Kenneth Cary Helyar

By August 8, 2015 at 8:14 pm0 Comments

Lieutenant Commander Kenneth Cary Helyar’s photo (right) is just before the First World War in 1913 prior to this he started his naval career at the age of 14 years as a cadet.

During the war he was at the battle of Zeebrugge (on St Georges Day 1918) he was in command of a destroyer named the “North Star”. His ship was hit by shells fired from the German guns on the shore line resulting in the ship being sunk.

The survivors which included Lieutenant Commander Helyar, who had to be persuaded to abandon his ship, were picked up by the Commander of one of the other destroyers The Commander’s name was Lieutenant Commander Gore-Langton his ship was the “Phoebe“ When Angela Helyar was a child Lieutenant Commander Gore-Langton lived in Flyboat Farm between Pitminster and Corfe.

Lieutenant Commander Helyar was awarded the DSO and the Croix de Guerre for what did in the battle. He died in the Second World War and his name is on the local war memorial, in Pitminster Church.

(He was the father of Angela Helyar of this Parish).


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The Surrender of the German Fleet

The task of the Royal Navy during the First World War was both to prevent a German invasion and to safeguard our merchant shipping. To achieve this required British supremacy on the High Seas.

The Germans had built up a formidable Fleet of capital ships during the arms race before the war, while Great Britain retained the largest, if not the modern Navy in the world. After evading a battle in the first two years of war, the German fleet emerged from their bases, at the insistence of the Kaiser, to engage the British Fleet at the Battle of Jutland. Although both sides suffered heavy losses, the German Fleet broke off the engagement and retreated to their bases. They never came out again until, at the end of the war, they steamed to Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands to surrender.

Scapa Flow had been the main operational base for the British Fleet during that war. After a short time at anchor in Scapa Flow, the German Admiral gave the order for his ships to scuttle themselves. Up to the end of the Second World War many of these ships remained on the sea bed, while others were salvaged for scrap metal.

At that time my Father was the Admiralty Civil Servant in charge of supplying the British Fleet at Scapa Flow with food and clothing and, for a very short time, the Germans too. He spent these post cards home as a souvenir of those momentous times.

Chris Robinson, Montana, Blagdon Hill 18.09.14.

About the Author:

This Taunton WW1 borough wide project has been bought to the community by Creative Innovation Centre CIC, Taunton (also known as CICCIC). With support from Heritage Lottery Fund and many other partners we are proud to work with all in the community to produce this website and other project related activities.


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