Colin Maud - Royal Navy Service - Destroyer Command

Destroyer Command

Between July 1935 and early 1937 he commanded the 1919-vintage destroyer Sardonyx before moving in May 1937 to the brand new destroyer Icarus, which operated in the North Sea at the beginning of World War II. On 29 November 1939, in company with the destroyers Kingston and Kashmir, Icarus depth charged and sank the German submarine U-35.

On 3 March 1940, in company with Express, Impulsive and Esk, Maud's Icarus laid a minefield which claimed U-44 10 days later. On 11 April 1940 Icarus captured the 8,514-ton German supply ship Alster and on 13 April took part in the Second Battle of Narvik. He received a clutch of awards during the summer of 1940: on 28 June 1940 the Distinguished Service Cross, on 11 July 1940 a bar to the same award, "for good services in the Royal Navy since the outbreak of War", and on 16 August 1940 a mention in despatches.

In early May 1941, Maud commanded Icarus during the hunt for the Bismarck, escorting the battlecruiser Hood and the battleship Prince of Wales. Poor weather meant that the destroyers were unable to keep up with the capital ships, and when Hood had been sunk, Icarus joined in the search for survivors - of which there were only three.

As commanding officer of Icarus, Maud participated in the evacuation of Dunkirk, in a raid on Spitzbergen, in the Malta convoys, and in numerous Atlantic and Russian convoys.

Maud took over as captain of the destroyer Somali in September 1942 when her own captain, Jack Eaton, was ill. While covering the return of the Russian convoy PQ-18, Somali was torpedoed by U-703 on 20 September. She was hit in her engine room, and although taken under tow by Ashanti, on 25 September heavy weather broke her back, and she sank. Maud was rescued by Leading Seaman William Goad, who dove into the freezing water with a rope, for which Goad was awarded the Albert Medal. Of the 102 men on board, only 35 were rescued. Maud had spent an hour in the Arctic water, and credited his survival to the fact that he had drunk a bottle of whisky after going overboard. As a result he ordered men under his command to carry a bottle of whisky, which proved to be a popular order. On 1 December 1942 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

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