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 Audio Recording with Sidney (Sid) Berry about his wartime experiences in the Royal Navy

These are the (very) rough notes taken by me (Rob Forsyth) as Sid talked. They provide a list of topics against the approx time on the recording. NB: I have not yet tidied up the edit layout!


    Part I

 00’ 00    Why he wanted to join RN
  01’ 30    Old wives tale as to why he would never drown

   02’ 15    Skived off work to put name down for navy …story….
  04’ 15    Sacked by his employer – a baker. Got temp job tractor driving
  06’ 45    Called up. Went to Skegness for basic training – stories of…..

 11’ 00    then Wales under canvas – stories of…….
  14’ 30    Chatham Barracks – training as a cook stories of…..
  16’ 45    Sleeping in tunnels etc
  18’ 00    Joined HMS MASHONA – Tribal class frigate at Immingham.

               Lofoten
               Captured merchant vessel – prize money
               Chased out by German Destroyers
  22’ 00     Captured a fishing vessel – boarding party
               Captains uniform, drinking, prisoners
               Meant to escort shipof children to USA
               But went chasing Tirpitz – then Hood sunk
               Set off to join battleships hunting Bismarck
   25’ 00      Shells going over the top en route to Rodney!!
               Sent back to Plymouth attacked by Focke wolfe Hit by bomb
                Hit No 1 boiler. Sunk. Lost nearly half ships company
                Most survivors picked up by HMS TARTAR
               "I got washed away from ships side and thought had gone blind but was wearing a fishermans life  jacket (too big) which
               had risen up over my eyes."!!       
    32’ 00    Not picked up until dark by a US destroyer.
               Went in to Londonderry. Injured in one leg. 6 weeks in hospital.

    36’ 00    Joined HMS ASHANTI on the Tyne
                PQ17 convoy
                Previous one was told to scatter. Lost most of them
                Only got about 5 through
    38’ 45    Bear Island – Heinkel 111 – 2 torpedoes each -  Over 50 a/c. 104 Under water     explosions
                Got to Murmansk Used up all ammo
                Stayed 2 weeks then ran home at 45 knots!
                Awful place Russia – swapped hats for Ki
    41’ 00    Did about 5 convoys to Russia
                Then went to Mediterranean
                 Operation PEDESTAL
    43’ 00    Eagle & Isaac Speers (dutch)
                Straits of Pantelloria – Manchester sunk/beached
                 E boat attacks
    44’ 50    ASHANTI became Convoy Commodore
                 3 out of 15 got through.

(Eds note: now sidetracked by me into recalling arctic convoys – attacking u boats – story of     becoming asdic operator for a short time)
    
    48’ 40    Met up with Italian Fleet who hopped it!
                Supported N Africa landings
                Cooking stories
    52.0      Under attack by Stukas while temp assistant gun layer
    52’ 50    Captain Richard Onslow -  sea going rig – possibly related to Dr Jones of home villag (Deddington) -  good for a loan  
    56’ 00    Convoys to Sicily
                Went S of Equator
                Back to UK for boiler clean
       
    59’ 00    (again side tracked by me - End 1943 Volunteered for submarines?
                This caused him to lose track and he tries to rememeber what he was talking                 about!)
    60’ 00  awarded Malta medal 50th Anniversary.

(Eds note:  The original tape recording now had some talk about tobacco issue, making plugs of etc and then led to a story about taking ESKIMO in tow from ASHANTI. This did not make it to the CD but may be on original tape with the Naval Museum in Portsmouth)
       
    End Part I

    Part II


    00’ 00    starts right in middle of story of  towing of Eskimo.

   03’ 00    - recovery of Eskimo’s CO (Lt Cdr Maud) who had intended to go down with his ship -Met by     Churchill

    05’ 15    (Back to submarines – )
                Training Class number 129.  NB: his SM training notebook is in SM museum.         V brief notes!!
                 Cyclops
    07’ 53    HM SM Thresher – no chef so sent as a substitute – Xmas food
                Went to Birkenhead – HM SM Selene –
    10’ 43    taken to it by Thrasher’s skipper
                new build in Cammell Laird
    12’ 15     trot sentry revolver practice firing at jam jar story
    15’ 15     Rum story
    16’ 00     Sea trials/depth charge trials
    17’ 00     long    (Skippers christening party/being drunk/
    20’ 00     crew nicking food so he had nothing to cook – skippers tolerance!   
    23’ 00    story!    (farewell party advice from No 1
                To the Far East – via Aden, Trincomalee
                Took 16 weeks coming back on Vivid
     24’ 50    Selene again – didn’t see any action but felt it!
                 Ramming junks.
     25’ 30    Recalling being Guns crew on Thasher and Vivid – opening hatch under water - etc
     27’ 00    Recalling cooking on a submarine – no fridges – no space – red lighting – ditching slops – roast Sunday lunch always – an
                 early (unapproved    ) deep fat frier made by tiffs from a metal sink –  
    32’ 00    going ashore in Trincomalee/coal ships/ depot ships/plantations
    33’ 45    going ashore in Candy – fishermen – scrumping mangoes & wasp nests
    36’ 00    moved to Vivid – to go to Australia to train RAN but bomb was dropped             &broke out so Vivid sent home
    36’ 30     Comparing SM time to surface ships as a way of life.