British seaman served aboard HMS Royal Oak in GB coastal waters, 1939 including sinking 10/1939; petty officer served on shore duties at HMS Excellent, Whale Island, GB, 1940-1941; served aboard HMS Witherington and HMS Aberdeen in Atlantic, 1941-1944
REEL 1 Recollections of period as seaman aboard HMS Royal Oak in GB coastal waters, 1939: joining ship, 6/1939; working up at Portland; reaction to hearing declaration of Second World War at Scapa Flow, 3/9/1939; confidence in security of Scapa Flow against U-boat attack; reasons why ship stayed as anti- aircraft defence ship at Scapa Flow; duties including teaching; relations between officers and lower deck; amusing story of discipline measures taken against boy seaman; gap in the defences at Scapa Flow; torpedoing of ship by U 47; his actions on first torpedoing; burning during secondary explosions; abandoning ship; noise of ship turning over.
REEL 2 Continues: period in water and attempt to avoid swallowing oil; rescue from water by raft; initial treatment for burns; evacuation in hospital ship; hospitalisation in Invergordon; burns treatment to his hands; medical treatment prior to drafting to HMS Excellent at Whale Island, 1940; his state of health since burning on board HMS Royal Oak; attitude towards German U-boat crew responsible for sinking; activities of Royal Oak Survivors Association. Aspects of operations as petty officer aboard HMS Witherington in Atlantic, 1941- 1942: joining ship, 1941.
REEL 3 Continues: Atlantic convoy duties; collision with Norwegian vessel in fog in Cape Cod area, 2/1941. Recollections of operations as petty officer aboard HMS Aberdeen in Atlantic, 1942-1944: joining ship; convoy work between GB and Freetown; use of decoy tactics against U-boat packs; spoof tactics employed during Operation Strawberry; story of sinking U- boat aboard HMS Witherington off Canadian coast; decoy tactics employed by German U-boat; attitude towards German U-boat crews; reasons why U-boat threat was defeated; losses during convoys, 1941; escorting US troops into Northern Ireland.
Over two million American servicemen passed through Britain during the Second World War. In 1944, at the height of activity, up to half a million were based there with the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). Their job was to man and maintain the vast fleets of aircraft needed to attack German cities and industry.