The Suffolk Golding Mission, A Considerable Service

Published by Roy V Martin - available as an ebook

Among the 180 merchant ships that sailed from France in the three weeks after Dunkirk was the tramp steamer Broompark. After discharging a cargo of coal Captain Paulsen had waited, instead of the five hundred evacuees that he expected he was introduced to two men who were intent on saving a valuable cargo and a number of scientists.

The men were a British Army Major and a rather wild looking young man who walked with a stick. Major Ardale Vautier Golding was a member of the British security services; his companion was Charles ‘Wild Jack’ Howard, the 20th Earl of Suffolk and 13th Earl of Berkshire. Both were accompanied by their lady secretaries, who had travelled across France with them.

The cargo included two crates of gem diamonds even then valued at between one and three million pounds sterling, plus the allies total supply of Deuterium Oxide, a nuclear moderator. There were also six hundred tonnes of machine tools and many secret papers and plans. In addition to those in charge of the various consignments the ship loaded thirty French scientists and in many cases their families.

The ship arrived safely in Falmouth, from where a special train took them to London, arriving on the morning of 22 June 1940. Army sentries with fixed bayonets stood guard. The men took a taxi to Whitehall where they were met by Harold Macmillan, who was standing in for Herbert Morrison. Later, with the House of Commons in secret session the minister made a brief report that ended: A considerable service has been rendered to the Allied cause by the safe arrival of this shipload.

Lord Suffolk, his secretary and his driver, formed a bomb disposal team that they called ‘The Holy Trinity’. They lost their lives in 1941 when diffusing their thirty-fifth bomb. The Earl was awarded the George Cross, the other two were ‘Commended’. The Earl is commemorated by a stained glass window in the church at Charlton in Wiltshire, his ancestral home. It shows the Broompark and the windjammer Mount Stewart on which young Jack was apprenticed.

The only time the epic was filmed was as part of a 1973 documentary series on Jack Howard. There were several written accounts; both these and the documentary contain many errors.

Merchantmen in Action

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Suffolk Broompark Suffolk Col Golding Sufflok Captain Paulsen The Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire Suffolk Charlton Church Stained Glass Window Suffolk Beryl Morden