Calleja, Domenico

I found Domenico Calleja by adding “Connah’s Quay” in the “Additional Information” on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Website on the eve of Remembrance Day 2020.

Sadly I have been unable to find anything of substance about Domenico and his family to be able to tell his story, any information would be gratefully received.

I know that he was born the 12th March 1912 in Vittoriossa, Malta, this is from the UK, British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 (See below).   I also know that he was the son of Lorenzo and Carmena Calleja; husband of Paulina Calleja, of Connah’s Quay, Flintshire, thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission citation.

HMS Curlew. – HMS Curlew along with HMS Coventry were used as prototype conversions to anti-aircraft cruisers.  HMS Curlew served in the home fleet 1939 – 1940 (flag superior changed to D in 1940).  HMS Curlew was sunk due to bombing from German aircraft near Ofot fjord Norway, 26th May 1940.

Allied Warships

HMS Curlew (D 42)

Light cruiser of the Ceres class

Navy      The Royal Navy

Type      Light cruiser

Class      Ceres

Pennant               D 42

Built by Vickers (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.)

Ordered               Apr 1916

Laid down           21 Aug 1916

Launched            5 Jul 1917

Commissioned  14 Dec 1917

Lost  26 May 1940

Loss position      67° 32’N, 16° 37’E

Leaflet |

History  – HMS Curlew was rearmed as Anti-Aircraft cruiser before the war.

HMS Curlew (Capt. Basil Charles Barrington Brooke, RN) was sunk in Lavangsfjord, Ofotfjord near Narvik, northern Norway in position 67º32’N, 16º37’E by German bombers.

Commands listed for HMS Curlew (D 42)

Commander                                                                                 From                            To

1              Capt. Basil Charles Barrington Brooke, RN             23 Aug 1939        26 May 1940

Notable events involving Curlew include:

17 Apr 1940

Troopship Chrobry departed Lillesjona for Namsos to land more troops and stores together with the troops that had been put on board the destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN) and HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN). The newly arrived AA cruiser HMS Curlew (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) went in with the Chrobry and the five destroyers while HMS Manchester (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN) remained at sea while the other AA cruiser, HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN), was sent north to Skjel Fjord to fuel. The Empress of Australia was ordered to return to the U.K. escorted by HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) and the destroyers HMS Vanoc (Lt.Cdr. J.G.W. Deneys, RN) and HMS Whirlwind (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rodgers, RN). HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN) was also initially have to been part of this escort but she had run aground while on A/S patrol off Lillesjona around 0130 hours and had been damaged. She was detached soon after departure for the Tyne where she was to undergo repairs. Shortly before Highlander was detached she forced a German submarine to dive which enabled the convoy to pass unharmed.


At 0200/18 unloading of the Chrobry was halted and she went out to sea again with 170 tons of stores still onboard. She had to clear the area before daylight and the expected air attacks. She was to return the next night. Chrobry indeed succeeded in landing her remaining stores in the evening of the 18th. She then took on board a cargo of timber and set course for the U.K. escorted by HMS Sikh and HMS Mashona. HMS Matabele and HMS Curlew meanwhile had gone back to the U.K. for fuel. HMS Manchester was also on her way back home but was ordered to return to assist a French convoy that was next to land troops at Namsos. HMS Manchester could not be back in time to assist in the landings but course and speed were adjusted so as to meet the convoy at sea and escort it on the return passage. HMS Manchester joined the convoy in the evening of the 20th and remained with it until off the Shetlands the next day after which she was detached and set course for Scapa Flow. HMS Cairo had meanwhile also returned after fueling at Skjel Fjord and assisted the French during the landings. Cairo then returned to the U.K. bolstering the escort of the French convoy. (1)

Sources – ADM 53/112663 + ADM 186/798

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

HMS Curlew (D42) (+1940)

Allen Tony 05/06/2017 HMS CURLEW (D42) was an old cruiser (Capt. B. C. B. Brooke), which had been converted into an anti-aircraft ship was attacked by German Ju-88 dive bombers off Kampfgeschwader 30 the coast of Northern Norway and was sunk in Lavangsfjord, Ototfjord near Narvik on May 26th 1940.

ref. used:Hocking, Charles, Dictionary of Disasters at Sea during the Age of Steam Read more at wrecksite:

Domenico’s name is on this site.

Domenico’s sacrifice needs to be remembered, so any information would be gratefully received.


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