Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 6, 2013 10:45:42 GMT 12
It was extremely cold on the ships but spare a thought for the airmen who flew off the escort carriers - it gets even colder at altitude. I know a chap here in NZ who was an Observer in Fairey Albacores on one of the Arctic convoys. He and his pilot had to patrol ahead to look for enemy ships and submarines. One one occasion they came back to where the ship should have been and it wasn't there. They could not make radio contact of course as the carrier broadcasting a message would help the enemy to pinpoint it. Obviously the carrier and convoy had struck trouble and made an unscheduled diversion. They had to stooge around the cloudy cold sky in a grid for ages and on the point that they were almost out of fuel, they finally found the ship and landed. A very close call. No-one lasts very long in that icey water if theyd had to ditch.
Yeah, true mate, landing in that water, life expectancy would be short, in no way was i being flippant or demeaning in my last comment about Albert Trotter, it was just what i remembered him saying in Only Fools, in one of his during the war speeches many years ago, about being on the convoys. Just making light of what was a terrible situation.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 6, 2013 17:33:27 GMT 12
In one of the Only Fools and Horses episodes - I am not sure which one - Uncle Albert mentioned that he was on the first Royal Navy ship sunk in the war. When I was staying with Dad's Army Appreciation Society "Commander-in-Chief" Jack Wheeler back in 1996/97, Jack had to pop away to Portsmouth for a couple of days. I knew he'd served in the Royal Navy in WWII but he explained he was heading to a very important Navy reunion. Jack had actually been on board that first ship sunk in the war! I'm afraid I cannot remember which ship it was, perhaps HMS Royal Oak.
Anyway he was meeting all the surviving crew members, all six of them together. He said they met up every year there for a reunion and always had since the war. It was quite interesting hearing him talk about it. Of course the crew was a peacetime crew and they'd all known each other well so the sinking had been a big blow to the survivors.
I mentioned that Uncle Albert claimed to have been on that ship and he just laughed. But by a twist of fate Jack's son had gone to school with Nicholas Lyndhurst and they were still mates apparently.