HMS_Javelin_1941_IWM_FL_10524

Geoffrey Miller

Geoffrey Ernest Miller was born in Grimsby in 1924 to Cyril George and Ivy P Miller. He was a Scout with 18th Grimsby (St.James) Group and with the outbreak of the Second World War joined the Navy as soon as he was old enough. Aged just 16, Boy 1st Class Geoffrey Miller (P/JX 163581) was posted to H.M.S. Javelin.

On 29th November 1940 HMS Javelin, commanded by Capt Lord Louis Mountbatten, was part of the 5th Flotilla along with with HMS Jackal, Jupiter and Jersey. Based in Plymouth they were tasked with seeking out German destroyers that had been raiding merchant shipping in the SW English Channel. As the four ships steamed line abreast they located three German destroyers (Karl Gastner, Hans Lody and Richard Beitzen) crossing in front of them right to left. Mountbatten ordered an 80-degree manoeuvre to port in order to bring his flotilla onto a parallel course with the enemy ships. This change of course at full speed and on full helm threw the guns instruments out of synchronisation causing the director crews to lose their targets. The result was that Javelin was hit simultaneously fore and aft by two torpedoes and caused the after magazine to explode. There was major flooding of other compartments and the ship was totally disabled. Only 155 feet of the original 353 feet length of hull remained. Javelin miraculously did not sink but 46 of ship’s company lost their lives in the attack. Including the 16 year old Grimsby lad, Geoffrey Miller. His body was never recovered, but he is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Grimsby and Cleethorpes Scouts