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15 October 2014
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Atlanitic Convoys

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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BBC Southern Counties Radio
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Background to story: 
Royal Navy
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Contributed on: 
11 July 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Elaine Stewart of Uckfield Community Learning Centre, a volunteer from BBC Southern Counties Radio on behalf of Mrs Wilcox and has been added to the site with her permission. Mrs Wilcox fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

My husband was a seafaring man but when war broke out he was a home and decided to build a shelter in the garden. He dug a big hole in the garden and constructed it from concrete. It was very well built and never leaked at all!
One day, when my son was about three years old my husband came and said he was going to tell me something I would not be happy about. He had written to the Admiralty to offer his services as a Marine Engineer. He was allowed to stay at home for Christmas but in January was sent to Wales to work on an old trawler which was being disguised as a destroyer. They built wooden guns on it to make it look like the real thing. After a while Mr Roosevelt, the American President offered 50 old American Destroyers which were sent to Seaforth Docks in Liverpool. My husband was Chief Engineer on one of these ships which they renamed HMS Chelsea. He was involved in sailing Atlantic Convoys from Liverpool to the Mid Atlantic and then later was based in Canada sailing from their to the mid atlantic.
There was one occasion when my son was 8 years old in 1944 on board HMS Chelsea, we had been invited on to lunch in the Ward Room and somehow my son got hold of the Officer of the Watch’s revolver. My husband was horrified and went running to relieve him of the weapon!
I was staying with my parents in Crosby near Liverpool one day when to my surprise my husband walked in. His boat had been hit in the channel and they had to reverse in stern first. He stayed for a while until the ship was repaired and then had to leave again.

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