CIS Troop, 8 Engineer Brigade held an Army Forces Veterans event at SERFCA HQ’s Seely House in Aldershot.
The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and the Royal Engineers were showcasing some of their current operational equipment, giving Veterans the opportunity to see how the units have developed and progressed.
Corresponding with VE Day, Veterans met with both Regular and Reserve Soldiers to share their War Time experiences. A number of Veterans spoke of what they had encountered during the D-Day landings and what equipment they had to use, compared to what is available serving personnel today.
On his 18th birthday, Lewis Trinder volunteered to sign up and following seven weeks training, was deployed on Atlantic Convoys to protect merchant ships from German submarines.
Lewis served on HMS Magpie, escorting Arctic convoys to Murmansk and on 4th June 1944 his ship left the Solent to travel to D-Day which was the largest seaborne invasion in history that launched the Allied invasion of Western Europe. Mr Trinder recalled that D-Day should have been on the 5th June but the ship was forced to turn around due to bad weather.
Lewis was a Seaman Petty Officer aboard on HMS Opossum when it traveled to Asia in 1945 and was demobilised with 5,000 others from Hong Kong in September 1946.
Fred Lee was just 17 when he volunteered for the Royal Navy in 1943. As his three brothers were already enlisted, his mother was reluctant to give permission, but Fred was keen to enrol and began training on a newly-built river class frigate, HMS Nith.
In February 1944, the vessel failed its sea trials and was converted into a brigade headquarters ship. The Nith was to be based at Normandy acting as headquarters for the 231st Infantry Brigade, which was to land on Gold Beach.
Fred was an apprentice boiler maker prior to the Royal Navy and wanted to take up the role of a stoker but was unable to because he was not yet 18, so was given the position of an telegraph operative instead. Still keen to become a stoker, with a little help from the Padre, Fred’s CO agreed he could transfer into a Stoker Position given his previous experience.
Unfortunately, The Nith was struck by a Mistel (the German remotely guided weapon) which involved two aircraft which flew attached to each other. After repairs, HMS Nith sailed to the Far East and was at Rangoon at the time of the Japanese surrender, Fred was demobilised in 1947 and he returned to marry Joyce and raise three children.