At Hvalfjordur, off the coast of Iceland, Esmond was transferred on a stretcher by ship's derrick on to the destroyer Echo where he lay on a hard table in the wardroom during the short journey to Reykjavik. Then a bumpy ambulance ride to Helgafell Army Hospital in Mosfellssveit, near Reykjavik, which belonged to the 49th Infantry Division, Territorial Army, and eventually into a clean hospital bed. There he was x-rayed and then wheeled in to the operating theatre where surgeons tried ("vainly") to remove all the shrapnel from his face and eyes, using a strong magnet to attract the metal. He heard a voice say to him: "Afraid I shall have to excise this left eye, Knight ...." to which he replied: "All right, go ahead."
His left eye was removed. The right eye was saved but so badly damaged that it was deemed to be useless. As he lay recovering from the operation Esmond was befriended by the navigating officer from Prince of Wales who had been on the compass platform during the action with Bismarck. Both men had been injured by the same shell. Even with a piece of metal in his cheek, with one eye swollen shut and in great pain, the navigating officer had refused to leave his post, steering the ship throughout the rest of the action, which included drastic manoeuvres to avoid the wreckage of the Hood as she sank, and only allowing someone to relieve him when Prince of Wales was out of danger. He chatted with Esmond, wrote letters for him and brought him fruit from the town.
5. The Prince of Wales had 13 fatal casualties that would become 14 by the following day: Leading Signalman Walter Graham Andrews, Ordinary Seaman Harold Barlow, Able Seaman Leslie Maddocks Deeds, Ordinary Seaman Edward Patrick Diamond, Midshipman Peter Tuthill Dreyer, Ordinary Seaman William John Fairbairn, Able Seaman Harry Hallam, Able Seaman Arthur Molyneaux Harper, Leading Signalman Edward James Hunt, Midshipman John Bret Ince, Signal Boy Norman Johnstone, Able Seaman Thomas Ronald Slater, Ordinary Seaman Thornton Smith, and Leading Seaman Mervyn Richard Tucker who died on 25 May 1941.
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