- Contributed by
- CSV Media NI
- People in story:
- Robert Fraser
- Location of story:
- HMS St Angelo barracks, Malta
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 03 November 2005
This story is taken from an interview with Robert Fraser, and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions. The interview and transcription was by Bruce Logan.
I joined up Oct 39 until Oct 1947. I served in Malta from 1940-43. after that I was on a ship, the Zarathusa, in the Atlantic. Then I was on HMS Daedalus for 3 yrs. I was on HMS Birmingham, then I was Discharged.
I was in the Royal Marines.
Served 8 and a half years
I always wanted an easy job. The butcher ...
Sharpen the knife and pass the ...
It’s an easy job in the Marines. No duties whatsoever. It was great!
I trained at Deal in Kent.
18 mths training, then to Portsmouth -
HMS Dunedin. A short time there, then sent to Malta.
Malta was a Disaster. [The Marines] were waiting for an invasion but it never came. the Germans were bombing them, as were the Italians. It was easy to tell which lot were attacking. The Italians were way up, the Germans were way down.
We were … not happy, but we survived.
[Malta's Air Defence was very limited]
Faith, Hope and Charity. That’s all they had, 3 biplanes.
HMS St Angelo was on the harbour with the bofors gun.
[The Marines manning the AA guns] could see the whites of [the German pilots'] eyes.
[On Malta ...]
We got bombed — in Christmas week 1942, there was 100 air-raids that week. It was devastated.
[Was there no water or food or supplies?]
We were in the siege of Malta. There was no convoys coming through, there was no oil whatsoever, no lights.
No rations. We were living for nothing.
In HMS St Angelo, the Barracks
[What about the Canadian ship that came into Malta?]
A merchant ship, the Iowa, broke the blockade, and that was marvellous.
We got food then, and water.
Lots of bags of flour on the ship.
We got the flour.
[after Malta, Robert and his unit] came back. First to Alexandria in Egypt. Then [the unit] boarded HMS Zarathusa and went to Gibraltar.
At Gibraltar you turn left to USA and right to UK. The ship went left to Latin America!
[Where in America?]
Norfolk Virginia. [The ship went there] for repairs. [The Marines] had a bad time in America. [The locals] didn’t like the Brits.
I went back to Portsmouth.
HMS Daedalus was a shore-base.
[What about D-Day?]
My birthday on the 6th May and VE day was the 8th May so I just missed it!
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