POSTPONED-CPL Hunter VC- 75th Anniversary event Italy
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Bobby is one of the founding members of the London RMA. Canada branch, becoming only the 2nd member to reach that milestone after Charlie Griffith PO\92, who lived to 102,
A “Blue Marine” for most of his active service. Bobby joined HMS Naiad, doing patrols in the North Atlantic. Later on, it was off to the Mediterranean to join the 15th Cruiser Sqdn. There it was torpedoed by a German U-boat on the 11th. March 1942. The ships crew were ordered to abandon ship, which he did with a buddy and was adrift for several hours before being rescued. Arms and legs were numb from the cold water and eighty-three of his shipmates were lost.
His next ship was HMS Valiant which was mined by Italian frogmen, during a refit in dry dock in Alexandria. Years later, Bobby upon meeting with the Duke of Edinburgh, who was a Midshipman aboard the Valiant, said it was blown up, to which the Duke replied “yes, but it only went down 10 feet.”
He was then transferred to the New Zealand Navy, who were in need of personnel and assigned to HMNZS Gambia. He was on board when they entered Tokyo harbour when the surrender of Japan was signed - on his birthday September 2nd.
Prior to this, the Gambia and the rest of the Allied fleet were ordered to back away some 400 miles (640 K’s). Something was up, but nobody knew what. August 6th. 1945 was when the first atomic bomb landed on Hiroshima.
He is one of a few that received seven medal’s bearing stars. The 39-45 War medal, Atlantic, Pacific, Artic, African, Italian, and the joint Burma/Pacific medals. As well as the Russian and New Zealand service medals.
The London Branch of the RMA actually took Bobby to the Russian Embassy in Toronto to receive his medal and was toasted with Vodka by the Ambassador and branch members.
After the war Bobby went ashore in Japan to help bring back Allied prisoners-of-war from the camp just outside of Kobe. The city was lovely but the camp was awful.
When asked what his secret of living to a 100 – his reply was - “a good shot of single malt every night “.
He emigrated to Canada after the war where he met his sweetheart – a lovely lady – Jessie Bruce, got married and moved to London in 1949. They had two boys Bruce and Jim.