Hartlepool Chelsea Pensioner makes journey to honour his seaman uncle killed on Christmas Eve during Second World War

A Chelsea Pensioner from Hartlepool came home to pay tribute to his seaman uncle who was killed at Christmas during the Second World War.

Monday, 20th December 2021, 4:53 pm

David Lines laid a wreath for Joseph Sculley who died aged just 23 on Christmas Eve in 1940 when the minesweeper he was serving on was by the Germans in the North Sea.

David, a 72 year-old veteran from Hartlepool, who now lives in the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, had hoped to lay the wreath last year to mark the 80th anniversary of the tragedy.

But due to the pandemic he postponed it until this year.

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Chelsea Pensioner David Lines lays a wreath in memory of his seaman uncle Joseph Sculley from Hartlepool who was killed during the Second World War.

On Friday, David accompanied by comrade Peter Proctor-Cannon, laid the floral tribute at Hartlepool’s Harbour Light naval memorial at Jackson Dock next to the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Joseph’s name is recorded on a plaque at the memorial.

David, who served with the 15/19th The King's Royal Hussars cavalry regiment from 1970, said: “I came up a few years ago and took part in the Remembrance Day parade at Hartlepool war memorial.

"I had a look at the memorial the next day and noticed that my uncle’s name wasn’t on it.

Joseph was one of 20 men who all perished at sea.

"I spoke to some people at the Navy Club who said there was a memorial on Jackson’s Landing for royal naval personnel and went down and found his name, so I wanted to put a wreath on it.

"It is the first time I have done it. I wanted to do it last year.”

Joseph, son of Mary Ann Sculley from West Hartlepool, served on the British minesweeper HM Trawler Pelton as a stoker.

On December 24, 1940, it was sunk by a fast attack German E-boat in the North Sea off Aldeburgh, Suffolk with the loss of all 20 souls on board.

David added: “My mother had a photo of him on HMT Pelton but it is only recently that I found out the story after I went on the internet and sourced all the information from there.”

He has lived in London for around six years after relocating from Hartlepool and the North East.

David served in the army for 22 years completing his service with the Light Dragoons.

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