Lang, John Robert (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 12503
Department
Sound
Production date
1992-03-16
Subject period
Dimensions
  • whole: Duration 150, Number Of Items 5
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview
Creator
Category
sound

© IWM

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Object description

British midshipman served aboard HMS Renown and HMS Hood in Mediterranean, 1935-1936; officer served aboard HMS Viscount in GB coastal waters, 1938; trained as observer with Fleet Air Arm in GB, 1939-1940; served as observer with 810 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm aboard HMS Ark Royal in Mediterranean, during Norwegian campaign and Atlantic, 1940-1941; commanded 835 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm in GB, 1942-1943; served as staff officer with Staff of Commander in Chief, Eastern Fleet in Ceylon, 1944-1945; served as staff officer with British Pacific Fleet aboard HMS King George V in Pacific, 1945

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Calcutta and GB, 1916-1934: family; education. Story of visit as cadet to Palestine aboard HMS Frobisher, 11/1934. Aspects of period as midshipman aboard HMS Renown and HMS Hood in Mediterranean, 1935-1936: drafting to HMS Renown; collision with HMS Hood, 1935; duties aboard HMS Hood during Spanish Civil War; contrast in treatment of midshipmen aboard HMS Hood and HMS Renown; attending course at Royal Naval College, Greenwich, 1937. Aspects of period as officer aboard HMS Viscount in GB coastal waters, 1938: mobilisation of fleet; attitude to serving in V and W Class destroyer; attitude towards approaching war. Aspects of period training as observer with Fleet Air Arm in GB, 1939-1940: anticipation that course would be disbanded on outbreak of war; flying training at Royal Naval Air Station Ford; forced landing in English Channel in Supermarine Walrus; opinion of Fairey Swordfish. Recollections of operations as observer with 810 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm aboard HMS Ark Royal in Mediterranean, during Norwegian Campaign and Atlantic, 1940-1941: drafting to aircraft carrier, 2/1940; squadron personnel; relations between Fleet Air Arm and Royal Navy personnel. REEL 2 Continues: duties in Mediterranean, early 1940; amusing story of unfortunate incident with pasha in gentleman's lavatory; patrols of Norway, spring 1940; HMS Curlew's accidental firing on his aircraft off Lofotens Islands; abortive attack on railway at Narvik; co-ordination between pilot and observer; sight of Hawker Hurricanes landing on HMS Glorious; hearing sound of Bretagne blowing up at Mers el Kebir, summer 1940; attack on Dunquerque; attacks on Cagliari, Sardinia; sight of HMS Resolution being torpedoed off Dakar; attack by Vichy French Curtiss Hawk fighter during Dakar raid; Fleet Air Arm aircraft losses at Dakar. REEL 3 Continues: attack on Vichy French submarine Sidi Farouq; torpedo attack on Italian battleships during Battle of Cape Sparivento, 11/1940; torpedo attack on Tirso Dam in Sardinia, 2/2/1941; bombing of Leghorn dockyard, 2/1941; search Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in Atlantic, 20/3/1941; problems faced by observers during operations; sighting of Bismarck in Atlantic, 5/1941; problems with long range fuel tanks; tracking Bismarck; opinion of Bismarck; reaction to sinking of Bismarck; leaving HMS Ark Royal, 10/7/1941. REEL 4 Continues: Aspects of period as commanding officer of 835 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm in GB, 1942-1943: attending radar course prior to posting to unit; pattern of training; embarking aboard HMS Battler for one convoy to Gibraltar; problems moving squadron between airfields. Recollections of period as staff officer with Eastern Fleet in Ceylon, 1943-1945: posting as staff officer to Commander in Chief Eastern Fleet; start of journey via Irish Republic; continuation of journey via Bathurst to India; work as assistant to Staff Officer (Plans) advising on Fleet Air Arm matters in Columbo; memories of Admirals James Sommerville and Bruce Fraser. Aspects of operations as staff officer with British Pacific Fleet aboard HMS King George V in Pacific, 1945; kamikaze attacks on fleet off Sakishima Gunto. REEL 5 Continues: impressions of US Navy in Pacific; hearing news of end of war after contracting pneumonia, 8/1945; shooting down of kamikaze on VJ; attitude towards end of Second World War

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