Bravery

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by TranterUK, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    The bravest thing I ever heard about had nothing to do with killing the enemy, charging forward or anything like that. It was a Royal Navy sailor in WW2 on the Atlantic Convoys, where my late father in law served.

    As you may know, convoys sailed quickly and in formation to avoid as much as possible torpedo attack. When a ship went down, the men in the water were often on their own. To stop or turn a ship for a rescue would be to invite its own destruction.

    On this occasion as ship sailed pass some survivors in the sea, men who knew no one could stop to pick them up, one man in the water with his arm held up was heard shouting 'TAXI, TAXI'.
  2. Well, if it was a London taxi he was thinking of, it must have been painted black, Tranter. :D;)

    Seriously, that is a relatively little known aspect of the Battle of the Atlantic, and indeed a tragic one. The ships simply couldn't stop to rescue survivors in most cases because it made them sitting ducks for the U-boats and was forbidden. Getting sunk was often essentially a death warrant unless the survivors got very, very lucky indeed. Survival in the waters of the North Atlantic for a man in a life jacket was usually only a matter of minutes anyway due to the cold. On the Murmansk convoys it was even shorter.
  3. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    My father in law, Stanley, was a survivor. He spent many hours in the sea watching ship mates die and slip away into the icy water. It even happend to him twice.

    On one occasion my wife and I took him on a visit to a Royal Navy Destroyer. He was reduced to tears and was so distressed I drew it to the attention of some of the crew and asked if he might have some privacy. They were excellent fellows and took him away immediately. He re appeared an hour later with a big smile, several new
    friends and quite drunk!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2008
  4. One thing you Brits are certainly more rational about, Tranter, is that the Royal Navy is still "wet," unlike its American counterpart! :D The grog ration was a part of the Royal Navy for centuries. I don't know if it is still issued, but I do understand liquor is still allowed on British Naval vessels, at least for the officers.
  5. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    Yes Pistol still 'wet' with beer. Apparently the daily measure of Rum went out in 1970, after lasting 300 years. Puts history in perspective. :)

    In the Korean war the US Army was dry, while ours was not.

    I knew an old Scottish soldier who told me how when in Korea he traded a bottle of scotch with a US Soldier for a .45 1911, with ammo. Later while holding a hill against thousands of Chinese his rifle jammed and as an enemy soldier came to his position and went to shoot, he grabbed the pistol and dispatched him. Now that was worth a bottle of Scotch. :)
  6. Worth a bottle of Glenmorangie 18 even! :D;)
  7. Tom Militano

    Tom Militano New Member

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    Or Glenfiddich!
  8. 44-40 Willy

    44-40 Willy New Member

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    I did an exchange tour with the Belgian Navy back in the 80s and they were wet too. Pretty much a 2 year long party for me.