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HMS Dainty to HMS Nelson

by culture_durham

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Fred Edwards
Location of story: 
South Atlantic, Malta
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
12 May 2005

HMS Dainty 21st. destroyer flotilla Hong Kong 1939

I left England behind at the age of 18 in January 1939 to join HMS Dainty, a destroyer in the China fleet. At the outbreak of war, we were recalled to the UK, but only got as far as Gibraltar and were then sent to the South Atlantic.
We were then sent to Malta and took part in the first fleet action of the war at sea. Involved in convoys and submarine hunting. The Dainty sank 3 submarines in 48 hours and captured a fourth.
We found an abandoned tanker on fire which we boarded, put out the fires and towed into Suda Bay in Crete. We also picked up over 100 survivors of stricken cruiser HMS Calypso.
The Dainty was dive bombed and sunk at Tobruk, 1941 when she was blown in two. I managed to survive unharmed.
I then qualified as a diver and was sent to the Suez canal where I dived on mines for 6 months. I then went home for the first time in 3 years.
My next ship was HMS Nelson, a battleship.
In 1943, the surrender of the Italian fleet was taken on board the Nelson by General Eisenhower and Admiral, Lord Cunningham. Bombarded the beaches on D Day.
On sailing for Portsmouth to restock ammunition, the ship was severely damaged when it struck two mines.

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