- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Location of story:
- North Atlantic
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 11 March 2004
It was the fifth of May 1945. As part of a naval task force, we were heading for a strike against the German U-Boat base at Kilbotn in Norway. The day was beautiful, a clear blue sky and sunny. The sea was unusually calm.
Our Grumman Wildcat aircraft were loaded with a 250 lb bomb on each aircraft. As I walked up to the catwalk under the flight deck, I observed our second in command, a Lieutenant Robertson standing at the rail looking toward the Norwegian coastline. Rumours had been circulatiing around the ship that he had lost his nerve and was not flying anymore. I had noticed that he seemed to be a loner and fairly obvious to me was the fact that the other officers appeared to be avoiding him, " sent to Coventry ", in Union terms. Always having had sympathy for the underdog, I approached the officer and remarked "nice day sir !". Being just an ordinary air mechanic myself, I was somewhat apprehensive as to the reception that I would get. My fears were dispelled immediately as he turned and replied "yes it is"
Then followed a conversation between us that lasted about ten minutes, mainly about how the end of the war appeared near and what we each would be doing afterwards.
The call to action came, our planes lined up on the flight deck and each one took off, heading toward the U-Boat base. Shortly afterwards we observed the aircraft returning to our carrier.
The aircraft landed one by one and it was apparent one aircraft was missing. I was to learn sadly the pilot was Lieutenant Robertson,
the officer with whom I had talked with, less than one hour ago. I learnt also that he had been shot down over the Norwegian Fjord and apparently killed. I felt really bad, but took small consolation in the fact that I had taken the effort to engage him in conversation, probably the last he had. Four days later was V.E. day May 8th 1945.
Moving the scene back 27 years, my uncle served during WW 1. He was a lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers and served in France, during one of the last German attacks he was killed on November 8th 1918. Four days later was Armistice Day November 11th.
As I stated at the beginning STRANGE COINCIDENCES.
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