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Working as a Senior Navy Engineer and interpreter

by Angela Ng

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Archive List > British Army

Contributed by 
Angela Ng
People in story: 
Location of story: 
De Brooke and Alexandra
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
11 July 2005

This is Robyn Murray of Southmoor community school, Sunderland entering Mr.Constantine's story on to the website and they fully understand the website terms and conditions of use.

Fact file:
· Name — Mr.Constantine
· Born- in Greece 1917
· Service- Worked as senior Navy engineer and interpreter.

Mr. Constantine’s story.

Whilst on board a ship, Mr. Constantine was bombed in Tobruk, he thinks it was the Italians attacking; he managed to survive the attack. He then moved on to the Alexandra, joining another ship called HMS Endeavour, he went through the Sewer canal; in the Red Sea, navigating ships. His next job was working as an interpreter on a new ship, as he was able to speak Italian; this ship was a Red Cross ship, which was also carrying troops in fight in the battle. The ship travelled to Tobruk; where he was first bombed picking up 500 wounded troops on stretchers. Whilst Mr.Constantine was working on the ship they had no antibiotics. All they had was a Saline drips. They was no money during the war, sisters on the ships wanted to buy stockings, they would cost one and a half sovereigns, although they wanted the Stockings they wanted Penicillin, because troops were badly injured. Often the injured troops had bullets in their legs; often there was no alternative but to amputate their legs. On board the ship they did loads of amputations, luckily there was anaesthetic; amputated legs were taking down to the boiler room to be burnt. These hospital ships were very well equipped, and even had dentists on board. ON the ship Mr.Constantine was on, there were mainly wounded Italians; Italians were good cooks and used to make soup. Many also had sexually transmitted diseases.
Mr. Constantine was bombed in Tubruk for the second time, the ship caught fire, causing them to abandoned the ship because it was sinking; some men were saved by the navy; the navy sent about six or seven war ships to pick up the wounded troops. The Navy ships tuck him back to Alexandra; he remembered the kindness of someone from the Red Cross giving him biscuits, when he fully recovered from the attack he started service on another ship called the “Maine” he worked on that ship until the war finished in 1945.

His personal opinion of what life was like during the war.

Mr.Constantine tells of how you could not get what you wanted in the war, as it was ration. For some meals as of the shortage of food, they used to catch fish from the Sea; he missed not having chocolate during the war. Mr Constantine tells me about how everybody smoked, and how easy it was to get loads of cigarettes and alcohol.
Sine National Health Service was introduced, Mr. Constantine has seen a big improvement in health care.

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