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Photograph of Jimmy Harris

Jimmy Harris

Jimmy belongs to: Royal British Legion Seaman's Mess

Jimmy was born in Dulwich in London. Jimmy served in both the Royal Navy and merchant navy. He was on the Ashanti when it ran aground at Whitburn in 1940.

Jimmy was interviewed by Kylea Little on 22 November 2005. The interview took place at South Shields Royal British Legion and lasted 43 minutes and 54 seconds.

Photograph of Jimmy Harris
Photograph of Jimmy Harris

Water rations in the Royal Navy

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"When you were on a run like the Russian one, when you were going up there, you got one bucket of water per day, between the mess"

When you were on a run like the Russian one, when you were going up there, you got one bucket of water per day, between the mess. Now there were 16 of us in our mess. Most of the messes had 16 men in, and you had a bucket of water between 16 men. That was for washing purposes. The only other water you got was for making tea and cooking. Everything else had to be used on the boilers, because once you flashed up the third boiler, if you flashed up the third boiler when you were going full speed, you had no water, no water at all. And you used to make the tea out of the same water you cooked your spuds in.

Interviewer- Really?

Yeah, you had a big tank of water in the galley you see which was kept boiling and there was a tray on the top, there was a cavity on the top of this tank of boiling water, so you used to put your potatoes in. You’d peel them and put them in a net, what they called a spudnet and then you put your spudnet in the top of the tank and maybe you had carrots, you put the carrots, you’d peel them- that’s if you were doing well, if you still had carrots, you know. You used to put them in the top- all the veg went in the top of the tank. And of course they were done by the steam of the boiling water.

And then you had a tap on the side of the tank to make the tea- the same water that you were cooking in to make the tea. So everything was different nothing tasted the same as it did ashore- nothing.

And then your water-even your water was like distilled- it wasn’t ordinary water. It was seawater that had been condensed, you know. So it was lovely for getting washed, it was lovely and soft, you know.

Jimmy has 13 memories in the memorynet:

This memory has these themes:
Living Conditions | Wartime | Work

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