Introduction

I first learnt about HMS Dasher in October 2001 when I was looking for a new idea for a video project after I had finished my video on HMS Royal Oak (www.hmsroyaloak.co.uk).

I ordered John and Noreen Steele's book "They were never told" and was amazed to read that here was the second worst Naval loss in home waters during WW11 after Royal Oak. But what really affected me was the Governments veil of secrecy which they have maintained to this day.

I contacted John and Noreen (j.steele2@virgin.net) and we discussed the possibility of producing a video. My initial concern was that there would not be enough images to keep the subject interesting but I flew up to Ardrossan to view the work that they had collected. I was amazed by the number of slides and photographs they had amassed on a subject which the Government had kept top secret for 30 years up until 1973 when they quietly released a few relevant documents at The Public Records Office without contacting the families affected.

Even more amazing was that it was not really until the 1990's that the full details of HMS Dasher began to emerge, nearly 50 years after her sinking.

In addition to John and Noreen's images I learnt that a film crew had been filming a documentary about Dasher over the previous couple of years but, due to financial and personal committments, the project had all but been shelved.

As a result of our meeting, I decided to purchase the video rights to John and Noreen's images and also the rights to the video footage previously shot. The HMS Dasher project was underway.

Now I'm a great believer in 'kismet' and I go with the flow rather than make precise plans or have ambitious aims. What will be, will be. I could not have known how the Dasher project would expand so much but was amazed once more when I bought the Third edition of their book "The tragedy of HMS Dasher" to learn of the strong possibility that one of the bodies from Dasher was used in Operation Mincemeat. Furthermore the Government tried to keep the identity of the body secret and eventually claimed it was not one from the Dasher but that of a vagrant who had died of pneumonia after drinking rat poison.

I started filming in late 2002 in Ardrossan and went on to film interviews with survivors and relatives who had lost sons and brothers on March 27th 1943.

By late July 2003 the video images were complete and I hired Sean Barret to record the voiceover. Sean has the perfect voice for such a subject and he was a joy to work with. The final piece of the jigsaw was to commision a soundtrack and I turned to Russ Whitelock who had done such a good job for me on the Royal Oak video. Russ, however, doesn't just live round the corner. He actually lives and works in Salt Lake City! As a result he e mailed me small sections of the soundtrack for me to approve as he completed them and then finally sent the complete high quality result on a CD.

Full details of the video are available here.

As with HMS Royal Oak, I decided to produce this web site not only to promote the video but also to create a site where those affected by the tragedy can visit and learn more as the site develops. The Royal Oak one has expanded since it's inception and is regularly updated.

In conclusion I hope that you will consider purchasing the video but also, and more importantly, that you will contact me if you have any relevant information or would like to post a request for further information. You can e mail me peter@hmsdasher.co.uk

I am 58 years old so was born after the war but hmsdasher.co.uk and the video are my small attempt to mark my respects for all those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom.

Peter Rowlands

peter@hmsdasher.co.uk