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Contributed by 
AgeConcernShropshire
People in story: 
Stanford Hill
Location of story: 
North Africa and the Atlantic
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
A8438961
Contributed on: 
11 January 2006

Stanford Hill, Craven Arms

I was in the Navy on HMS Hartland at the age of 19 and after six weeks at sea recall being involved in operation ‘Torch’ which was the invasion of North Africa. Commandos went ashore to disarm the large guns aimed at the harbour while HMS Walney tried to break down the boom, which formed a large defence gate at the entrance to the harbour. HMS Walney damaged the boom and sank but enabled HMS Hartland to get into the harbour. Around 50 yards from the shore the ship caught fire and exploded. A lot of lives were lost. Of the 350 people aboard, only 83 went home. I was captured but treated fairly and within a few days, as more troops invaded, I was rescued.

Later in the war I was in the Atlantic and was involved in seeking and attacking submarines. The fishing fleet were heroes, keeping sea lanes open by clearing mines thus enabling the country to keep trading to fund the war.

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