British boy seaman trained at HMS Wildfire, Sheerness, GB, 1939; served aboard HMS Suffolk in Atlantic and during Norwegian campaign, 1939-1940; seaman served aboard HMS Tritilla during Dunkirk Evacuation and Atlantic, 1940-1941; served on shore duties in Iceland, 1940-1941; served aboard HMS Jervis in Mediterranean, 1941-1942; served aboard Landing Craft Flak 1, Combined Operations in GB coastal waters and during Dieppe Raid, 1942; served with N Commando, Royal Navy Commandos in GB, Mediterranean and Italy, 1943-1945
REEL 1 Background in Brighton, GB, 1921-1939: family; education; employment. Aspects of enlistment and training as boy seaman at HMS Wildfire, Sheerness, GB, 1939: reasons for enlistment in Royal Navy, 2/1939; start of training as boy seaman at HMS Wildfire; discipline; settling of inter-personal disputes in boxing ring; bugle calls used; medical inspections during divisions; kit inspections; examples of naval sayings; attitude towards training; how bullying was dealt with; question of promotion in Royal Navy; reaction to declaration of Second World War. Recollections of operations as boy seaman aboard HMS Suffolk in Atlantic and during Norwegian campaign, 1939-1940: drafting to ship at Portsmouth; separation of boy seamen from seamen; pumice stoning the deck; duties as captain's messenger; story of taking captain's dog ashore for exercise; reasons why ship was a happy ship.
REEL 2 Continues: use of hammocks; lack of seasickness; duties on Northern Patrol in Atlantic, 1939-1940; his action station on 0.5 machinegun; defence station in A Magazine; sinking of German merchantman on Northern Patrol, 14/4/1940; reaction of crew to loss of contact with Scharnhorst, 4/1940; occupation of Faroe Islands, 12/4/1940; bombardment of Stavanger airfield in Norway, 17/4/1940; German Air Force attacks on ship, 17/4/1940; flooding of after magazine, 17/4/1940; casualties on board, 17/4/1940; return to Scapa Flow after action; aiding wounded shipmate Charlie Playford, 17/4/1940; attitude to sight of wounded on board. Aspects of operations as seaman aboard HMS Tritilla during Dunkirk Evacuation, 1940: drafting to trawler at Dover, 5/1940; duties manning twin Lewis guns.
REEL 3 Continues: evacuation of troops from Dunkirk; method of evacuating troops from beaches; behaviour of evacuated troops; relations between troops and seamen during evacuation. Aspects of period on shore duties in Iceland, 1940-1941: assignment to coast watching duties; monitoring ship and aircraft movements; giving weather reports; impressions of fishing industry; relations with Icelanders; living conditions and question of opposing German invasion. Recollections of operations as seaman aboard HMS Jervis in Mediterranean, 1941-1942: drafting to ship in Malta; opinion of Captain Mack; duties on board; attack on Axis convoy off Sfax, 4/1941.
REEL 4 Continues: sinking of HMS Mohawk during action off Sfax, 4/1941; reasons why the Mediterranean was the worst place for Royal Navy during Second World War; participation in Battle of Cape Matapan, 3/1941 and how future Italian wife's brother was killed on board Fiume; attitude to being in Valletta harbour during Axis air attack. Aspects of operations as seaman aboard Landing Craft Flak 1, Combined Operations in GB coastal waters and during Dieppe Raid, 1942: characteristics of landing craft flak; living conditions on board; duties on board including role as buoy jumper; altering name of craft to Beach Patrol Craft; preparations for Dieppe Raid on Isle of Wight; lack of security attending Dieppe Raid; sinking of German E-boat during Dieppe Raid, 19/8/1942; damage to landing craft during Dieppe Raid. REEL 5 Continues: in action during Dieppe Raid. Recollections of period as seaman with N Commando, Royal Navy Commandos in GB, 1943: reasons for volunteering for special duties at HMS Excellent at Whale Island, late 1942; character of Lanchester machine gun; composition of N Commando; training in Scotland and Devon; practical joke played on sleeping Women's Auxiliary Air Force personnel; training with Home Guard; training and living conditions at Achnacarry; relations with instructors at Achnacarry.
REEL 6 Continues: character of assault course at Achnacarry; further details of training at Achnacarry; obtaining green beret at end of course. Recollections of operations as seaman with N Commando, Royal Navy Commando during landings at Pachino, Sicily, 7/1943: running aground on sandbar; how Italians had evacuated pillbox prior to assault; competition with officer over use of slit trench; pilfering of rations by Pioneer Corps; story of teaching bullying officer a lesson; picking up drowned bodies of airborne troops off beaches; lack of Axis opposition on beaches; recuperating in Egypt and Palestine after operation. Recollections of operations as seaman with N Commando, Royal Navy Commandos in Italy, 1943-1945: landings at Reggio di Calabria, 9/1943.
REEL 7 Continues: diversionary landings on Italian coast during Allied advance, late 1943; casualties during Anzio landings, 2/1944; nature of beach landings; attack on German radar post on Monte Cristo island; second hand account of O Party's attack on Elba, 1944; lack of incident during landings at Porto Vecchio, Corsica and Porto San Georgio; search for and capture of Italian Fascists at Castella Plania; meeting with future wife at Porto San Georgio, 1944; work of Popski's Private Army; escape from minefield, 1944; advance to Ravenna.
REEL 8 Continues: landings at Lake Comacchio, 4/1945; how he married his Italian fiancée at the end of Second World War. Aspects of return to civilian life in GB after 1945: problems wife had settling down in GB under rationing; leaving Royal Navy after contracting duodenal ulcer, 1945; question of possible causes of duodenal ulcer; problems adjusting to civilian life; dispute with Royal Navy over payment for replacement of lost equipment; attitude to being dismissed from Royal Navy as disabled in 1946.