- Taylor, Buck, Lt.
- Biographies and personal histories, WWII operations, History - WW2
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- June 2004 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Liverpool was our permanent base and it was here that the first person to take an interest in how I was doing my job turned out to be a Supply Warrant Officer who, on spotting the old orange boxes full of unentered requisition notes, proceeded to inform me in no uncertain terms that he had his eye on me and promised me that we would meet again the next time we were in port. This encouraged me to work all day and in all weathers to get things looking a little less like a Midshipman’s ditty-box – everything on top and nothing handy.
We had one of the early very primitive radar sets, enclosed in a sort of opaque greenhouse secured to the mainmast. My Action Station was on the plot, which was in the charthouse, next to the wheelhouse under the bridge. We had a gyro compass of course, but no gyro repeaters, so running the plot involved constant shouts to the wheelhouse for – Ship’s Head? – Revs? On one occasion we were closed up at Action Stations having picked up an echo on the radar, which proved to be a U-boat on the surface stalking the convoy. The captain decided to ram at full speed and it all got very hectic and exciting. I was constantly yelling into the wheelhouse for ship’s head and revolutions until the Cox’n on the wheel got very rude and personal. Shortly afterwards there was an almighty thud and ‘Stop Engines’. The U-boat drifted down the port side, illuminated by searchlights, and sank stern upwards in a hail of pom pom and 4″.
I had to prepare a list of all the items ‘lost’ in the fwd storeroom which the Captain signed as lost in action – and from then on my books were absolutely 100% accurate and I could apply for a transfer to the Executive Branch with a clear conscience.