British schoolchild evacuated from London to Timberscombe, Somerset, 9/1939; boy seaman trained at HMS Ganges, Shotley, GB and aboard HMS Norfolk in GB coastal waters, 1947-1948; served aboard HMS Amethyst during Yangtse Incident in China, 1949
REEL 1 Background in West Ham, London, GB, 1931-1939: family; education. Recollections of evacuation from West Ham to Timberscombe, GB, 1939-1945: leaving London, 9/1939; unsuitable nature of families he was billeted with; billeting with Lady Anson in Knowle House; parents coming to live in Timberscombe; witnessing hayrick fire which was blamed on evacuee boys; stealing sweets from Mr Jeffries; initial reaction of evacuees to contrast between London and Somerset; question of homesickness; degree of impact of Second World War on Timberscombe including sight of German Air Force attacks on South Wales; government restrictions on sale of pigs; food supply; nature of schooling. Aspects of period as boy seaman at HMS Ganges, Shotley in GB, 1947: joining Royal Navy, 1947; nature of training including climbing the mast and physical exercises.
REEL 2 Continues: three flights of stone steps called 'Faith, Hope and Charity'; corporal punishment given to boy seamen for trying to run away; service as boy seaman aboard HMS Norfolk, 1947-1948. Recollections of period as seaman aboard HMS Amethyst during Yangtse incident in China, 1949: joining ship in Hong Kong, 4/1949; guardship duty in River Yangtse; display of Union flags on side of ship, 4/1949; his action station on starboard Oerlikon gun; start of Communist shelling; direct hit on Oerlikon gun in which Munson was showered with sparks; running aground on mudbank; attempts of HMS Consort and HMS London to rescue ship; escape from mudbank to shelter behind Rose Island; disembarking wounded; arrival of Short Sunderland flying boat with medical officer; decision not to swim for Nationalist shore but to stay on board; burial of dead; work he carried out on board; negotiations between Commander John Kerans and Chinese Communist Army commander.
REEL 3 Continues: receiving fuel oil from Nanking; conditions aboard ship; watching bodies of Chinese soldiers floating downstream; hot temperatures; injuries to ship's cat Simon; rat infestation and use of fuse-wire snares to catch rats; casualties and fate of Chinese pilot; preparations for break-out; reaction to hearing of break-out; allocation of new action stations; turning ship's bows seawards; collision with Chinese junk; obstacles faced by HMS Amethyst on journey downstream; listening to depth soundings during dash to sea; personal morale during dash to sea and during 4/1949 actions; crews wish for negotiated release and attempt of Communists to force Commander John Kerans to confess; reception in Hong Kong and all ports to Plymouth, GB; official reception in London.