My Great Uncle Frank served as a crew member of HMS Prince of Wales. I never met
him because he passed away when I was very young . However he was my mother Joyce Smith's Uncle, and my late Nan's brother. I have asked my mother to write the following biography for your website:
Frank Montague joined the Royal Navy at age 14. My earliest recollection of him was when I was 7 years old in 1940, when I visited him and his first wife Lily in Twerton, Bath , with my mother brothers and sisters who had been evacuated from London. As a child I also remember the terrible shock that the family experienced when we heard that HMS Prince of Wales had been sunk and seem to recall it was a very long time before it was confirmed Uncle Frank was fortunate enough to be amongst the survivors .
In 1962, I visited Uncle Frank with my husband Richard and it was at that meeting that he talked about that terrible day when HMS Prince of Wales was sunk, a subject that he previously simply didn't discuss. Frank Montague was a Petty Officer and worked in the engine room.
He commented about the speed with which the Japanese aircraft launched their attack . When HMS Prince of Wales was sunk he spent many hours in the water with other crew and was eventually picked up by a British destroyer . The effect of spending so long in the water, which was thick with oil made him very ill and he was fortunate to be repatriated back to England before the fall of Singapore .
Joyce Smith (Niece)
The family would love to hear from anyone who knew Frank or has additional information.
Napier, New Zealand.
Contact Andy (webmaster) with any information.
Information provided by
Smith and Chris Smith