Here is an e-mail that was sent me by Brian Lowe, and recounts his own experiences
of his time aboard Lightning.
I was only in Lightning for about three months and we were kept very busy
the whole time so I did not have much time to socialize and get to know
the other members of the ward room very well. The Captain, Lt. Cdr. Walters,
was an excellent skipper and a very nice man. Lt. Duncan Carson was also
good and ran the ship well. Lt. Peter Cundall, who was the second lieutenant
if there is such a title, was the hell of a nice man and good at this job.A
great loos for the navy. Of the others Surg. Lt Roberts was an excellent
doctor and the hell of a good guy. We were kept so busy that we had little
time to have a good wardroom party. When in Algiers some of us used to
go into the town but there was little to do beyond having a drink or three
in the Aletti Hotel. In Bone where we spent a good deal of time there was
nowhere to go ashore.
I think that Lightning was a happy ship and your father seems to have thought
so. The previous destroyer I was in was not a happy ship and warrants for
sending some poor defaulter to detention were often read out to the ship's
company. In Lightning I remember very few warrants being read. However one
I do remember related to Cyril Fulcher who was mentioned by your father
and unfortunately came back to the ship from detention a few days before
we were sunk. He was in the forward magazine, which supplied your father's
A turret, and that was just where the first torpedo hit.
The second torpedo hit on the starboard side just below the funnel. I was
on the bridge at the time and we were just about to try to go astern when
it hit. It did not make much of a shock but it created a great cloud of
steam and threw a lot of debris into the air. However its effect was very
quick as the ship immediately listed to starboard and began to sink. The
order to abandon ship was given and by the time I got off the bridge down
to the main deck I just stepped into the water. I was lucky as there was
an almost empty carley float nearby to which I swam and climbed aboard.
With another small float we collected and took on board the floats everyone
who was in the sea in our vicinity. We watched the Lightning sink after
breaking in half and folding up with the bow and stern being the last of
her to go below the water.