British boy seaman and seaman served as wireless signaller aboard HMS Iron Duke and HMS Oak with Grand Fleet based at Scapa Flow, 1916-1917; present at Battle of Jutland, 5/1916; served aboard HMS K5 based at Rosyth, 1917-1918; sunk whilst attached to HMS K4, 29/1/1918. Civilian fireman with London Fire Brigade, 1920-1945
REEL 1: Background in Bow, London, 1898-1915: family; daily life and living conditions; education; employment as apprentice on Great Eastern Railways; memory of outbreak of war, 8/1914; reason for enlisting with Royal Navy and question of age, 15/3/1918; reaction of parents; posted to Devonport for training. Aspects of training as boy seaman with Royal Navy in GB, 1915-1916: description of training ship HMS Empereuse; accommodation; examinations; food; description of training in seamanship including knots and splices; story of being chosen for training as wireless operator; training in Morse code.
REEL 2 Continues: further Morse code training on trawlers and problem of seasickness; question of naval discipline and death of recruits during training; opinion of officers; relations with other boys; story of fight; opinion of food; attitude to naval life; uniform; swimming; attitude to role as wireless operator; identifying ships by sound of engines; posted to Scapa Flow, 8/1915; issued with uniform and kit; memory of climbing mast.
REEL 3 Continues: Recollections of period as wireless operator aboard HMS Iron Duke based at Scapa Flow, 1915-1916: reason for being posted to HMS Iron Duke; messing arrangements and opinion of food; accommodation and sleeping arrangements; question of stealing; description of daily routine and duty on watch; cipher codes and call signs; description of wireless equipment and office accommodation; role as messenger; description of layout of HMS Iron Duke; attitude to naval life and discipline.
REEL 4 Continues: opinion of Jellicoe and Beatty; memory of visit by King George V. Aspects of operations as wireless operator during Battle of Jutland, 5/1916: memory of sinking of HMS Malborough; description of role in sending and receiving signals; use of codes; viewpoint and role of HMS Iron Duke; memory of signalling to HMS Warspite; opinion of Admiral Beatty; memory of guns firing; action stations aboard Iron Duke.
REEL 5 Continues: opinion of conduct of battle and question of British losses; returned to Scapa Flow and transferred to HMS Oak, 8/1916. Aspects of operations as wireless operator aboard HMS Oak, 1916-1917: story of death of Kitchener aboard HMS Hampshire; weather conditions; question of rescuing men from sea; death of parents; role of HMS Oak as despatch boat; messing arrangements and accommodation; problem of seasickness; opinion of rations.
REEL 6 Continues: story of captain's wife; opinion of officers; description of wireless equipment and nature of signals; maintenance of equipment; role collecting messages from ashore and writing letters for other seamen; death of parents and brother's military service; leave; recreational activities; relations with other seamen; story of dockyard workers in Newcastle; attitude to swearing; opinion of captain; problem of wireless room flooding; story of being posted to submarine HMS K5 based at Rosyth, 7/1917.
REEL 7 Continues: Recollections of operations as wireless operator aboard HMS K5 and HMS K4, 1917-1918: description of living conditions aboard K5; accommodation and messing arrangements; crew; opinion of captain; opinion of rations; cooking facilities; problem of noise and smell; daily routine in wireless office at sea; nature of messages; tuned to submarine band to monitor signal traffic; question of sending and receiving signals underwater; description of wireless equipment; daily routine and duties in harbour; attitude to role in submarine; question of pay and shore leave; story of receiving news from wireless station in Cornwall; problem of boredom; rotation of crews; opinion of captain.
REEL 8 Continues: role of K5 with Grand Fleet; story of balloon; armaments; problem of mines; story of death of stokers; posted to HMS K4 and comparison with K5; amusing story of exchanging rum for generator; memory of fellow crew members; amusing story of fish; story of being sunk aboard K4, 29/1/1918; location at time of sinking; description of K4 being hit by cruiser; impact and nature of damage; weather conditions and problem of cold while in water; posted back to K5 at Rosyth.
REEL 9 Continues: role in convoys; reaction to news of Armistice, 11/11/1918. Aspects of period aboard K5 based at Portsmouth, 1918-1920: story of being posted to Portsmouth; opinion of K class submarines and technical problems; question of safety procedures; question of morale. Various aspects of post-war life and employment in London.
REEL 10 Continues: Recollections of period as fireman with London Fire Brigade, 1920-1939: story of joining London Fire Brigade; recruitment procedure and tests; description of training as fireman including jumping from height; first aid and educational classes; sent to fire station in Bow; story of fire in fish and chip shop and inquest; description of fire engines and crews; role as fireman; uniform; question of protective clothing; rescuing people caught under buses; story of training as driver.
REEL 11 Continues: description of attending various incidents in London area; daily routine and duties as driver; amusing story of station officer; shift work and rotas; attitude to role as fireman; speed of response; description of attending fires; question of preparations for war; story of pumping water into ornamental lake.
REEL 12 Continues: conclusion of story; memory of German ladder; memory of outbreak of war, 3/9/1939. Recollections of period as fireman with London Fire Brigade, 1939-1945: various aspects of daily routine and during Phoney War period, 1939-1940; story of fighting fire in turpentine factory.
REEL 13 Continues: end of story; memory of unexploded bomb; question of police presence; fire-watching duties; incendiary bombs; water supplies; story of death of fireman; nature of duties as officer in Fire Brigade; duties of crew; problem of damage to water mains; story of Superintendent; question of obtaining adequate water supplies; effects of bombing on civilian population.
REEL 14 Continues: role of other emergency services; use of ladders; question of casualties; daily routine and question of sleep; duties at docks; story of German planes at Southend; description of docks on fire, 9/1940; problem of petrol supplies; story of being injured during V2 attack and treatment, 1944; description of role in charge of workshop in Plaistow area preparing vehicles for Normandy landings, 1944.
REEL 15 Continues: further comments on work in Plaistow depot; memory of sugar factory destroyed by V2; reaction to end of war and retirement from Fire Brigade, 1945. Aspects of post-war life and employment.