- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Kenneth William Cutting
- Location of story:
- Uk and at Sea
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 16 May 2005
This story has been submitted to the People’s War site by Anne Wareing on behalf of Kenneth William Cutting and added to the site with his permission..
I was 12 at the outbreak of war and living near Thames Estuary not far from Soutend Aerodrome. We were bombed within 3 days of the war starting and within a week I was evacuated to the Forest of Dean Gloucestershire, along with our headmistress. I was separated from my sisters who were sent to Nottingham, which does seem strange now. The Forest of Dean was within range of Bristol, which was heavily bombed and we could see the fires and hear the blast of the bombs falling. I had wonderful time as a an evacuee at Priors Lodge, Lord Bledisloe’s estate, we got the best of everything, roast beef dinners etc. somehow rationing didn’t seem to matter there.
In 1942 I took the final school exams an applied for entry into the Royal Navy for long service, as a boy sailor. And in 1943 went to do my training on the Isle of Man. (All the boy’s training was done there). Then in 1944 with my father’s permission I went to sea with the Home Fleet. Boys were sent on cruisers and I joined HMS Birmingham at Scapa Flow on her return from Norfolk Virginia where she had been re-fitted after having her bows blown off. We were employed escorting Russian convoys.
On VE day we took surrender of the German Fleet at Copenhagen, a memorable occasion.
I stayed in the service 36 years, during that time embracing the Korean War, the Malayan Campaign, the Cyprus patrols, the oil embargo patrols and the Icelandic cod war and at the end of my service I had attained Fleet Chief Coxswain.
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