- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Mr John Jackson, George Barlow
- Location of story:
- British sea ares
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 26 January 2006
In early 1946 the Flotilla left Plymouth for the last time and made its way round to Swansea. Many of the relatives of our lost shipmates came on board to meet us and, to use a modern expression ‘come to terms with our grief’; no counselling in those days!
On 16th January 1946, at 1100hrs, between 300-400 officers and ratings from the Naval Base and the Flotilla, together with relatives, attended a memorial service at St James Church in Swansea. The service was conducted by an RN Chaplain, assisted by local clergy and a missions-to-seaman padre.
Whilst at Swansea, a charity football match was held between a team from the 16th Flotilla and Swansea Town reserve side, the proceeds in aid of the dependents of those who had lost their lives.
A good match was enjoyed by all, although the 16th were unable to match the stamina and superior weight of the Swansea Reserves, losing by five goals to two. After the event, it took some time to get back to a normal routine, but minesweeping provided the answer, and now most of the Irish Sea had to be tackled.
From Swansea we moved up to Fishguard and Milford Haven, and several weeks of minesweeping ensued.
At last our task was completed and the final order for ‘in-sweeps’ was given. However, before heading for home in the spring of 1946 a courtesy call was made by the J34 to the town of Tenby on the South Wales coast which had supported us throughout the dark days of war.
Anchoring off Caldey Island, the Harbour Master made a liberty boat available so that the ship’s company could go ashore. We were given the freedom of the town so far as free drinks and free admission to clubs was concerned. Also, the liberty boat enabled certain VIP’s and others to visit the ship; this often included a bevy of pretty girls and there was no shortage of volunteers to show them around.
All too soon our visit was over and we headed for Tenby’s final destination. Sailing into Harwich in early June, the majority of the ship’s company was discharged to barracks to await demob or further postings. A small working party remained onboard for another two weeks, when the J34 was rammed onto the mud flats.
On 1st January 1948 she was broken up by Clayton and David of Dunston…. So ended the life of a brave little ship, and those of us who are left can remember her, certainly with pride, but also with something like affection.
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