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Archive List > Royal Navy

Contributed by 
CSV Action Desk/BBC Radio Lincolnshire
People in story: 
Gerald Charles
Location of story: 
The Channel off The French Coast
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
22 July 2005

I was in the submarines. I remember one time we were sitting on the bottom of the sea just outside a French port. We were lying on the bottom so that the German destroyers couldn’t detect us. We’d found a hollow on the seabed to lie in and wait until they had passed by. Some destroyers were coming over us; you could hear their engines going overhead. They were dropping depths charges but none of them went near us. When those ships had gone into port we were going to leave but another lot came out. We were going to let them go and then follow them but they started dropping their charges nearer to the coast. This time we felt them and we started to get a few leaks and the lights went out. There were some air tanks either side of the sub called Q tanks, which enabled the sub to go up or down. One of them started blowing air out and the sub started to tip over. You could hear the air escaping outside the craft. We only had so much compressed air so we had to do something to shut it off. The skipper said “What do you think’s wrong?” I said that they’d damaged our outward tanks and that the only thing we could do was to cut them and block them off. By the time everything was ready to get the pipes undone and ready to clock off, the destroyer had gone. When we eventually go the submarine up we saw the damage and realised that we had to get back home to Gosport for repair. We had to go back all the way on the surface.

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