Lead Telegraphist
Eric Benjamin Woolis

1920 - 16 March 1944

Ripley, Derbyshire - Bergen


Eric Benjamin Woolis was born to Benjamin and Hilda Woolis from Ripley, Derbyshire.

He was Lead Telegraphist aboard the Royal Navy Motor Torpedo Boat 417 (MTB 417). These fast boats operated against German merchant and navy vessels off the coast of occupied Europe. They were also engaged in dropping off of Allied agents onto occupied shores, supporting commando raids and other secret missions.

[No crest available]

MTB 417

In the night of 16 March 1944 (German source states the night of 14/15 March 1944) MTB 417, as part of a larger force, attacks a convoy off the French coast. (English sources state the location as between Calais and Boulogne. German sources off the coast of Gravelines.) The convoy of trawlers is escorted by the ships of the German 36th M-Flotilla under command of Kapitan Grosse. The English force torpedo and sink the M3610 (probably a minesweeper). Later MTB 353 sinks the German minesweeper M10 off the coast of Dunkirk. MTB 417 is sunk by German surface ship.

Later, near Cape Griz Nez, the English force run into the German 18th Vp-Flotilla  under command of Kapitan Boit and disengage.

The body of Lead Telegraphist Woolis washed ashore on the Dutch coast and is buried at Bergen Military Cemetery. Of his crew, Lieutenant Ralph Rooper is also buried in Bergen. Able Seaman Burrin is buried in Castricum, just south of Bergen. Sub-Lieutenant Henry Berkeley was recovered off the Belgian coast and buried at Coxyde Military Cemetery.

The commander of the MTB 417, Sub-Lieutenant Thomas Hughes is commemorated at the Chatham Naval Memorial.

Lead Telegraphist Woolis was 24 and is buried at Plot 2. Row A. Grave 4.

Bergen, The Netherlands

See also:
Sub-Lieutenant Thomas Hughes
Able Seaman Dennis Burrin
Lieutenant Ralph Rooper
Sub-Lieutenant Henry Berkeley

British Naval Losses 1939 - 1945
Chronik des Seekrieges 1939 -1945

Directions to Bergen Military Cemetery

If you have any suggestions, comments or additional information, please contact me.

This website is dedicated to the men and women who died and/or are buried in The Netherlands during World War II.


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