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‘We could get hit at any time' say Wiltshire veterans
11:10am Friday 4th October 2013 in Latest News
To this day, veterans of the convoys can recall with chilling clarity the dangerous conditions.
Gilbert Grace, 88, of Trowbridge, who served in the Royal Navy, said: “I went on three convoys to Russia, but the worst was the second one, due to the conditions. The sea was the roughest I have ever seen.
“The living conditions were also really difficult, because the water was so unpredictable and it was also extremely cold, so it was almost impossible to sleep.
“My role was on the pom-pom gun, so I was on the action station.”
Merchant Navy man Fred Andrews, of Corsham, added: “I was in the radio department, tasked with keeping continuous watch, as we could get hit at any time. It was very scary, but you just sort of got used to it.
“I remember one occasion when a convoy ship next to our ship, which was carrying iron ore, was hit and sunk immediately. I was stationed in Russia for a year, on a crane ship, which was used to lift tanks.”
Royal Navy veteran Mervyn Salter, of Corsham, said: “The conditions were as Churchill described them. They were treacherous and awful. It was the combination of the gale force winds, mountainous seas and the darkness, as there was only about an hour of light a day.
“My most vivid memories are sinking a German battleship, D-Day, and sinking a Japanese cruiser.”
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