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Leading TORPEDO OPERATOR in DESTROYERS was originally working for the Stepney Electricity Board when called up, already married, in May, 1940.
He trained at HMS Raleigh at Torpoint in Cornwall and was assigned to HMS Pembroke at Chatham then as a seaman-torpedoman at HMS Actaeon and HMS St Vincent at Gosport for electrical courses.
From Sam’s early service on the destroyer HMS VERDUN, one of 68 V & W destroyers built between 1915 and 1925, we recall the return on VERDUN of the UNKNOWN WARRIOR from Flanders after WW I. When he was ‘buried among the kings’ in Westminster Abbey on Remembrance Day, 11th November 1920, there also was the unveiling of the new Cenotaph with King George V, as Chief Mourner scattering French soil, specially brought over from France, over the coffin as it was laid to rest.
The Verdun had been laid up for 17 years and after some south and north convoys out of Rosyth including the Bismarck alert, Sam would join HMS REDOUBT in September 1942 after a further Torpedo course in Roedean School (HMS VERNON) and the new unused St Dunstan’s building. Redoubt was a brand-new R-class destroyer commissioning at John Brown’s Clyde shipyard. Sam remembers the personal handling of the 1,000 rounds of 4.7 inch shells each weighing half a hundredweight and the working up trials and exercises.