British boy seaman with HMS Ganges, Shotley in GB, 1939-1940; boy seaman and seaman served aboard HMS Suffolk in GB coastal waters, Arctic and Indian Ocean, 1940-1943; served with Coastal Forces in Indian Ocean, 1943; served aboard torpedo recovery vessel at HMS Lanka, Ceylon, 1943-1944; petty officer served aboard HMS Suffolk in Indian Ocean, 1944-1945; chief petty officer served on shore duties in Ceylon, Australia and Philippines, 1945-1947; served aboard HMS Saints in GB coastal waters, 1947; served aboard HMS Alert and HMS Belfast in Far East and during Korean War, 1948-1950; served aboard HMS Birmingham during Korean War and Far East, 1952-1953
REEL 1 Background in GB, 1924-1939: story of birth, 1/4/1924; family; pattern of father's service. Recollections of enlistment and training as boy seaman at HMS Ganges, Shotley in GB, 1939-1940: enlistment; reception on arrival, 10/1939; daily routine; pay; drill; uniform worn; various classes; gunnery training; knots and splicing; signal training; boat training; cookery training; arms and physical training; climbing the mast; quality of rations; doing laundry; inspections; leave; discipline.
REEL 2 Continues: receiving pay and supply of chocolate; adjusting to naval life; character of recruits; church parade; question of privacy; awareness of naval losses; act of vandalism prior to joining Royal Navy; leaving HMS Ganges; entertainment and sporting activities; scrubbing out boats on River Orwell; shore leave and obtaining cigarettes; lack of war activity in area and attitude towards war service. Recollections of period as boy seaman and seaman aboard HMS Suffolk in GB coastal waters, Atlantic, Arctic and Indian Ocean, 1940-194: joining ship from Chatham, 1940; description of boy seamen's mess deck; action station in forward magazine; attitude to and work in cordite chamber including use of anti-flash gear.
REEL 3 Continues: his general duties maintaining torpedoes and ship's aircraft; operating crane to lift aircraft from sea; attitude to later service in Arctic waters; lookout duties on bridge; icing of ship; sea clothing; chipping ice; duties in Arctic; use of former 'Shotley Boys'; opinion of education officer; continuing education; ship's broadcasting entertainments system; showing films on board; need for permission to go to sea as sixteen year old; Noel Coward's performance to ship's company; beer tickets in canteen at Scapa Flow; recreational activities at Scapa Flow.
REEL 4 Continues: method of obtaining war news; prior recollection of learning ballroom dancing at HMS Ganges; 'Crossing the Line' ceremony; rough sea conditions and seasickness; conditions on board in rough weather; description of messing arrangements; presence of Royal Marines on board; importance of hygiene; nicknames amongst ship's company; swimming training at Scapa Flow; flights in ship's aircraft; memories of ship's company; German Air Force torpedo attack on ship; discipline on board.
REEL 5 Continues: need to live in close confines; reasons for disciplinary actions at sea and ashore; preparations for shore leave; communications with home and censorship; ration items taken home on leave; presence of Irishmen in his mess; convoy escort duties in Atlantic; provisioning by cook for patrolling; availability of alcohol; visit to boy's mess aboard HMS Prince of Wales; casualties amongst his class at HMS Ganges; applying for submarine service; religious ceremonies and padres; Sunday Divisions; haircuts and decision to shave heads; visit by King George VI and Lord Louis Mountbatten; 'make and mend'; sporting and recreational activities.
REEL 6 Continues: patrolling in Denmark Straits; shadowing Bismarck, 5/1941; sight of smoke column from sinking HMS Hood, 5/1941; at secondary action station during shadowing of Bismarck, 5/1941; reaction to sinking of HMS Hood, 5/1941; returning to patrol after sinking of Bismarck, 5/1941; patrolling in Arctic waters; an anchor in Iceland fjord; joining South Atlantic Fleet; degree of activity with South Atlantic Fleet including depth charging submarines in Indian Ocean. Aspects of period as seaman with Coastal Forces in Indian Ocean, 1943: transfer to motor torpedo boats; crew; duties on board; duration of patrols from Chittagong. Aspects of period as seaman aboard torpedo recovery vessel at HMS Lanka, Ceylon, 1943-1944: joining vessel; recovery of dummy torpedoes; re-joining HMS Suffolk, 1944.
REEL 7 Continues: Recollections of operations as petty officer aboard HMS Suffolk in Indian Ocean, 1944-1945: re-joining ship in Ceylon; petty officer examinations; character of petty officer's mess; description of issuing rum ration; provision of alcohol on board; duties as petty officer including maintenance of torpedoes; firing of torpedoes; operation of torpedoes; move to electrical side of role. Aspects of period as petty officer in Australia and Far East, 1945-1946: taking torpedo recovery craft from Ceylon to Australia; duties guarding Japanese POWs in Philippines.
REEL 8 Continues: drafting to HMS Golden Hind, Parramatta near Sydney, Australia; effect of return of hostilities only personnel at end of war on regular naval personnel; clearing former Japanese assault craft in Philippines. Aspects of period as chief petty officer aboard HMS Alert in Far East, 1948-1949: attachment to HMS Alert from HMS Belfast; impressions of USS Missouri during Korean War; visits to Saigon in French Indo-China aboard HMS Alert; character of HMS Alert; 'showing the flag' in Far East; role of ship during the Yangste Incident, 1949; work with ship's cinema. Aspects of period as chief petty officer aboard HMS Saints in GB coastal waters, 1947: drafting to frigate; heavy weather trials; drafing to HMS Swiftsure for Mediterranean cruise, 1947-1948; reaction to sight of armed police in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1947; training prior to joining ship and reasons for short duration of drafts.
REEL 9 Continues: Recollections of operations as chief petty officer aboard HMS Belfast Korean War, 1950: duties as chief petty officer electrician; introduction of new electrical systems aboard HMS Belfast; changing nature of naval roles during period; opinion of bakery on board HMS Belfast; medical facilities on board; Chinese operated laundries; Queen's Coronation parade in Hong Kong, 1953; ashore in Hong Kong; ashore in Japan; reaction to visits to Hiroshima and Nagasaki; activities of HMS Belfast during Korean War; recovery of Royal Marines from ashore; troop transport role of HMS Birmingham; entertainment whilst ashore in Japan; activities in Hong Kong.
REEL 10 Continues: Aspects of period as chief petty officer aboard HMS Birmingham in Far East and Korean War, 1952-1953: background to drafting to ship; role of ship; visit to Shanghai, China, 1952; reasons for visits to Chinese ports; return to GB, 1953; demobilisation from Royal Navy, 1954. Employment with Customs and Excise officer on leaving Royal Navy. Reflections on service with Royal Navy, 1939-1954: question of what makes a happy ship; membership of HMS Belfast and Royal Naval Associations.