Bernie, a veteran participating in IWM's We Were There programme

9 Questions...

  • Where do you call home?

    Home is where the heart is. Every drafting to a new ship is home.

  • What conflict(s) do you discuss when volunteering for We Were There?

    The Cold War – in particular the Suez Crisis in 1956, Cyprus and preventing terrorism in 1959.

  • How were you involved in that conflict?

    I served on a landing ship as a telegraphist radio operator. I sent press reports by Morse Code to newspapers in London. In 1959, I was transferred to minesweepers which were patrolling Cyprus. I served as a leading Radio Operator. Our mission was to stop fishing trawlers smuggling weapons to Cyprus from Greece and Turkey.

  • How long have you been volunteering for WWT?

    I began volunteering on 17th March 2018. The same day as HMS Belfast’s 80th birthday.

  • What do you enjoy most about participating in WWT?

    Meeting old veterans and seeing the sheer amazement on visitors’ faces in response to my memories of life on board. Introducing Morse Code to visitors and endeavouring to help them learn a little of it, and how communications from HM Ships at sea worked.

  • Tell us your favourite moment so far during the sessions?

    Oh, favourite moment, I’ve had several moments. But school children presenting me with cards made at home to express their gratitude in teaching them Morse Code and thank you letters from schools are very special moments.

  • What’s your favourite object in IWM’s collections and why?

    My favourite object is definitely the Morse Keys and the compartment on the ship where it lives – the Bridge Wireless Office.

  • What do you like to do in your spare time?


  • What is your favourite biscuit?

    A toss-up between custard creams and milk chocolate digestives.

Volunteers help bring to life the stories of our collections. Find out more. 

Stories that deserve to be heard

Stories that deserve to be heard

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A Balloon Site, Coventry
© IWM (ART LD 2750)
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