British seaman served aboard HMS Basilisk, 4th Destroyer Flotilla in Mediterranean, 1934-1936; served aboard HMS Rodney in GB coastal waters, 1937-1939; served aboard HMS Hesperus, 9th Destroyer Flotilla and 9th Escort Group in Norway and North Atlantic, 1940-1943; served aboard HMS Empress, 21st Aircraft Carrier Sqdn, East Indies Fleet in Indian Ocean, 2/1945-8/1945
REEL 1 Background in Neath, GB, 1916-1934: family; education; employment. Aspects of enlistment and training as seaman with Royal Navy at HMS Drake, Devonport, GB, 1934: enlistment, 1934; attitude to basic training at Devonport. Recollections of period as seaman aboard HMS Basilisk, 4th Destroyer Flotilla in Mediterranean, 1934-1936: joining ship in Malta; return to GB for Spithead review, 1935; courtesy visit to Toulon, France, 1935; characteristics of destroyer; fire aboard Italian liner Ausonia in Alexandria, Egypt, 21/10/1935; suspected attempt to damage British warships; encounter with fellow countryman in Alexandria, Egypt; evacuation work during Spanish Civil War and sight of pulling down of crucifix at Almeria, Spain; German retaliatory bombardment of Almeria, Spain; how his interest in rugby determined his choice of gunnery as specialisation.
REEL 2 Continues: Aspects of period as seaman aboard HMS Rodney in GB coastal waters and Mediterranean, 1937-1939: background to drafting to ship; fraternisation of officers and lower deck in ship's rugby team; non-intervention patrols off Spanish coast; rugby injury; prior recollection of shore patrols in Haifa, Palestine whilst serving aboard HMS Basilisk, 1936. Aspects of period as seaman on shore duties with Royal Navy in GB, 9/1939: participation in funeral party for burial of victims of sunken submarine HMS Thetis including retrieval of bodies from submarine; reaction to declaration of Second World War at HMS Drake, Devonport, GB, 3/9/1939.
REEL 3 Continues: training as diver, 1939. Recollections of operations as seaman aboard HMS Hesperus, 9th Destroyer Flotilla in Norway, 4/1940-5/1940: drafting to ship, 1/1940; composition of crew; his duties on board; occupation of Faeroe Islands, 12/4/1940-14/4/1940; attempt to deal with German railway gun at Narvik during Norwegian campaign, 4/1940; evacuation of frost bitten troops from Narvik area; under German Air Force attack near Harstad; supporting 1st Bn Scots Guards landing at Mo, 12/5/1940; narrow escape from German Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bombing attacks between Mo and Harstad; damage sustained to ship during Norwegian campaign. Recollections of operations as seaman aboard HMS Hesperus, 9th Destroyer Flotilla and 9th Escort Group in North Atlantic, 1940-1943: character of anti-submarine searches in Western Approaches; rescue of survivors from armed merchant cruisers HMS Patroclus and HMS Laurentic during Convoy HX 83, 4/11/1941; coping with storm, 1/1941.
REEL 4 Continues: character of new captain, Commander Arthur Tait; how Admiral James Somerville commandeered ship for Force H, 5/1941; ramming and sinking of submarine U-93 during patrol off Cape Trafalgar, Spain, 15/1/1942; problems whilst escorting Prime Minister Winston Churchill aboard HMS Prince of Wales for Atlantic Charter, 8/1941; story of how he got thrown out of a canteen in Immingham, GB; friction with Irish civilian boatmen in Lough Foyle, Northern Ireland; further details of ramming submarine U-93, 15/1/1942; ramming and sinking of submarine U-357 during Convoy HX 219, 26/12/1942; dealing with German U-boat POWs and attitude towards burial at sea of two German submariners.
REEL 5 Continues: burial of survivors at sea; private sale of turkey donated to crew; donation of comforts to crew from children in Newfoundland; question of mistakes that appear in print; incident of Focke Wulf Fw 200 Condor flying over convoy; leaving ship, 1943. Recollections of operations as seaman aboard HMS Empress, 21st Aircraft Carrier Sqdn, East Indies Fleet in Indian Ocean, 2/1945-8/1945: joining escort carrier in Vancouver, Canada, 1943; operations in Indian Ocean, 2/1945-8/1945; abortive preparations for invasion of Malaya, 8/1945; repatriation duties after 8/1945; return of ship back to US under Lend Lease agreement, 1/1946; reception of Royal Navy personnel on east coast of US after VJ Day.
REEL 6 Continues: ashore in New York, US; description of 'Woolworth' escort carriers.