Featherstone, John Allen (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 29732
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 42, Number Of Items 2
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: recording

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Object description

British seaman served as gun-layer aboard HMS King George V in North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, 1940-1942, including sinking of the Bismarck, 5/1941; served with Royal Navy Submarine Service in GB, North Atlantic and Mediterranean, 1942-1946 and with Royal Navy Submarine Service and Royal Navy in GB and Mediterranean, 1946-1978.

Content description

REEL 1: Aspects of period with Royal Navy in GB, 1939-1940: joined Navy as boy seaman aged 16, Jul/1939; drafted to HMS Ganges; evacuated to barracks in old hospital in Liverpool; drafted to HMS King George V, 1940. Aspects of operations as gun-layer aboard HMS King George V in North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, 1940-1942: joined ship in Rosyth, Scotland; story of visit by Winston Churchill; working up and sea trials; role in pursuit of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau; description of pursuit and sinking of Bismarck in Atlantic Ocean, 25-27/May/1941; reaction of crew to shelling of HMS Rodney; role in covering force for Russian convoys, 1941-1942; story of collision with destroyer HMS Punjabi in dense fog off Iceland, 1/May/1942; description of rescuing crew from HMS Punjabi; returned to Liverpool for repairs; story of volunteering for Royal Navy Submarine Service, 1942; description of training at Gosport, Blithe and Rothsay drafted to HMS Varangian. Aspects of operations with Royal Navy Submarine Service, 1942-1945: drafted to submarine HMS Varangian; location of submarine base in Keiller’s marmalade factory, Dundee, Scotland; description of duties patrolling Norwegian coast at Altenfjord and night patrols on surface to report on shipping movements; returned to training flotilla at Tobermory, Scotland; opinion of Admiral Stevenson; story of volunteering to train Canadian seamen in anti-submarine warfare; description of base in Bermuda; rates of pay; opinion of food; description of HMS Varangian being depth charged; amusing story about leading stoker; story of German torpedo passing submarine. Aspects of post-war operations with Royal Navy Submarine Service, 1946-1961: paid off and returned to HMS Dolphin, Gosport, 10/1946-6/1947; drafted as gun-layer to HMS Tiptoe in Portland Flotilla; memories of Capt. Donald Cameron VC; drafted as coxswain to HMS Trump in Malta; drafted to HMS Sentinel; memories of Capt. John Cromwell Varley; story of exercise in Mediterranean, c.1953/54; amusing story about popular song ‘Shrimp Boats’; story about leading seaman. REEL 2 Continues: discipline and punishments aboard submarines; memories of Capt. Tony Myers VC; duties as instructor at training school in Gosport; further period in Malta as coxswain, 3/1952- 9/1955; story of buying new Morris Minor in Malta; story of returning to GB aboard submarine classed as unfit for service; opinion of refit facilities in Portsmouth; returned to general service with Royal Navy. Aspects of period with Royal Navy in GB, 1961-1978: duties with Reserve Fleet, Portsmouth and as coxswain of HMS Wizard, 1961-1963; role as Recruiting Officer with Royal Navy Careers Service, 1963-1978; amusing story about recruiting sergeant in Welsh Guards; retired from Royal Navy aged 55, Feb/1978.

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