research in various newspaper articles. The full complement for the Exeter was approximately 630. At the bottom of the list, are the names of the British Hospital, Buenos Aires nurses who attended the wounded in the Falklands.

If you can add a name to the list, or add some biographical details or correct an entry, please email me.

With thanks to the British Council and TIME/IMAGE for the use of the stills of the crew after the battle. The photos of the graves and the template courtesy of John T. Pitman.

Notes - Names in BOLD killed in action or ¤ decorated for services during the battle. The British Library Newspaper Archive was used for many biographical details.

Surname - Forename - Rank - Decoration

Sub-Lieutenant Causton
The graves of the four crew members
who were buried on the Falklands.

The Falkland Islands News Weekly and Church Bulletin

The most impressive ceremony ever witnessed in Stanley was seen on Monday, December 18, when P0 Frank Legg and Chief P.0. Richard Powton, members of the crew of HMS ‘Exeter’ who died of wounds from a Naval Battle off the River Plate, were laid to rest in Stanley Cemetery with full Naval Honours. The Funeral was attended by, His Excellency the Governor and Commander in Chief, the Commander, Officers and men of HMS “Exeter”, the Offices and a detachment of men from the Falkland Islands Defence Force, and a large percentage of the general public. The service in the Cathedral, conducted by the Rev. G.F. Grove, R.N. assisted by the Rev. GK Lowe, was, in keeping with the spirit of the Navy and Church, simple brief and dignified consisting of two Hymns, the usual lesson, read by His Excellency the Governor, and the reading of the Roll of Honour, the names of those who have died for God and their King and Country. After the service the funeral cortege led by the Firing Party with reversed arms, followed by the band, proceeded to the cemetery, where the final prayers were said, three volleys were fired, the Last Post and Reveille were sounded, and thus ended the simple but most impressive ceremony of committing the souls of sixty-three brave men to God. There were scores of wreaths from their shipmates and the general public. Among the many floral tributes was a wreath from the Officers and men of the SS “Karl Fritzen” bearing the following inscription “to those brave men from HMS Exeter who died for their King and Country.”

Sub-Lieutenant Causton
Sub-Lieutenant Causton with a broken leg

Sub-Lieutenant Causton
The graves on the Falklands of
Anthony C P Collings, Chief Shipwright
and Frank Legg, Petty Officer Cook

An extract from a personal account by Telegraphist Norman Schofield of the burials at sea
Clearing up operations began and our dead were checked as 64—five died afterwards on shore. The wounded were many and the wardroom was converted into a Sickbay... All the dead were draped in blankets and canvas and weights with chains etc. They were laid on the foc's'le and quarterdeck and the burial at sea took place. Chums and buddies of three years friendship were reverently committed to the deep in three minutes. I think many of us who were watching had to quell the sickly lump, which rose in our throats as their remains hit the water and sank. Everyone was given a tot of rum; an old naval custom. It was new to me, and my brother received half of my ration.
See Norman Scholfield's account

DALLAS-SMITH Peter, Midshipman
DALLAWAY Stanley J, Gnr ¤ Mentioned in Despatches
DANCE S T, Musician Royal Marines Band
DANN H, Sub Lieutenant, Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve
DAVIES Gilbert L, Able Seaman
DAVIES Stanley, Able Seaman
DAY E, Seaman
DAY H, Seaman

Stoker Lewis CPO Willie Claude Truman, PO Nemo of HMS Ajax and PO J Green of the Exeter, in Capetown.

Stoker Lewis
Stoker Lewis with a broken neck after the battle.

Stoker Lewis
Template for the graves carved by PO Harold Head Pitman.

Stoker Lewis
The graves on the Falklands of
Richard F Powton Chief Petty Office Cook,
Marine Wilfred A Russell Royal Marines

Stoker Lewis
Skeues, the ship's cat. Photo courtesy Dave Eckersall.


The following names are of those who served in Exeter during the commission December 1936 - August 1939, but have not been confirmed as members of the crew during the battle.

Sub-Lieutenant Causton

ELSTON,  L Stoker
GILL, Stoker
LANGUARD, Leading Stoker
LOVESAY, Leading Steward
MOORCROFT, Leading Seaman
MORGAN, Leading Stoker
MOUNTJOY, Leading Stoker
NORTHEY, Stokerr at HMS Drake. He was killed
ROBINS, Petty Officer
SOADY, Stoker
EMMOTT, J Able Seaman
FLEMING, J P, Able Seaman
HAYES, F W, Petty Officer
PULLAR G O, Leading Seaman
ROBERTS, LF, Able Seaman
WILSON, G B, Leading Seaman

Stoker Lewis
Dr Pennington and the nurses who went to the Falklands
to treat the injured from HMS Exeter.
Supplied by Alejandro Miles Stuart Pennington

British Hospital, Buenos Aires nurses led by Dr M J Petty, who were taken to the Falklands on SS Lafonia to look after the wounded. See Falkland Nurse's Account.

Mrs. I. Watson, Miss Potts. Miss Elder. Miss Ford, Miss Reid, Miss Shaw, Miss McGreave. Miss Sutton, Miss Sandleir, Miss Robson-Smith, Miss Haines, and Miss Mallas.

Dr Pennington, a radiologist from Buenes Aires accompanied the nurses on SS Lafonia. He was awarded the OBE by King George VI for his services to the injured.

At the time of the battle, HMS Exeter had two ships mascots, one of which survived.

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