- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Barry Woon, Leslie Charles Guy Woon
- Location of story:
- Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, Barents
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 29 November 2005
This story has been written onto the BBC People’s War site by CSV Storygatherer Ian Hollins on behalf of Barry Woon The story has been added to the site with his permission. And Barry Woon fully understands the terms and conditions of the site.
It is September 1939 I am 10 years old and my father is a Petty Officer on the destroyer H.M.S. Eclipse. Very soon he was to spend the next year on Atlantic convoys and we hardly saw him as the convoy escorts operated from Liverpool and Glasgow. However one day I came home from school for dinner and Mum said “go into the front room”. There was Dad, resplendent in a thick beard, sat in front of the fire. I remember he had brought home cod that had been killed when a shoal had been depth charged believing that it was a submarine. He was later sent to America to commission one of 50 destroyers on lease lend to us in 1940. He said they were terrible sea boats, always wet mess decks. This ship was renamed H.M.S. Broadwater and was later torpedoed on one of her convoy runs in 1941. Dad was rescued and taken to Iceland. He was given two weeks leave (survivors leave) before being sent up to H.M.S. Jamaica, a cruiser that was nearing completion in Barrow — on — Furness. When she was commissioned she was sent on Russian convoys to Murmansk. She was also involved in the Scharnhorst action in the Baring Straits on Christmas Day and Boxing Day in the foulest weather. The signal came across from H.M.S. Duke of York “Jamaica go and finish her off”. Jamaica was also involved in Oman, stopping the French from handing over their fleet to the Germans. Dad who was now a Chief Petty Officer was awarded ‘A Mention in Despatches’. After more Russian convoys Dad was sent over to Vancouver to stand by ‘Dodman Point’, which was being built there. He brought her back to the UK in 1945 just as the war ended and spent the next year at H.M.S. Drake. Sadly he died in 1953 aged 50 years. My proudest moment was walking in Bugle in Cornwall about 1940-1941 and a local man said as he walked towards us “I’ll step in the gutter for men like you”
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