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HMS Birmingham in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

The Wartime Memories Project

- HMS Birmingham during the Second World War -


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HMS Birmingham




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Those known to have sailed in

HMS Birmingham

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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Sig. Bernard Frank Botting HMS Birmingham

My father Bernard Botting died way back in 1978 and I never got the chance to write down any stories that he told. He did, however, secretly keep a diary - which I still possess.

One of his best friends on board was a seaman with whom he kept in contact after the war. I only knew him by his ship nickname of Sweeney - he was, of course, the ship's barber. I know that in 'civvie street' Sweeney worked at Buxton railway station in Derbyshire.

I know that, whilst near India, he and another member of the crew wrangled one of the petty officers (chief probably) enough for him to transfer them to a hulk in the bay off Bombay (in 1942?). The petty officer viewed it as a punishment but they actually had a great time! The hulk was used to transfer cargo from larger ships and was then transported into Bombay on some sort of landing craft. In quiet times they raced these craft! Plenty of warmth and sun, few storms, a lot of free time and no risk of being attacked - what was there not to like?

The only incident of consequence there happened at one Christmas when he and another crew member went some distance in a small boat which somehow overturned. They had no communication with the ship and the ship did not know their whereabouts so they had to swim many miles to return. My father was a strong swimmer and could float well in order to rest. The other chap was not so strong and my father had to assist him back. It was a near run thing as to whether they got back or not. When hauled back on board they could not even stand up. He was only about 22.

Kevin Botting







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