Bowler, Arthur Ledley Albert (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 32070
  • whole: Duration 105, Number Of Items 4
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British seaman served with Royal Navy in GB and Gibraltar, 1942; served aboard HMS Venomous in Mediterranean, 1942-1943; served with Royal Navy on shore duties in GB, 1943-1944; served with HMS Howe in Pacific, 1944-1946

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Oxford, GB, 1923-1942: story of hospitalisation; memories of childhood; work of father; education; joining of Royal Navy including outbreak of war, 3/9/1939; civilian work. Aspects of period as seaman with Royal Navy in GB, 1942: memories of training period at HMS Collingwood; uniform; haircut; settling into navy life; evening activities including details of watches; voyage to Gibraltar including story of getting lost on ship. Aspects of period as seaman with Royal Navy in Gibraltar, 1942: posting to naval air station; details of Gibraltar; story of getting drunk and subsequent illness; duties; lectures; discipline; issue of lime juice; rum ration; story of rum drunk on 21st Birthday; drinking of rum after service; Ceremony of the Keys. REEL 2 Continues: reason for decision to join Royal Navy; news of posting to HMS Venomous. Aspects of period as seaman aboard HMS Venomous in Mediterranean, 1942-1943: first impressions of ship; sleeping arrangements; washing facilities; preparation and budgeting of meals including story of plum duff made; washing facilities; details of accommodation; seasickness; state of Mediterranean before Sicily landings; details of ship; memories of crew including officer known as Mad Jack; convoy duties including own role and action station; action against submarines; signs of danger watched for; visits to Algiers; clothing worn on ship; cleaning of kit and mess deck; period in Alexandria; involvement in Sicily landings, 7/1943, including damage from air raids; return to GB via Gibraltar. REEL 3 Continues: further details of involvement in Sicily landings. Aspects of period as seaman with Royal Navy in GB, 1943-1944: leave on return to GB; story of marriage; mail including use of special envelopes; details of gunnery course undertaken; discipline; accommodation; details of HMS Excellent; sentry duties. Aspects of operations as seaman with HMS Howe in Pacific, 1944-1946: details of ship; voyage through Suez Canal; crossing the line ceremony; role in Far East; periods in Australia including Christmas 1944 and relationship with civilians; maintenance of guns; crew; differences to life aboard HMS Venomous; rations; periods at sea; details of card game played; washing facilities; scenes of kamikaze attacks at Okinawa including near miss. REEL 4 Continues: activities during Okinawa invasion; visit to Durban including news of war’s end; visit from Lord Mountbatten; return to GB; demobilisation including reflections on service and application for medals; settling into civilian life.

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