For many years my knowledge of my grandfather, John Thomas Merrikin, was very limited.
All I knew of him was that he came from Amber Hill, Lincolnshire, and was for many years a police officer in Leicester. At the beginning of WW2, my grandfather was called up into the Naval Reserve first of all on HMS Devonshire, and then Stoker First Class on HMS Acasta.
8th June 1940, grandad John Thomas Merrikin died in the Norwegian fjords after the Scharnhorst, and Gneisenau blew up HMS Acasta, and as they sank into the cruel freezing cold sea Nick Carter launched a torpedo at the Scharnhorst and damaged her quite badly.
It wasn’t until I joined the GLARAC (Glorious, Ardent, Acasta) Association in 2008 that I realised that HMS Ardent, and HMS Aircraft Carrier Glorious, were also bombed by the two German battleships – both the pride of Nazi Germany. The two British destroyers were accompanying HMS Glorious on convoy. I also became aware of a huge conspiracy as to why 1531 servicemen were killed, and only 43 servicemen survived without Admiralty intervention.
During the lockdown of 2020-2021, I decided to do some of my own research on the worst British naval catastrophe of WW2, and I began to write The Mystery Of Operation Alphabet to bring to life 8th June 1940. I did this by putting photographs on as many names of the war dead and survivors as possible to bring them to life too. I also wrote down stories from books and articles of what happened to the war dead and survivors in their own words, and also of their loved ones, rather than writing using my own words, as I wanted the servicemen to have their own voice.
The Mystery of Operation Alphabet has endless photos of the different ships, lists of the war dead, and also I have written down as many explanations and conspiracy theories as possible as to why the three ships were blown up and 1531 men were killed. I did this by bringing to light the opinions and theories of Admiralty, naval historians, government officials, and members of the GLARAC Association so you can make up your own minds as to what happened.
One of my main aims is to bring to light the bravery of commanders Barker and Glasfurd of HMS Ardent, and HMS Acasta, plus Nick Carter, leading seaman of HMS Acasta, the man who shot the Scharnhorst, to hopefully get the government to give these men military honour and recognition for what they did on 8th June 1940. Amazingly, even the commanders of the German battleships saluted the British ships HMS Glorious, HMS Ardent and especially HMS Acasta as they sunk in the Norwegian fjords to honour their bravery.
Last but not least, I would like to uncover why the government has kept the ships’ records under lock and key since 1940, and why they aren’t going to be made public until 2040/41.
So why not read this interesting and intriguing book to find out more?
Elaine Merrikin Trimlett Glover.