IAmA 91 Year old WWII veteran. At 20 years of age I directed a merchant ship to avoid torpedoes+bombs I was then rewarded with ten shillings AMA
I will be dictating to my Great Grandson who is writing this for me :)
EDIT- Proof as Requested http://i.imgur.com/iN7y6.jpg
EDIT 2- Thank you for all your questions and comments. I have enjoyed this thoroughly but I believe it is time for my demise (sleep) Thank you and goodnight.
As a younger American Iraq war veteran, and having served beside your newest generation of ground pounders, I personally would like to thank you very much for your service, even if you're from another country and another branch, we're all Brothers In Arms in my eyes. I salute you, good sir!
If anyone is interested, Another ship I sailed on- The Dainty. We sunk two on that
What was the best part (if there's such a thing) of serving in the war?
Was there ever a time where a fear of Nazi World domination was popular?
No, I was going to stop it! (or try to)
What was your impression of the Australians at Tobruk? Where they like what ANZAC legend makes them out to be (brave, heroic, humourous)?
...and dangerous to the Germans, With the captured Italian pistols which they traded to the Egyptians it put us poor mate-lots at a disadvantage. But oh the were tough boys and they deserve all praise.
I did some work for a former Rat of Tobruk - that guy was a FONT of dirty jokes...
What did you do after the war?
Humour kept them going, I worked for Courtauld mostly and Dehaviland A-C company
Were you ever close to dying during your service?
Oh yeah, Several times actually especially at Tobruk when two bombs we dropped by the Germans on our stern, I was on the bridge. I then (was forced) had to go swimming
Which country's fleet impressed you the most in warding off the U-Boats?
The Yanks were disastrous, the British were the best in my opinion.
Good answer! Which, in your opinion, had more effect on the number of ships lost, the convoy system, or the decryption of the enigma code?
Technically- It was tit for tat. But in the end we had em beat. Radar and Sonar did the trick + Long Distance Aircraft
We've had numerous attempts like this scenario and several of them have been fake.
Please, provide proof.
Proof has been added in the first post.
Thank you for your service! What did you buy with those ten shillings?
You're Welcome, Very little. As I had just survived my ship being sunk at Tobruck
Thank you for doing this AMA! 6 of my great-uncles fought for Canada in WWII - Somehow, they all came home. I have the utmost respect for you, sir. Thank you for your service.
How long had you been away at war? Was it hard re-adjusting to life at home when your time in the war was done?
I was away from home, 2 years in the Med and 4 years in the Atlantic. Having a Lovely wife, clean bed, showers and good food it wasnt hard.
Thank you for doing this!
Why did you choose to join the military, and how much did you know about what caused the war when you were fighting in it?
In the first instance, HMS is Navel not military Yes we all knew the war was coming. During the time of the war we didnt know what had caused it, Only Hitler.
Thanks for the answers. What were the others you worked with like, did you get along well with them?
We were all brothers
Which shipping runs were you on? I actually have a grandfather who was 20 when he joined the HMS Jamaica in 43', and he was on the merchant run to Murmansk and Svalbard.
Did your Grandfather survive?
We did convoys from Liverpool only to the Atlantic. I am very very glad I did not go on Russian Convoys it must have been murder.
Are you in this photo?
No, I think this is when it was first commissioned.
I think it's Cdr Currie in the middle, which places the photo in 1943. Can you recognize if it's him or Cdr Heathcote?
edit: full size photo
To be honest, I dont entirely recognise it as either of them. But I did work with both of them.
What was your job? How long did you sail for?
I did Signals and my total service was 12 years. They held me back from discharge for two years!
So you sailed on HMS Fame from 1941 through to the end of the war? Were you there when she rammed a U-boat in battle?
Translation: O/H/COOL I was on other ships before that. I was on the Fame when we rammed it.
Please, provide proof. If provided proof; Are you still healthy?
Yes. Although I am smoking myself to death
Also, where were you stationed?
We were Convoying small supply boats; Egypt was our base. I was in the British forces and was delivering supplies to the Australians in Tobruk
My grandfather was one of those Aussies in Tobruk. I thank you for your service. Luckily he got home safely, although he is no longer with us.
Thats very kind of you.
I understand that the Battle of the Atlantic consisted of convoy after convoy under constant threat of ambush by a Wolfpack. Were you ever in one of those doomed covoys? If so, how did your ship (and any other escaping ships) manage to slip by?
Yes and well basically, because we broke their code and could then evade them.
This is very interesting to me. My grandfather was a naval officer in WW2.
I'd really like to hear more stories involving the merchant fleets in general, but I have some specific background ones first:
1) Which city were you born in?
2) Which ship(s) did you serve on besides HMS Fame?
3) Which port(s) were you operating out of?
1) I was born in Liverpool 2) Ships- Hermies, Glorious and Lots more 3) Liverpool, Plymouth, Alexandra (Egypt)
Thank you for all your questions and comments. I have enjoyed this thoroughly but I believe it is time for my demise (sleep) Thank you and goodnight.
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