Commander Robert Bruce Chandler - OBE RN
born 1902 - died 1985, buried Carron Lane cemetery, Midhurst
1 Dec 1925 - Mate
1 Oct 1928 - Lieutenant.
1 Oct 1936 - Lieutenant Commander.
30 Jun 1943 - Commander.
Retired - 9 Sep 1952
On the 1 Jan 1943 he was Mentioned in Despatches & on 1 Jun 1962 received an OBE - see below.
Warship Commands known, as Lt.Cdr.-
HMS Aphis - River gunboat from 8 Feb 1938 to Dec 1939
HMS Aphis seen service in the Yangtze Flotilla to support British shipping and nationals in China. The situation in China was volatile and Aphis remained with the Yangtze Flotilla until June 1940 when she was redeployed to the Mediterranean Fleet
HMS Widnes - Minesweeper from 9 Dec 1939 to 20 May 1941
In 1941 HMS Widnes was in the Mediterranean, her job was to keep the crucial naval base of Suda Bay open on the island of Crete. An invasion of the island by German forces was imminent. The Luftwaffe's ceaseless attacks reduced the RAF on Crete to just five planes by May 18 and HMS Widnes suffered minor damage in an attack the same day.
On May 20, the German invasion began, with attacks by Stuka dive-bombers leading the way. HMS Widnes ships log shows she
suffered bomb damage to her starboard side at 3pm that afternoon and began taking in water. Commander Chandler ordered the
stricken ship to be beached.
The island was now almost overrun by German parachute troops, but most of the HMS Widnes crew members were evacuated from Suda Bay amidst heavy fighting. Some of the crew were separated in the ensuing chaos and remained hidden until on the 28 July they were rescued in a daring night-time operation by the submarine HMS Thrasher who had seen their SOS from the occupied shore. All told, 79 servicemen were picked up that night, one of which was Crewman R Clough of HMS Widnes.
HMS Saltash - Minesweeper from 27 Aug 1941 to 20 Aug 1942
HMS Fly - Minesweeper