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T/L Hugh Wilson Arnold

April 11th, 2014

On the 31 December 2013, Lodge Brothers, Esher handled the funeral of T/L Hugh Arnold, who was 92 and who won a DSC during the raid on St Nazaire in 1942.

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Arnold was the navigator of Motor Launch 446, part of a flotilla of 16 boats, each carrying a squad of commandos into the German-held port. Their mission was to escort the ex-American destroyer Campbeltown, filled with explosives and demolish the strategically important Normandie Dock.

The mission was a complete success. The gates were destroyed, rendering the dock unusable for the rest of the war. The operation has since become known as The Greatest Raid of All.

Hugh Wilson Arnold was born on January 15 1921 in Dublin and educated at St Paul’s School in London. He then volunteered for the Navy and was commissioned in the RNVR.

After recovering from the wounds he suffered at St Nazaire, Arnold was appointed first lieutenant of MTB 621, which in July 1944 was involved in 16 nights of gruelling action in the Channel. MTB 621 was badly damaged; Arnold was again wounded, and was invalided from active service.

After the war Arnold read English at Pembroke College, Oxford. He spent the remainder of his working life in MI5, with postings including Aden, Cyprus and Singapore.

A talented sportsman, Arnold had been captain of cricket at St Paul’s and won his Oxford University Authentics cap. He also played rugby fly-half for the Old Paulines and Surrey.

In 2005 he was appointed to the Légion d’honneur for his courage at St Nazaire.

Hugh Arnold married, in 1958, Pamela Foa, who survives him with their son, Robert, and their daughter, Alice, the former BBC radio announcer.