University of Oxford
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My parents' bombed house

online resource
posted on 2024-06-12, 14:17 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

The contributor's father served on a ship. Their parents' house was bombed and destroyed during the war in 1944.


Item list and details

1. Deferment paper - My father was an apprentice at shipwright Camper and Nicholsons during WW2. His call up for service was deferred to allow him to complete his apprenticeship when requested by his employer.  2. Drake's ships - Whilst at Camper and Nicholsons my father and his colleagues worked on Drakes Ships, which were built there circa 1940-41 and were subsequently used in the war effort to run vital supplies from Sweden to the UK. The cutting from the Daily Express, circa late 1944, tells how the ships were 'regularly dashing through the German mines and patrols in the Skagerrak loaded with vital war supplies'. The small fleet of 'pocket freighters' were unarmed and had powerful Diesel engines and were crewed mainly by Hull fisherman. The cutting states only three people in Sweden knew of these daring operations and shows one ship, the Gay Viking and her Captain, H. Whitfield.  3. Photo of Gosport Ferry Boat - the Ferry Belle. - This shows the ferry at Spithead during the war. My father's father and grandfather were mate and Captain of the ferry, which also carried a detachment of Royal Marines on Special Examination Duties. The marines used to board ships and carry out searches. 4. Drawings by soldiers - my mother lived near Hardway during the war and many soldiers were billeted there before they left for the D-Day landings. As a young girl, my mother took an exercise book and collected autographs from the soldiers, many of whom would never return. Some of these were simple thanks to the people of Gosport, others were cartoon drawings. She kept this book intact until her death. 5. A photograph of the bombed house - this photograph shows the remains of my father's family home following a bombing raid on 22 May 1944. It was situated in Church Path and can only be recognised by the fireplace which was in the front room and wallpaper which was on the hall wall. The family dog, Peter, sheltered under the dining room table and was subsequently dug out of the rubble unharmed!

Person who shared the story/items


Type of submission

Shared at Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport, Hampshire on 27 October 2023.

Record ID

114458 | GOS012