Doug belongs to: Royal British Legion Seaman's Mess
Doug was born in South Shields in 1919. He joined the merchant navy at 15 with great ideas of adventure. During World War Two Bill was in the Arctic convoys and at the D-Day landings dropping off armaments.
Doug was interviewed by Kylea Little on 15 November 2005. The interview took place at South Shields Royal British Legion and lasted 55 minutes and 5 seconds.
The Russia convoys part one
"I went with Empire Portia in 1942, January we were up in Murmansk, and on the way there the convoy was attacked by German bombers"
I went with Empire Portia in 1942, January we were up in Murmansk, and on the way there the convoy was attacked by German bombers but we had good naval escorts- the Russian escort had come out to meet the convoy and they dropped the bombs but none of the ships were hit. One of the German, there was three German bombers which apparently came from north, northern Norway, which was quite close. And one of the German bombers was hit out of the three but they missed all the ships because the flak that the ships were putting up was very severe and putting the pilots off course. And of course the weather, the weather conditions helped too, because it was very murky weather at the time so the visibility wasnít perfect for the German bombers, added to fact they had so much flak they couldnít do their job properly. One of them got hit but he didnít crash into the sea. He was on fire when he left, they flew away and we got into Murmansk harbour safely.
From there, Murmansk was a very bleak place. It was very cold naturally at the time of the year, and conditions were quite harsh in Murmansk for the people. Because all the younger men folk were away, the only males were old men or school boys in Murmansk. There was nothing there really, in the way of social life- just work, work, work for the Russians. And they were very anxious to get anything they could from us, for food wise; bars of chocolate, cigarettes, bread. They were willing to give anything to get food. Which we gave them whatever we could spare. But it was while we were in Murmansk we discharged the cargo and loaded timber and cotton to come back.
And we left the harbour itself, went down river to a fjord where we dropped anchor to prepare to join the convoy the next morning. And in the morning we were busy on, the deck hands were busy on deck putting the tarpaulins over the hatches and securing storm battens for the rough voyage home in January. When the German bomber came over, swooped down on the ship and hit the ship.
Doug has 20 memories in the memorynet:
Doug's memories with a Travel theme:
- Swimming with sharks
- Dorothy Irons
- Joan Horsbourgh
- The Spanish Civil War
- The Russia convoys part one
- The Russia convoys part two
- Continuous Certificate of Discharge
- Port Saint John
- In a Calcutta Park
- I Sailed the World with 30 Men by Joan Horsburgh
Doug's other memories: