- Contributed by
- CSV Solent
- People in story:
- Audrey Mumford, David
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 05 May 2005
This story was submitted to the People’s War website by Marie on behalf of Audrey and has been added to the site with her permission. Audrey fully understand the site’s terms and conditions.
Not long before D-Day I was in Torquay doing a course in Domestic Science when I heard from my brother David - a young sub-lieutenant R.N.R. -that he was in Dartmouth, not too far along the coast. So I asked him if I could possibly visit him. He said he thought it could be arranged, only as the Whitsun weekend was coming up to make it the Sunday afternoon as he would have some time off then. There were very heavy restrictions on travel at the time - we were not allowed to use the main roads as they were chock-a-block with troops and vehicles of every description - it seems incredible now. But I set off early on Sunday morning on my bike and rode across Dartmoor. I passed a sign which said Widecoombe and I passed Haytor and eventually I remember looking down into Dartmouth itself and seeing all the naval vessels there.
David had arranged for me to visit on a short pass and it was not long before I had located him. But he had met this W.R.E.N. — he’d actually rescued her when she fell overboard when coming onto the ship! - and now he was helping her to move to new accommodation. While we were talking I saw three tall, handsome, bearded officers approaching. To my surprise, the one nearest to us on the inside, who sported a fine blonde beard, smiled and saluted David. I was surprised and impressed as he was obviously senior in rank to my brother, so I asked “why did he salute you David?” “oh well” he said “I rescued his cat - it got washed overboard in bad weather! When I took it round to him, he invited me to have a beard with him in the wardroom” “who is he then?” I asked - I was most intrigued as I thought this tall young officer was terribly good looking. “Oh” my brother says casually “nice chap. Calls himself a Greek Prince.” “a Greek Prince? With a blonde beard in the British Navy? I don’t believe it!” “yes that’s what he claims to be” David said. Of course this was Prince Phillip. They were both in tribal class destroyers - different vessels, same flotilla. David was on the Ashanti and also had a cat who gave birth to two kittens in his cabin.
On D-Day itself those destroyers were based in Plymouth and patrolled the Channel to protect the Allied troops invading France. They intercepted 3 german destroyers and sank them - a fourth got away. These german destroyers were aiming to deliver fuel to their Luftwaffe - they couldn’t deliver overland as all the railways were out of action and the roads under attack from the Allies. They were caught and sunk off the coast of France.
David eventually married his W.R.E.N. girlfriend - they now live in Australia.
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