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David and the Prince

by westernwards

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Audrey Munford and David Borroughs
Location of story: 
Dartmouth, Devon.
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
15 June 2004

Not long before D-Day I heard from my brother David that he was in Dartmouth not too far from Torquay where I studied, as the Whit Sunday holiday was coming up I asked if it would be possible for me to visit him in Dartmouth. He said he thought it could be arranged but to come on Sunday after 1pm when he would have some time off.

So I set off on Sunday morning early and rode my bike over Dartmoor toward Dartmouth. We were not allowed to use the main roads, as they were chock a block with vehicles and troops of every description. On my travels I passed a sign saying Widdecoombe and I also passed a place called Haytor.

I can remember looking down into Dartmouth, seeing all the ships naval vessels. David had arranged for me to visit on a short pass and it was not long before I located him.

He had met a Wren and was helping her to move into new accommodation.

While we were talking I saw 3 tall, handsome, bearded officers approaching. To my surprise, the one nearest to us, who sported a fine blond beard, saluted David and smiled. I was impressed, as he was obviously of higher rank than my brother was,so I asked him why did he salute you? "Oh well, I rescued his cat. It was washed over board in bad weather and when I returned it he invited me to have a beer with him in the wardroom". "Well who is he?" I asked. I was most intrigued as I thought this tall young officer was terribly good-looking. "Oh" says my brother casually, "nice chap - calls himself a Greek prince". Of course this was Prince Phillip. David a 20 year old would have been a sub-lieutenant RNR and Phillip probably 2 years older a lieutenant or lieutenant commander, they were part of the same flotilla but different vessels. David was on the 'Ashanti' a tribal class destroyer, he also had a cat, which gave birth to 2 kittens in his cabin.

On D-day itself these destroyers were based in Plymouth and patrolled the channel to protect the invading troops. They intercepted 3 destroyers and sank them. These German destroyers were aiming to deliver fuel to their luftwaffe. They could not go over land, 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.

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