Edward Coverley Kennedy
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About Captain Edward Coverley Kennedy
Edward Coverley Kennedy was a 60-year old retired captain when he returned to the navy and was given command of HMS Rawalpindi, a hastily militarized P&O steamship, known as an Armed Merchant Cruiser.
On 23 November 1939, while on patrol southeast of Iceland, the Rawalpindi encountered two of the most powerful German warships, the small battleships (or battle cruisers) Scharnhorst and Gneisenau trying to break out through the GIUK gap into the Atlantic. The Rawalpindi was able to signal the German ships' location back to base. Despite being hopelessly outgunned, Captain Edward Coverley Kennedy of the Rawalpindi decided to fight, rather than surrender as demanded by the Germans. Scharnhorst sank Rawalpindi; of her 312 crew 275 (including her captain) were killed. His son Ludovic was twenty years old. Captain Kennedy was posthumously Mentioned in Despatches and his decision to fight against overwhelming odds entered the folklore of the Royal Navy.