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John Francis Elton Watkins
Served in the Royal navy from 1940- 1949.
1939. Educated at University of Aberstwyth, Wales.
1940. Joined Royal navy as a Ordinary seaman.
1941. (January) Commissioned to Sub Lieutenant. Royal Naval reserve.
1943. Promoted to Lieutenant.
1949. Rejoined and graduated B.Sc (Agric) June 1952.
War Duties: Gunnery and executive Officer serving in various Cruisers including HMS Devonshire. Operating in the Atlantic, Arctic, Indian Ocean and Mediterranean.
Ships Company of HMS Devonshire. The exact date and locatinon is not known but could possibly be at the time of the repatriation of the King Of Norway or when he was taken from Norway to the UK. As it it looks as though the Royal Norwegian flag is flying from the mast head.
Crossing the Line Ceremony.
Possibly in the Indian Ocean.
At Reykjavik in Iceland.
”Nice day for stroll, ‘ol chap!”
Photo: J F Watkins, The Padre and a Canadian Engineer Officer
On the Mess Deck HMS Devonshire 1942
In the Mess
Note the Rum Fanny hanging from the end of the mess table and the non slip area for the tot glasses!
Looks like this was situated in the bows of the ship. Note the bolted and probably wealded up port hole! Maybe it is the stern end?
John Watkins at Norfolk Virginia. circa 1944.
Photo: Palomar Club. L to R, Irvine,” Butch” Gill, John W & “Butch” Hall.
“War, wot war“!!!! At last a time to relax.
Where’s all the snow?
“OK! Who’s stole my ship?”
“If they train (turn) that eight inch gun now, I’m in trouble”!
“Ah! This is a safer position”!
No details as yet on this photo.
….and give your best mate a good hiding!
Possibly preparing for Sunday church
Please excuse the damaged photo, but it has survived more than sixty years!
Lorna, Johns daughter, has this to say:
The quarter deck games : buckets held potatoes and lads having a race – dad supervising. Dad says, “they took whatever fun they could get, needed exercise if been on watch or sitting in cabin – 4 hours per watch and Guns crew changed every 4 hours, 1st watch 8-12, 2nd watch 12-4 and 3rd watch 4-6. Then had 2 hour ones. Only Ratings on watch. Officers also on watch but on bridge.”
Owned by Chargeurs Reunis, 1940-45 served with Free French, 1946 returned to owners. 1953 scrapped. This photo taken whilst in a convoy, escorted by Devonshire from the Cape to Aden. She had a very active war career:
The Cap Tourane was an ex French liner and used as a depot ship for the Normandy Landings( D-Day) She took up position off Sword Beach on June 8th, to become rendezvous point for changing crews of LST and Landing Craft.
The Cap Tourane departed Tilbury at 0600 hours on the morning of June 7th sailing in Convoy ETM 2 for service at Gooseberry 5 (Sword beach area, sheltered by the sunken ‘blockships’ Becheville, Belgique, Elswick Park, Empire Defiance, Empire Tamar and Empire Tana.) She was later damaged by gunfire on June 22nd and the 25th and later moved to Gold beach area on June 29th
“I’ve put my ear plugs in…just in case!”
This photo was probably at Copenhagen after the German surrender in May 1945. The ship may be HMS Birmingham. On 6th May 1945 Birmingham accepted surrender of German warships PRINZ EUGEN and NURNBERG. 13th May 1945 Relieved by HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE and returned to Scapa Flow.
Ships may be Birmingham with Dido Or Diadem forward. What looks like a escort destoye,r is berthed outboard of the forward ships with a penant number of D45? Help on this one please. ( it may be a Norwegian ship!)
MANY thanks to:
Lorna Watkins-Dooley for submitting all of the above photo’s that were taken during her fathers time in HMS Devonshire.
See also The Liberation of Denmark