Friday, 29 August 2014

Naval Gazing.....

The final part of yesterday's blog (Bend Sinister's lovely little merchant ships) reminded me of a picture my granddad took of a merchantman sinking in a convoy he was on.

Firstly some background. My paternal grandfather Bill was in the Royal Navy from 1926 to 1956. He served on various famous ships - HMS' Emperor of India, Revenge and Hood to name a few.

This is him on the deck of HMS Revenge in 1931, on a windy day by the look of it:

 
And here he is on HMS Hood where he was part of the gun crew on one of the 5.5" secondary armament (back row, second from left):
 
 
 The 5.5" guns were removed between 1935 and 1940, some ending up as shore batteries as far afield as Ascencion Island (where they can still be seen) and Bognor Regis. Although he was transferred off the Hood in 1936 he was reunited with his 5.5" gun when it was fitted to the armed merchant cruiser Montclare in 1940.
 
He served in the Montclare until 1941. After various wartime postings, including HMS Resolution, he ended up on the ageing destroyer HMS Vega following her refit, and saw out the rest of the war escorting convoys in the North Sea and Atlantic. During those convoys he took this snapshot of a nearby merchantman going down with a broken back following a U-boat attack.
 
 
It was yesterday's post that reminded me I had this picture. I guess it brings home that whilst we are just gaming with miniatures, this was very real to those involved - in a way it's quite a sobering image.

 
 
Until next time............