- Contributed by
- People in story:
- James Pemberton
- Location of story:
- Aboard the carrier H.M.S.Victorious
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 15 November 2003
James Pemberton was my father in law. He started to keep a diary on being called up. He didn't want to go into the army, so he enlisted into the navy. He was an excellent pianist. He played in Wally Pool’s band in and around Merseyside. He worked as a clerk for Tate and Lyle. He died on 21st of October 1996 aged 83.This is his diary.
2nd March 1941, called up. Jean having baby got extension until 16th March.
No baby yet, received another extension until 2nd April.
2nd April. Joined Raleigh. At Raleigh 10 weeks, not too bad, change from civy life,
Missed home after a few weeks. Plymouth blitzes.
10th June 1941,left Raleigh for 7 days leave.
19th June. Returned to Drake after 2 days extension for removing furniture to Bell Road from Jean's mothers. Got to Drake with brother in law and was drafted out to Ebenezer Hall. A few compassionate leaves from there.
September. Had 7 days leave and took bad with bronchitis for 6 weeks.
October to December had a good job as sentry at Ebenezer Hall.
December 22nd 1941 drafted to Liverpool.
December to July, wonderful job as sentry at Mersey. July returned to Drake broken hearted, July 18th put in for 7 days and got it. July 27th returned to Drake and drafted immediately to Victorious. July 31st sailed for Malta convoy. Returning middle of August and to Rosyth from August to September I think. September yes.14 days leave. Exercises at Greenock and Scapa then November North African campaign, back to Greenock the weekend. Back to Greenock then exercise until December 20th sailed to join the U.S. Navy. Off to Bermuda 1st January 1943. Arrived at Norfolk 1st February 1943.Left Norfolk for Panama middle Feb. Reached Panama for 5 days. Arrived Pearl Harbour end of Feb.
March and April were spent in defence of Pearl Harbour and getting off Yankee routine. End of April off to New Calidonia, 17 day trip. Arrived New Caledonia about middle of May 1943.Immediate emergency as soon as we arrived, same day out after the Jap fleet. Out one week and saw nothing, just submarine scares. Next trip was 28 days in the Coral sea.100 miles from Guadalcanal one afternoon. May and June were spent in south west Pacific. Expected to be out there years.
July 1943 recalled to Pearl Harbour. One run ashore then off again for some port in America. Beginning to think about going home, buzz very strong about being home in September. August some time arrived San Diego but only for 24 hours and I was duty watch. Next day off again for Bilboa. Arrived at Bilboa and went right through the canal in the morning arriving at Colon at the other end of the canal 7pm same night. Stayed overnight, leave only to chiefs and P.O's. Left next morning for Norfolk. In Norfolk about a fortnight then off again for England. Arrived at Greenock on September 29th.New orders to proceed to Liverpool. Arrived Liverpool next morning, marvellous, but unfortunately duty that night. As I was putting a rope on a bollard, met Ken Hamilton.
From October 1st March 8th 1944 in Liverpool. Good oh. March 8th leave Liverpool for Greenock. Arrived Greenock same night. In and out of Greenock for a fortnight or more, extra special exercises. Bloody awful. Only consolation was Maa messman.
Early April attack on Turpitz.Worst trip I ever did for cold and cleaning brass work on ADP at 24 below zero, on Russian convoy. Middle April 1944,more exercises then attack on Boda and attack 150 miles north of Boda on our own, sailing about in gales for a week, absolutely chocker. Back to Scapa and glad of it. No sleep. More exercises and then special 10 days cleaning programme.
8th Montgomery comes aboard for second front. I hope the sooner the war's over the sooner I will be 10 years younger.
19th May King aboard, something's going to happen, splice the main brace.
May 21st Liverpool for 5 days then Scapa then more exercises. Bombing strafing attacks on shipping harbours. June 6th D day.
June 8th sailed for Gib' didn't stop, went on to Algiers. There for 24 hours then to Alexandria. There for 48 hours then through Suez to Aden. The heat here nearly
Killed me. I couldn't breathe most of the time, glad to get out of it and into the Indian ocean.3 days later Bombay for 48 hours then down to Ceylon. At Colombo for 10 days refit and a jolly. More exercises with squadron who hadn't been on a carrier before.
14th September off to raid, strafe, bomb and photograph Madong and other ports in Northern Sumatra.18th September all raids completed and back again to Trincomalee. Buzz about leaving the Eastern fleet for 16 weeks. I hope we are going home, the heat is terrible, I can't stand the sweat, fed up wiping it off. Absolutely fed up with Foreign Service and wish I could go home for good and not come back to this red hot hell hole, I'm about chocker. November went to Bombay for about one month for small repairs. December, back to Colombo for a few days then to Trincomalee for Christmas.
1st January 1945 off to Sumatra for a month's raid. Just imagine, a month at sea and at action for most of the time. Absolutely fed up with Japs and heat and skin troubles to say nothing of the home sickness.
February 6th arrive at Fremantle Australia. Lots of fresh fruit ad presents come aboard. Very good of the Aussies.
11th February arrive Sydney and now changed from the Eastern Fleet to the new British Pacific Fleet. One thing about Britain, she is crafty, but it's hard on the men who have to stand for it. The whole world thinks this is a brand new fleet of fresh men from England. But no, it's the same men and ships that have been fighting this war from the start. Some of them aboard here were in the battle of Jutland in the last war. If they had any thought for us they would send us home and get men out here who want to see the world and a bit of action. It's a long way from one's wife and family and it's not playing the game.
27th February sailed for God knows where.8th March arrive at Manus in the Admiralty Islands. A few days oiling, petrol, stores and ammo and off again steaming north.12th march arrive at Oulithi in the Caroline Islands. A few days, 2 to be exact for oil and petrol again.14th March off again, we don't know where but we know its trouble for someone. Later Captain tells us we are going to bomb airfields in Okinawa and other Japanese islands. March, April and May we bomb and strafe airfields, oil dumps and various other things and we are pleased to know the war with Germany is coming to a close.
May 7th in again to Rhyku islands between Japan and Formosa but weather too bad
so we only get one strike off.
May 8th in again, weather better so we smacked him hard with little opposition.
THANK GOD, THE WAR IS OVER
May 9th in again to smack old yellow belly. May 9th at 5.30 two suicide bombers hit the flight deck, one forward and one aft. 3 dead and 14 badly injured and burned terrible. All fires under control. Skipper makes hands put steel plates over hole in deck to try to keep aircraft flying. Doctors plead with him not to go in again tomorrow.
May 10th we go to oil and petrol for 2 days.
May 14yh back again. This is asking for trouble and I am frightened to death.
More suicides, one just hit the fire hose with his tail and exploded in the water thank God.
May 14th back again to oil etc. Nothing happened then until we arrived in Sydney on June 6th.Grand time in Sydney. June 26th Left Sydney for Tokyo, this is going to be the real thing. (Diary ends)
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