The War Graves of Ystradgynlais

Vivian Hart

Vivian Russell Hart served in the Royal Navy aboard the destroyer HMS Decoy, and was killed in action in the Mediterranean in November 1940, probably as a result of an attack by Italian aircraft, while the Decoy was serving as part of an escort for a convoy of merchant ships.

The information on Vivian Russell Hart has been compiled from a number of sources, including the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, from the South Wales Voice newspaper, and the Parish Burial Register (courtesy of the Swansea Archives).

NameVivian Russell Hart
Date of Death13th November 1940
Place of DeathEastern Mediterranean
Age at Death20
Unit and RegimentRoyal Navy; H.M.S. Decoy
RankOrdinary Seaman
Service NumberD⁄JX 168364
Local Memorials Ystradgynlais War Memorial
NotesSon of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Hart, Pantycelyn, Abercrave

A Service of Commemoration for V. R. Hart and another Abercrave Serviceman was held at Bryn Seion Chapel, Abercrave on 16th November 1947

From the South Wales Voice newspaper, 30th November 1940 :-

Vivian Russel Hart, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Hart, Pantycelyn, Abercrave, reported by the Admiralty, to have met his death while serving on a destroyer in the Mediterranean. Vivian was a happy and friendly disposition and his death will be deplored by a large number of companions and friends of the family. His parents are so far ignorant of the circumstances of his death, and would feel very grateful if any of his messmates would send them more particulars than are likely to be contained in the official statements.

From the South Wales Voice newspaper, 30th November 1940 :-

The inhabitants of the village were greatly shocked by the sad news received on Tuesday morning by Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Hart, Pantycelyn, that their son Vivian had died on active service. Viv, as he was affectionately known, joined the Navy shortly after the commencement of hostilities and although no details of how and when he met his death are known, it is certain that he gave his life whilst fighting gallantly for his country. He was a very popular young man in the village, especially so with his fellow –workmen at the Abercrave Colliery, where he was employed previous to his being called up. Widespread sympathy is felt for his bereaved parents in their sad loss.

Read about HMS Decoy at Wikipedia:-
Decoy was part of the fleet which provided cover for a convoy of two cruisers, four destroyers and four British merchantmen that left Alexandria for Malta on 8 October 1940 (Operation MB-6). The convoy was not spotted and arrived safely at Malta on 11 October 1940. The only damage sustained was to one of the destroyers in the covering force that hit a mine off Malta. Whilst returning to Alexandria, the British Mediterranean Fleet were twice attacked by Italian torpedo boats and once by Italian aircraft. Aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm from Illustrious and Eagle also attacked off Leros. On 25 February, 1941, she participated in Operation Abstention, an ill-fated attempt to seize the Italian island of Kastelorizo.


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