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Do not fire form the hip

by BBC Radio Norfolk Action Desk

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Archive List > Royal Navy

Contributed by 
BBC Radio Norfolk Action Desk
People in story: 
Thomas William Cook
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
01 November 2005

This contribution to BBC People’s War website was provided to Tracey Gray a Volunteer Story Gatherer from the BBC Radio Norfolk Action Desk at an Event organised by the Norwich, Norfolk and Suffolk Pensioner’s Association. The story has been written and submitted to the website with the permission and on behalf of Thomas William Cook.

I was serving on the River Class Frigate HMS Spey in November 1942, under the command of H G Boys-Smith. We arrived late for the landings at Algiers, as one of the American ships in the convoy had been torpedoed. We had picked up about 900 of its troops. Not sure how this was managed, as there never seemed much room for our crew of about 120. We went alongside the jetty to disembark them. A German plane came over high, and we were using our 4” guns to put up a barrage to keep him there. Against all good gunnery practice, the gun was only partly depressed, with the loaders partly kneeling to put in the shell. I did not get away fast enough and some of the recoil hit me, and my leg from thigh to knee went blue. Luckily no permanent damage was done. I was told do not watch so many cowboy films. You cannot fire a 4” gun from the hip.

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