British trainee electrical artificer on HMS Vernon/Warrior in Portsmouth, GB, 1918-1921; served as electrical artificer aboard HMS Renown in Far East, 1921-1922, HMS Carlisle on China station, 1922-1924 and HMS Dauntless in Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic and Mediterranean, 1939-1945
REEL 1: Background in GB, 1900-1915: description of traveling around GB as part of army family. Aspects of period as civilian in London, 1915-1918: description of apprenticeship and work in munitions factory; story of volunteering for RAF to train as pilot, 9/1918; admissions procedure and tests; description of Zeppelin raids over London; blackout; food rationing; war news; reason for volunteering for RAF. Aspects of training with RAF in GB, 1918: uniform; description of basic training; reaction to end of war and termination of RAF service, 11/1918; comparison of service with RAF and work in munitions factory; story of joining Royal Navy as trainee electrical artificer. Aspects of training as electrical artificer on HMS Vernon/HMS Warrior, Portsmouth, 1918-1921: description of Vernon and Warrior; messing, accommodation and sleeping arrangements; uniform; reason for separation of seamen and artificers; discipline; problem of understanding naval terminology; naval traditions.
REEL 2 Continues: daily routine; breakfast; prayer service; physical exercise; theoretical and practical training at electrical school; torpedo workshop; mining and explosives; increasing use of electricity by navy during war and need for electrical artificers; command structure; responsibility for signalling equipment; opinion of instructors; examinations; opinion of training; pay rates; messing arrangements; rum ration; story of pumping out HMS Donegal; sense of isolation; recreational and sporting activities; church services; story of visit to see HMS Warrior, 8/1989; description of torpedo training in destroyers at Spithead; sweeps for lost torpedoes; story of joining HMS Renown, 11/1921 and voyage with Prince of Wales to Far East, 1921-1922.
REEL 3 Continues: Aspect of period as electrical artificer aboard HMS Renown in Far East, 1921-1922: story of servicing Prince of Wales' gramophone; memories of Prince of Wales and Mountbatten; posted back to HMS Vernon, 1922. Aspects of period on HMS Vernon, Portsmouth, 1922: question of identity of HMS Vernon; relations with dockyard workforce and local civilians; memories of visiting Aggie Weston's; posted to HMS Carlisle on China station. Aspects of period as electrical artificer aboard HMS Carlisle on China station, 1922-1924: description of chasing pirates based in Hong Kong and range of operations; role of HMS Carlisle on northern patrol; story of rescuing child from Yangste River; memory of flat-bottomed river boats; story of manning power station in Shanghai during Civil War; reputation of Royal Navy and China station; story of HMS Carlisle rescuing 600 shipwrecked sailors; description of Japanese earthquake and participation of HMS Dispatch and HMS Carlisle in rescue mission, 1923.
REEL 4 Continues: links with Japanese Navy; use of Japanese trainees on HMS Vernon; amusing story of Turkish officers. Aspects of operations as electrical artificer aboard HMS Dauntless in Atlantic and Indian Oceans and with Arctic convoy, 1939-1943: mobilised with fleet at outbreak of Second World War and part of first convoy from Gibraltar to Venezuela; description of convoy work from Freetown; story of oiler fuelling the Graf Spee; attitude to participation in second war; faith of Royal Navy in Winston Churchill; description of patrol work in China seas and Indian Ocean, 1939-1940; story of finding supplies of food and fuel on deserted atolls; question of Japanese intentions towards Singapore; description of voyage to Saigon; effects of Japanese intervention in war in Indian Ocean; description of voyage to Madagascar and attempts to persuade French forces to enter on Allied side; story of R class ship being disabled by one-man submarine; question of state of readiness of Royal Navy in Second World War; problem of shortage of trained personnel; opinion of quality of conscripts and problem of illiteracy; description of conversion of Dauntless into anti-aircraft ship and operations with Arctic convoy, 1/1943; problem of weather conditions and damage to ship; opinion of Russians.
REEL 5 Continues: Aspects of operations as electrical artificer aboard HMS Dauntless in Mediterranean, 1943-1945: reason for transfer of HMS Dauntless to Mediterranean; description of landings on south coast of France, 1944; description of role in opening Italian ports following German evacuation; problem of mines; role in restoring electrical power to cranes and pumps; use of electric arc; use of Italian labour; story of end of war in Genoa, 1945. Further comments on period on HMS Vernon.