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D Day 80 Years On


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Just thought id start this topic with my father in law naval exploites.He couldnt swim but joined the Navy cos he thought hed have a good chance of surviving the war, he did.Despite being sunk 3 times, hes life jacket saved him.On mtbs out of Lowestoft patroling the North sea and Channel,taking on the  German boats who were slower but made of metal so not so easy tu sink.Often out running the emeny, but in a fire fight taking in water, trying to stem the in coming water below decks with the bunks mattres!Our boats were made of wood so faster. The only time he ever talked about the war was when many years ago whilst moored at Oulton along side a sea cadets mtb, the scouts welcomed him aboard and hence he told me some of his naval stories.His only regret was that the navy introduced him to smoking!!

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My Grandad joined the navy at 16, he couldn't swim either and it was at the advice of his 3 older brothers who said if you go into the army you will probably die, 2 of whom never returned from the trenches of WW1.

He served from 1917 through to, I think, 1930 and then went into the reserves so was called up in 1939.  He was on board HMS Whitely which was sunk by a dive bomber 19th May 1940 off the coast of Belgium.  As his hearing was damaged he wasn't much good on the gun crew anymore - "sorry, did you shout fire?" !!

He then became a storeman on HMS Formidable which also became a target for dive bombers somewhere off the coast of Greece in May 1941.  She went for repairs in the USA and then headed for the Indian Ocean, along with his service record I also have his crossing the Equator certificate, issued by King Neptune!

He finished his time based on Hayling Island training the landing craft crews for Sicily, Italy, D-day etc.  Due to his age and length of service I'm pretty sure he was de-mobbed by July 45.

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A couple of weeks ago as reported on another thread I bought an old telescope from an auction in Norfolk. My brother in law collected it for me and found in marked with a broad arrow and 1940. It's state suggests it's litterally been through the wars in a shipwreck. I won't get it until the weekend but if confirmed I will be chuffed to be in possession of something which clearly represents very brave men.

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