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Jeffery, Edwin D/JX3585116

Town :
Regiment : H.M.S. Royal Navy
Landed in Normandy : Escorted ships on D-day
Jeffery, Edwin D/JX3585116

I was born on 24.2.1923 in Mousehole Cornwall.
When the Second World War began on 3rd September 1939 I was 16 years and seven months old. On reaching the age of 18 yrs in 1941 I received notice for me to attend an examination of health etc: enclosed a railway warrant to report to the exam centre in Manamead Plymouth .This done I discovered I had passed A1 and to wait for call up .
In the meantime I enrolled in the local Home Guard issued with a uniform and carried out night patrols along the cliffs and countryside. After a further period of time elapsed I had a further notice plus a railway warrant to report to HMS  Royal Arther in Skegness. This done and I was enlisted in the Royal Navy .
With my class about 26 or so of us Rookies under the charge of CPO Long. Many exercises and examinations were performed and after a couple of months .I was sent to N.London to start training as a W/T operator , more months passed and I was successfully pass and sent on to Scotland to HMS Scotia. Further training and W/T work was carried out under Royal Navy personel and a thorough examination after some months I was given a Pass A1H .
I then travelled back to Devonport Plymouth HMS Drake to wait for a further draft .When I [we] arrived at HMS Drake we were informed that the Luftwaffe had visited and blown away the communications department so we had to sleep in our hammocks on the deck.
After a short stay at HMS Drake I along with a ships company of over 100 persons of all branches were told to report to the parade ground the following morning to be sent by train to Portsmouth to join a seafaring ship which had been in Dock for an overhaul new fitting of Radar HFDF wireless equipment.a boiler taken out and extra fuel tank put in to give the ship a longer stay at sea and become a long range escort ship.
With all this completed and passed by the dockyard at last we were off to sea . Our first visit was Devonport Plymouth. Then on to Liverpool to join the B6 Escort Group .The senior officer was on HMS Fame. We were soon on our way down the Mersey and out on the high seas Irish channel. And out into the Atlantic escorting anthiong from 50 plus merchant ships, next stop [hopefully] Canada .Halifax Nova Scotia.
This journey completed we were granted a few days rest and to store the ship for our return back to the UK.  This operation repeated itself on a regular basis and some convoys where Lucky , but mostly each one had its own setbacks fighting U Boats or dodging them .Suffering horrendous weather so rough at times that even the U Boats would not come on the surface ., the waves [sea] would be Huge one minute we would be on the top of a wave the next Deep in a trough. I remember one night about midnight our HFDF watch keepers reported a U Boat a mile or two ahead of our convoy and he was signaling by radio to the rest of his group that he had contact with a convoy time and distance and all , we immediately accompanied HMS Duncan to intercept this and drive him down , this was done and he stayed underwater and the convoy passed just two destroyers chased the U boat all night dropping depth charges but had no success in the meantime an aircraft was summoned, and at first sight  the U Boat sufaced for air and was attacked and after shooting the aircraft down and killing some of the airmen another aircraft sank this U boat 844 and no survivors were reported , this was only one of many incidents I could report.
We escorted convoys from the Uk to Normandy and on the 6th June 1944 and despite of many near misses we survived in Gods Good Grace.
One morning returning from Normandy on June 13th 1944.we were Lucky to avoid Disaster. A torpedo carrying enemy aircraft attacked HMS Boedicia near us and sank her almost immediately with the loss of 160 crew. We managed to collect a dozen or so survivors / crewmen and took them to Portland .Before we returned to Milford Haven to await another convoy.
I had an elder brother he was serving on HMS Blackwoodand on the same run Milford Haven to Normandy .Unfortunatly HMS Blackwood although a fairly new ship , she was torpedoed in the English Channel. About the same time as the sinking of HMS Bodicia , my brother was lucky and survived that.
I remember one evening in the English channel near Brighton we were attacked by  U boats , they were laying mines .We had a shootin match and we were successful in sinking S112 .
Also whilst escorting a convoy in the Atlantic convoy ONA265 /47035N10*33W we HMS Vanquisher and HMS Tintagle Castle contacted U boat 1878 and sank her with depth charges , no survivors.
After VE Day I was sent to HMS Drake Devonport and they sent me to Scotland Cambelltown to RNAS Machrihanish and from there I was discharged in May 1946
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Edwin Jeffery was presented the Normandy medal  in front of the Arromanches museum by Colonel Legout, June 6 2012.

 

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