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The End of Hostilities

The ‘Instrument of Surrender’ that concluded World War 2 was signed at Reims at 02:41 Central European Time (CET) on 7 May 1945. The signing took place in a red brick schoolhouse, the Collège Moderne et Technique de Reims which served as the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. It was to take effect at 23:01 (one minute after midnight BST) on…

HMS Collingwood Intake
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HMS Collingwood

According to the landowner, it was ‘the finest bit of corn land in the south of England‘. Locals would call it the best snipe marsh in the country. It was certainly boggy and sea boots were compulsory wear for trainees who strayed from the paths. HMS Collingwood opened in January 1940. Built on 190 acres of marshy Hampshire…

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 31: a general view of the Arctic Star medal awarded to Edwin Leadbetter, 92, from Glasgow
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One Degree of Separation

A hero of the Arctic convoys in World War II who missed out on a medal because he was one degree too far south is finally to get his award. Edwin Leadbetter, 92, was outraged he did not get the Arctic Star and the prestigious Ushakov Medal for his services to Russia in the dangerous…

Bob Champion, who has now received the Arctic Star Picture: DAVID FERGUSON (18079306) Read more at http://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2017/04/29/honour-for-island-arctic-convoy-hero/#0lYJtmHR3DA5YO72.99
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Honour for Arctic Convoy Hero

THE heroism of an Islander who took part in the perilous Arctic Convoy missions of the Second World War was celebrated yesterday at a reception held in his honour. Bob Champion (93) was the leading torpedo operator on HMS Kent, which took part in the Arctic Convoys – missions north of the Arctic Circle to…

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Sparrows Nest

I often wondered why we went on holiday to Lowestoft. It was such a long way from Cumbria by car. Now it all made sense. Dad’s service number was JX272920 LT. J 272920 meant Communications Branch. The X, he was employed on a pay scale introduced in the 1930’s. The LT was for Lowestoft. The…

HMT Tranquil
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HMT Tranquil

Whilst training at Western Isles Signalman Brooks briefly joined HMT Tranquil (FY 920) from 23rd April 1942 to 29th April 1942 under command of Temporary Lieutenant William Postlethwaite, RNR. Launched in 1912 as the Good Luck (1497), HMT Tranquil was a converted minesweeping trawler, one of many requisitioned by the admiralty in 1939. On 2nd November 1940, T/ Ltnt. William…

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HMS Windermere

For the next 14 months (26 July 1942 until 11 October 1943) Signalman Brooks served under Skipper Jack Mawer RNR aboard HMS Windermere (FY 207.) Windermere belonged to the Lake Class of anti-submarine whaler. There were six in the class, originally designed and built as commercial whalers but taken over by the Admiralty midway through…

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HMT Celia

Hostilities Only Signalman Brooks would see out the remaining months of the war on the minesweeping trawler HMT Celia (T134). Aside from brief spells attached to the trawler depot ship HMS Marshall Salt and five days back at Sparrow’s Nest, HMT Celia was home from June 28th 1944 until February 11th 1946. Celia was one of 12 ships of the Shakespeare…

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HMS Ephretah

Also known as HMS Ephreta, the Admiralty Steam Drifter Ephretah was built at Oulton Broad, Lowestoft in 1918 named ‘Quicksand’. She was one of the many pre-war trawlers requisitioned by The Admiralty for minesweeper or anti-submarine work. The trawler, though not an ideal anti-submarine craft, was a cheap and accessible resource for that duty. The guns they could mount…

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The Photographers of WW2

Two civilian pressmen were among the photographers called up to witness the British Expeditionary Force in 1939 and 1940. When the Second World War broke out in September 1939, just one Army photographer, Geoffrey Keating, and one cameraman, Harry Rignold, accompanied the British Expeditionary Force to France. On 24 October 1941, the Army agreed to…

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