- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Donald William Joslin
- Location of story:
- Service of the HMS Victorious
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 09 September 2005
Lend lease to the United States Navy 1943.
His Majesty King George VI came aboard the HMS Victorious and came along on exercise with us to see the workings of an aircraft carrier with the aircraft etc…
Sir Winston Churchill came aboard HMS Victorious to meet the Captain and the ships company. Both came aboard whilst we were part of the Russian convoys at Scapa Flow.
In 1941 we left Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands to increase the escort of the Russian convoys with the home fleet. Hoping to catch the German battle ships coming out to attack the convoys. The convoys went to Archangel and Murmance but we didn’t take it right in to the destination we waited outside for the other convoy to come back with their escort. We sailed back with them in case the German fleet came out. Then we went back to Scapa Flow, which was our base with the home fleet, and then we sailed with the Pedestal convoy to Malta, which had to get through three aircraft carriers, HMS Eagle, HMS Indomitable and the HMS Victorious. The HMS Eagle was sunk by a German or Italian submarine. Then the HMS Indomitable was hit and damaged by aircraft both Italian and German. When we came back we took a convoy of troops to Algiers in North Africa. We stayed there and helped to supply the aircraft from our ship and the troops that were landing and then we came back to England.
The American lost so many aircraft carriers that they only had one left, the “Saratoga”, so the admiralty sent the HMS Victorious for support. We left England and went to Northern Virginia, Norfolk Virginia on New Years Day in 1943. After they did some jobs on us they gave us some new camouflage to mimic the American fleet. We left there and made our way down through to Panama, we went through Panama Canal changing our name from HMS Victorious to make out that we were an American ship carrier called “ USS Robin”. So that the Japanese would not be aware that the Americans were short of carriers. After we went through Panama Canal we sailed down to Pearl Harbour in Hawaii where the part of the American fleet took us then down to the advanced base at the time at Noumea in New Caledonia. From there we picked up all the fleet to try to catch the Japanese making a landing on another island. They didn’t arrive so we stayed there for six months doing other operations and then went to Hawaii as the Americans’ then had more aircraft carriers. We stayed in Hawaii a little while then we sailed from there to San Diego in America, and then we left there and came back through the Panama Canal, changing our ships name back to the HMS Victorious, home to England then.
Then we left England again protecting Russian convoys in Archangel and Murmance. Then we went back to England again, then from there we left again and sailed down to the Mediterranean, by this time they had cleared the Germans form the Algiers. We had some leave there to see what was about when we landed the troops. From there we sailed on to Alexandria through the Mediterranean, then through the Suez Canal. From there we sailed to Bombay in India. We had to go in dry dock for repairs. When we left there we went to Colombo in Ceylon. From there we went around to the other side of Ceylon to Trincomalee. Attacking the Japanese at Sumatra in the Adaman islands etc. Then from there we were sent to form up the Pacific British fleet, calling in on the way down to Free Mantle in Perth. From there we sailed around to Sydney harbour after a spell there we left there with some more ships and sailed up to the Philippines where we built up the British pacific fleet. Then we went up to help the Americans on different operations attacking the Japanese. Whilst off Japan we were attacked by kami karsie planes, we then returned to Sydney Australia for repairs and then returned to attack the Japanese again until the Americans dropped the two atomic bombs. When the bombs were dropped the war was over and we came back to Australia, Sydney for spares and shore leave then eventually we came back to England calling at Portsmouth and then our home base Plymouth. This was the first time we ever came into Plymouth, as it was too dangerous to dock at Plymouth during the War.
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