Two members of George Ranger’s family got in touch with us a few weeks ago. Susanna Aiano (his 2nd great niece) and Veronica Ranger (his daughter in law). George was born on June 2nd 1894, he joined HMS Medway Queen on December 1st 1939, as a Sub Lt (E). The CO, Lt. Cook, commended George on his part in the Dunkirk operation and his work with the boats ferrying men from the beaches to the ship. He worked so hard that he collapsed on the 3rd trip and had to be taken ashore. He was granted sick leave but discharged from the Navy on 11th July 1940 on medical grounds. In February 1965 George was awarded the “Minesweeping Badge” for his service. George died on February 15th 1977.
We are always pleased to receive details of Medway Queen’s crew, whether in peace or war, and we have another gap in our knowledge of the Dunkirk Officers. Lt. Leonard Jolly was the navigating officer from when the ship was commissioned in November 1939. He too was commended by the CO after Dunkirk and some reports say he was also landed as medically unfit towards the end of the operation. Others report him as on duty on the last trip (such is life in historical research). We do know that after Dunkirk he was appointed to HMS Lorna Doone as First Lieutenant. Lorna Doone was another paddle minesweeper reported by Lt. Jolly in a letter as being “bigger and more comfortable than Medway Queen” but he went on to say that he missed the “tough guys” in Medway Queen’s seamen’s mess and wished he could transfer them to his new ship!
The investigation is ongoing. We are at the stage of "answer one question and find two more"! If you have any further knowledge of any of these men or other officers and crew from HMS Medway Queen please do get in touch. What we do know has largely gone into the “Memories of Dunkirk” book but even while that is being printed this additional information on George Ranger came to light.
Why does it always work like that?