Reginald Robert 


Royal Navy

Died On:
19 April 1945


Born in West Maitland, New South Wales, Australia, in 1898, the son of Mabel Sophia and Lt Col Geoffrey Gladstone Helbert (a Staff Officer belonging to the Union of South Africa), Reginald Robert Helbert joined the Royal Navy as a Special Entry Cadet in 1916 and served in the battleship, HMS REVENGE, from March 1917. Promoted to Sub Lieutenant on 15 May 1918, he was appointed to the destroyer, HMS WARWICK, as of 12 Jan 19 and to HMS PRESIDENT on 23 Apr 20 ‘for course of instruction at Cambridge University’.  

Promoted to Lieutenant on 15 May 1920, Helbert joined the Submarine Service, sailing first in HMS H28 as Navigating Officer from 11 Apr 21 before moving on to HMS H30, again, as NO from 19 Aug 21, then onto HMS K12 as Navigator from 9 June 22. He went on to complete three appointments as First Lieutenant in H52, L26 and L27 from 26 May 1925. At this point, he was selected for the Commanding Officer’s Qualifying Course (COQC), which he completed successfully in 1926. Lieutenant Helbert’s first submarine command was HMS H44 from 16 Nov 26 until 11 Dec 27.

Reginald Helbert then returned to the surface fleet for a period of “big ship” time, which he completed in 1931, serving in HM Ships HOOD and RENOWN. Back with submarines, and by then promoted to Lieutenant Commander, Helbert went on to command L26 and OSWALD between April 1931 until July 1932.

On 22 July 1932, he joined the Submarine Tender HMS FERMOY at Portland.  During his time there, Helbert commanded another four submarines: H27 (Nov 32 to Jun 33), STARFISH (Jul 33 to May 34), SEALION (Sep 34 to Jan 35) and SPEARFISH (from 15 Aug 36). 

Following SPEARFISH, he was appointed to HMS TAMAR at Hong Kong on 22 February 1937 ‘in charge of DSEA Training and for Duty – Class 1 – for Submarines, and as Anti-Piracy Officer and to supervise Merchant Navy Defence Courses’.  He next served as an Acting Commander in the Submarine Depot Ship HMS TITANIA as Staff Officer Operations (SOO) from 28 October 1940 and then in the Submarine Depot Ship, HMS FORTH, for ‘duty with submarines’ from 1 January 1942.  

Reginald Helbert, of HMS MAIDSTONE, is reported to have died in an air crash on 19 April 1945.  He was the husband of Annie Vera Helbert (nee Stigant) and is buried in Perth War Cemetery in Western Australia.


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