Charles Napier Stewart

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Charles Napier Stewart
Born February 14th. 1909.
East Newport, Fife, Scotland.
Died March 16th. 1959.
Died at sea, Master of the Chefoo II .
Nationality British.
Occupation Master Mariner.
Employer Royal Navy & China Navigation Co.
Home town Dundee, Scotland.
Denomination Church of England.
Spouse(s) Barbara Budden. m. 1950.
Children Daughter - Alison, born June 26th. 1951
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Joined CNCo service December 27th. 1945.


December 27th. 1945. Joined C.N.Co on Agreement in London, in possession of his Master's Certificate of Competency No. 41628, issued in Dundee on April 27th. 1938.

February 8th. 1946. Appointed 2nd. Mate on the new building Fengtien II, then 2/O on the Fatshan II, and Soochow III.

September 22nd. 1948. Promoted to C/O, and employed as C/O on the Sinkiang II, Fatshan II, Fengtien II, Tsinan II, Fatshan II, then proceeded on Home Leave on February 7th. 1950. While on leave attended the M.O.T Radar course, Siemens Radar course and Browns Gyro course.

After Home Leave stood by the new building Funing I at Wm. Gray's shipyard, West Hartlepool, signing articles as C/O. on November 20th. 1950, later sailing as C/O on the Fatshan II, Anshun II, Soochow III, Shansi II, Poyang II and as Master of theShengking II, then proceeded on Home Leave on December 17th. 1954.

October 15th. 1955.. Returned from leave sailed as C/O on the Yunnan II, then employed on Special Duties under the Marine Superintendent, appointed "On Turn" Master in September 1956, and Substantive Master on February 7th. 1957.

April 30th. 1956. Appointed to Special Duties, i.e. assisting the Marine Superintendent in the Hong Kong Office. It was commented that he carried out his duties very well, handling the officers particularly well.

October 2nd. 1957.. Returned to sea as Master of the Hanyang II, then on July 30th. 1958, appointed, as Master, to stand by the new building of the Chefoo II, at Taikoo Dockyard, signing articles on August 12th. 1958. He was considered by floating staff and the H.K. Office to be a popular and efficient Master.

March 15th 1959. At Nagoya he was diagnosed with having suspected liver cancer, he decided to remain on board the Chefoo II and enter hospital on arrival at Kobe, but he passed away a few hours after departure Nagoya.

March 16th. 1959. Died at Sea.


Events / Stories

January 6th 1939 to January 11th 1940 Acting Lieutenant R.N.R. On joining the R.N. one of his first duties was to obtain / acquire a Royal Navy watch keeping certificate, in spite of the fact that he had his Masters Certificate and already had many years of sea going watch keeping experience.

January 11th 1940. Appointed Lieutenant R.N.R..

October 1st. 1940 to March 6th. 1942. Appointed Lt. Commander R.N.R. of "H.M.S. Northern Reward" an A.S.W. Trawler.

'April 9th. 1942 to October 25th. 1945.' During this period he was the Lieutenant in Command of H.M.S. Violet (K35), a corvette of the Flower Class, joining her in Freetown. The corvette was employed mainly on convoy escort duties, from the Western Approaches to the Far East as required.

January 19th. 1944. The convoy OS65/KMS39 located off Iceland , 360 miles west of Cape Clear was protected by a three ring escort, with H.M.S. Violet being at the outer ring. It was in this position that H.M.S. Violet located U-641, three miles behind the convoy in the early evening. Position 50 degrees 25' N. 18 degrees 49' W.

The radar operator, AB Green picked up a signal on the surface and later confirmed it as a U-Boat. The Lieutenant Commander C.N.Stewart of H.M.S.Violet altered course, headed for the U-boat and reduced speed to 5 knots. Action stations were sounded, whilst U-641 was still on the surface, it was decided to ram the U-boat if H.M.S. Violet could get close enough, but she was detected by U-641.

H.M.S. Violet fired one round from her four inch gun as the U-boat crash dived and was then picked up by the ASDIC operator. Slow speed was maintained as U-641 was heard turning away, ASDIC conditions were good.

Captain Stewart decided on a hedgehog attack and increased speed to 8 knots before firing the first pattern of projectiles, which were released 220 yards ahead, after an interval of 16 seconds, two almost simultaneous explosions were heard, A third explosion followed two seconds later, indicating that three of the 24 projectiles had hit. At 19.35 hrs. an oil patch was observed and 3 minutes later a second hedgehog attack was carried out. There were no survivors. H.M.S. Violet then rejoined the convoy.

For his actions in destroying U-641 Lieutenant C.N. Napier was awarded the D.S.C. on June 19th. 1945.

October 25th. 1945. Left the R.N.

N.B. The "Hedgehog" weapon fired 24 small spigot mortar bombs from spiked fittings, about 300 yards ahead of the attacking vessel, forming a circle around the target area, the bombs exploding on contact with the submarine. View "Images" section for picture of "Hedgehog" projectiles, and HMS Violet. The hedgehog was a most successful weapon as no enemy submarines were reported as surviving a hedgehog attack for the duration of the war.