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Gordon, Ian - Coder

Town : Alverstone
Regiment : Royal Navy
Landed in Normandy :
Ian Gordon, of Alverstone, joined the Royal Navy in July 1943, shortly after his 18th birthday. "At the beginning of June 1944 we left the Beaulieu River to join the frigate H.M S. Lawford lying in Cowes Roads amid a big concentration of ships and landing craft of all decriptions," he recalls. Lawford was headquarters ship for Assault Group 1, Force 1. "We weighed anchor at about 2100 on June 5th and slipped out through the Spithead Channel to lead our flotilla of assault landing craft south for Normandy, battle ensign streaming. "Later that evening we gathered in the wireless office where our group signals officer unrolled a chart of the Normandy coast. He described the general plan for the invasion -- our first official intimation that this was the real thing. Our group was the land the Canadians on Juno Beach." "Lawford" never came back. "She' s still there, lying some 30 metres deep off Arromanches with 26 of my shipmates who didn't make it when she was bombed and sunk by enemy aircraft in the early hours of June 8th when coming to anchor off Gold Beach. "After the initial assault on Juno at H-Hour on D-Day, our group senior officer Captain AF. Pugsley RN. had been given a new role as captain (patrols), protecting the anchorage. "I was off watch and fast asleep in the after mess deck when two 500lb bombs struck us amidships. "Up on deck I could see that some men were already in the water, no doubt having been blown there by the explosion. The ship was listing severely to starboard. A group of us on the quarterdeck were ordered to make out way to the forecastle, which we did, but there was clearly nothing we could do to save the ship. "Another lurch to starboard and I heard a voice on the bridge immediately above us:" She's going , Sir" Then came the order to abandon ship. "I don't know how long Our small group were in the water clinging to a rolled-up scrambling net; probably about an hour before we were picked up by the minesweeper H.M.S. Pique. "Wrapped in blankets and warmed by a tot of neat rum we were transferred to the cruiser H.MS. Scylla where Admiral Vian promptly ordered Captain Pugsley to fmd himself another ship and get back to the Normandy coast a.s.a.p. Where he went, we -- his group signals personnel--had to go. So after returning to Portsmouth in the cruiser H.M.S. Frobisher for rekitting and then a few days' home leave, back we went in the frigate H.MS. Waveney for a further two weeks of operations. Ian Gordon was lucky enough to survive a second sinking later the same year while serving in a Norwegian corvette on a special mission in Arctic waters. He and his wife Joan moved to the Islands from Cheshire in 1987. He worked as a reporter for the County Press for three years before retiring for the third and final time in 1991.
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