Craddock, Robert (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 20284
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 120, Number Of Items 4
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British able seaman served aboard HMS Rodney, 1932-1934; served aboard HMS Decoy, 1934; served aboard HMS Witch, 1934-1936; served aboard HMS Gloucester, 1939-1940; served aboard HMS Fearless, 1940-1941; sunk , 23/7/1941; served aboard HMS Venomous, 1942-1944; served at shore station in Ceylon, 1944-1945

Content description

REEL 1 Recollections of background in Borough, London, 1915-1925: family circumstances and death of parents; education; period at Dr Barnardo's Home, Stepney Causeway, 1925. Period at Dr Barnardo's Naval Training School, Dereham, 1925-1931: reception; food; Christmas celebrations; dormitories; seamanship and gunnery training; education; morning routine; burials. Period at HMS Ganges, Shotley, 11/1931-8/1932: qualification exams; food; relationship with instructors and officers; drill; seamanship training; climbing masthead. Recollections of conditions of service and lifestyle aboard HMS Rodney, 8/1932-8/1934: rough weather during voyage to West Indies, 1934; question of seasickness; boys' messroom and hammocks; pet dog; cleaning ship; role of cook of mess; food. REEL 2 Continues: daily prayers; role checking lifeboats and lifeboat drill; make and mend; regattas; recreations; watch system; action station on cordite magazine; period at Devonport; voyage to West Indies; leave and pay off. Voyage aboard HMS Decoy to Singapore, 10/1934-12/1934: messdeck; effects of rough seas; passing through Suez Canal; transfer to HMS Witch. Recollections of period aboard HMS Witch mainly at Malta, 12/1934-7/1936: nature of V and W Class destroyers; final visit ashore at Singapore; promotion to able seaman; visits ashore; diversion to pick up British civilians from Spain due to outbreak of Spanish Civil War. REEL 3 Continues: diversion to pick up British civilians from Spain due to outbreak of Spanish Civil War; question of peacetime attitude of civilians to RN personnel. Period at Drake Barracks, Plymouth, 7/1936-1/1939: question of purchasing early release from RN; duties; attending gunnery course at HMS Excellent, Portsmouth; avoiding draft to HMS Guardian; period aboard HMS Apollo, 7/1938-9/1938. Recollections of period aboard HMS Gloucester, 1/1939-5/1940: role cleaning captain's corridor; illustrations of nature as 'happy ship'; outbreak of war whilst in rest camp at Columbo, Ceylon, 3/9/1939; patrolling activities off East Africa; story of rigging boats at Mombasa; background to posting back to GB, 5/1940. Period at Drake Barracks, Plymouth, 5/1940-9/1940. Period aboard HMS Fearless, 9/1940-7/1941: action station in forward cordite magazine; participation in operations in Genoa Harbour and subsequent reception on arrival at Gibraltar; stories of carrying POWs from German U Boat and prison ship. Recollections of sinking of HMS Fearless whilst acting as escort to Convoy Substance, 23/7/1941: escape from forward cordite magazine; abandoning ship; rescue by HMS Forsyth; peacetime auction of casualties belongings; burial of casualties; question of lucky escapes; duties as quartermaster. REEL 4 Continues: duties as quartermaster; question of promotion. Recollections of period aboard HMS Venomous, 4/1942-7/1944: commissioning ship; role as quartermaster issuing food and rum rations; involvement in Operation Pedestal, 8/1942; recollections of involvement in Russian Convoy PQ 15, 4/1942-5/1942, including German air attacks, cold weather, rum ration and visit ashore in Soviet Union; story of attempts to rescue survivors and sink U Boat on sinking of HMS Hecla, 11/1942, burnt survivor; food messing system; opinion of Captain Falcon-Stewart. Period in Drake Barracks, Plymouth, 7/1944-6/1945. Period based at Columbo, Ceylon, 9/1945-10/1945: reaction to posting; guard duties and escaped prisoners; voyage back. Demobilisation, 1/1946. Post-war career.

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