LEATHERHEAD WAR MEMORIALS - WWII

Lt Mark Allen von Bergen RN
HM Submarine Parthian

Town Memorial World War II



Lieutenant von BERGEN RN, Mark Allen
: age 22
H.M. Submarine Parthian
Date of Death: 11/08/1943
Son of Carl Wahlgren von Bergen and Mary Barbara Satow von Bergen, of Leatherhead, Surrey.
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 72, Column 3.
Cemetery: PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL

Mark von Bergen has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial which is situated on Southsea Common.

HMS Parthian (Lt. C.A. Pardoe, R.N.R.) is presumed mined in Adriatic late July / early August 1943. Having sailed from Malta on 22nd July for patrol west of Greece in the southern Adriatic she was ordered to patrol off Otranto on 26th July 1943. She was again given a new area to patrol on the 28th. She was reported overdue at Beirut on 11th August 1943. Most likely she was mined off Brindisi. The date given as lost (11 August 1943) is the date she was reported missing.╣

Another source▓ notes that her nickname was Peanut (the letters PN appeared on her conning tower).


press cutting in Mark's photo album

von BERGEN.- Reported missing on active service,
in H.M.S. Parthian, LIEUT. MARK ALLEN VON BERGEN,
R.N., beloved elder son of Dr. Carl von Bergen, and the
late Mrs. Barbara von Bergen, Leatherhead, Surrey.

all images from Mark's album are copyright von Bergen Family


from Mark's photo album:
Lt MA von Bergen RN


from Mark's photo album:
HMS Parthian

Mark von Bergen was educated at Radley College, entering in 1934. Here is part of his Radley obituary:

November 21 1943. Recorded as missing

March 5 1944. Missing, presumed killed, in September, 1943, Mark AlIen von Bergen. Lieut., RN, (Hedgecock's-Southam's, F, 1934'38).

Mark von Bergen will be remembered as a boy strikingly alert and keenly interested in whatever he undertook to do. His gifts lay mainly in practical things, and he was an extremely able electrician; his management of the lighting for the open air production of 'Comus' was especially noteworthy. He was a good companion with vivid powers of conversation, and was a forceful personality as a House Prefect. He passed by the Special Entry into the Navy, where he obviously found his natural bent. Not long after the beginning of the war he volunteered for submarines, and it was while on service in the Mediterranean that his submarine was lost.

March 10 1946. We wish to thank Dr. C. W. von Bergen for his generous gift of an Elizabethan Communion Cup and Cover for use in Chapel in memory of his son, M. A. von Bergen, Lieut., R.N., who was lost in H.M. Submarine 'Parthian' in August, 1943.4

In 2018 the editor was alerted5 that a photo Album with Mark von Bergen's initials and the date 1939 on the front was offered on eBay. It was described as follows:

An original photograph album, which belonged to Lt. Mark Allen von Bergen, presumably compiled by his mother or father. Album measures 34cm by 24 cm. It is in good condition. Pages are loose, it just needs a new thread to put pages back together . Contains circa 160 photos, plus a few newspaper cutting.
 
A youthful looking Lt.Bergen is seen throughout the album. There are photos of him in training as an officer cadet, group photos, a few taken off duty. Other than the very low resolution listing images, there are some larger great quality photos of HMS Vindictive and HMS Frobisher. There are more photos showing the frozen deck of his ship in the Denmark Straits Feb 1940 (possibly HMS Berwick?). There are 3 photos of a large replica of HMS Queen Charlotte which used to reside at entrance to HMS Excellent.
 
At some point he moves on to serve in Royal Navy Submarines .. HMS Tigri [sic], N48 HMS Traveller .. pictured and HMS Parthian .. he died while serving on this vessel during August 1943 .. all crew were lost. It probably hit a mine. There is a small press clipping mentioning him missing on active service.
 
There are 5 original photos of British subs .. 2 relate to a surface attack on an unknown ship.

The editor was able to locate Mark von Bergen's nephew, Hugh, who bought the album. Hugh has very kindly made it and the wartime correspondence from Mark to his father and brother Julian available to the editor, who has catalogued and researched them. It is hoped that in due course extracts will be added to this page.

Mark von Bergen's father was a much loved local physician who served on the board of the Leatherhead Hospital built in 1940. Dr von Bergen advised Charles Leach in the acquisition of the site from Mrs. Still's Windfield estate; a ward was named after him.│

Dr von Bergen's obituary6 in the British Medical Journal was published in January 1960:

BMJ Jan 2 1960  OBITUARY CW von Bergen MB BS

Dr CW von Bergen, who practiced in Leatherhead, Surrey, for 56 years, and was very well known there, died at his home on November 26 at the age of 83.

Carl Wahlgren von Bergen was born at Middleton St. George, Co. Durham, on July 11 1876, the son of Axel Hugo von Bergen. He was educated at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Darlington, the University of Durham, and St Bartholomew's Hospital, London. After graduating MB BS in 1899 he became house-surgeon to Sir Lauder Brunton at Bart's, where he was a contemporary and friend of the late Lord Horder. He was also house-physician for a time at the Victoria Hospital for Children, Chelsea. In 1903 he went into practice at Leatherhead, where he remained for the rest of his life.

"VB" as von Bergen was known to many of his friends and patients, never tired of talking of the old days, days when owning one of the first cars, it was still quicker to go on a bicycle to an urgent call. Perhaps his most outstanding characteristic was a complete integrity and a belief that only the best was good enough. But for his vision and tireless energy it is probable that Leatherhead Hospital would never have been built, and would certainly not have the benefit of a consultant staff drawn from the leading teaching hospitals.

Despite the loss of a beloved wife, formerly Mary Barbara Allen, and elder son during the war, he continued to devote tirelessly his energies to his practice, and only partially retired on the advent of the National Health Service. Even after that date his knowledge and experience were always available to the younger men, and in fact he continued as chairman of the medical committee of the Leatherhead Hospital until a year ago.

Leatherhead has lost an outstanding personality and the medical profession is the poorer for the loss of a member who upheld all the oldest and best ideals of the family doctor - ADE [the same initials as Alan Doyle Everett, another popular Leatherhead doctor, who succeeded VB as Lord Beaverbrook's doctor - Beaverbrook lived locally at Cherkley Court.]    

Mark von Bergen's parents are buried in Leatherhead Parish Church graveyard:
BERGEN CARL von b1876 d1959 83 26/11/1959
BERGEN MARY BARBARA b1894 d1939 45 23/11/1939

Sources

1. HM Submarine Parthian P Class N75 website
2. Abysso website
3. History of Leatherhead, Edwina Vardey
4. https://radleyarchives.co.uk/people/8029-mark-allen-von-bergen
5. Thanks to Mrs Katharine Cordner
6. https://www.bmj.com/content/1/5165/63.2

Links

Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry

HM Submarine Parthian

HM Submarine Parthian P Class N75

Parthian Class submarines (I)

HMS Parthian
https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?16181

HM Submarine Parthian Roll of Honour

the website editor would like to add further information on this casualty
e.g. a photo of his name on the Portsmouth Memorial
and any further recollections of him

last updated 25 Oct 13 CWGC links updated 7 Nov 17: 28 Dec 18: 19 Jan 20: 14 Jul 20