- Contributed by
- People in story:
- DF Kelly ex Chief Engine Room Artificer, Royal Navy
- Location of story:
- Indian and Pacific Oceans
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 22 May 2005
Soon after Christmas 1942, I was drafted to HMS Kenya, a Fiji Class Cruiser, and joined her at Scapa Flow.
We left the UK in March 1943 and escorted a troop convoy of 13 ships down around South Africa for the Middle East. We then joined the 4th Cruiser Squadron in the Eastern Fleet, first based at Mombasa, East Africa, and later at Trincomalee, in Ceylon (as it was called then). We remained out there for over two years, operating against the Japanese at Burma, Malaya, Sumatra, Indonesia, Nicobar and Adaman Islands. Part of our work out there was covering landings on the Burma coast and escorting Australian and New Zealand troop ships across the Indian Ocean. We left the Eastern Fleet in April 1945 and headed for the UK, going around South Africa again, stopping at Durban to have “X” turret (triple 6” guns) taken off.
We were at sea on “VE Day”, between Freetown and Casablanca, French Morocco, but we called at Casablanca on “VE Plus One” for fuel. We were allowed ashore there, but were warned not to walk about in less than twos; the French there had very little time for the British. We left Casablanca on the 10th May and received a signal from Admiralty to stand-by to take over any U-boats surrendering. We did not see any U-boats and eventually arrived at Sheerness on Sunday 13th May, 5 days after “VE Day”. All that day we de-ammunitioned the ship and, later, shore leave was given by liberty boats to Gillingham.
When we got ashore, there was little or no beer left in the pubs - it had all been drunk over the VE celebrations! It was not a very good welcome home after being away for two years and two months!! But we were home safe and that was the main thing!
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