Mervyn Salter – Film 1Mervyn joined the Royal Navy in 1942 aged 18. He served as an Able Seaman Anti-Aircraft Gunner and did his training at HMS Raleigh and HMS Drake. His first draft was to HMS Saumarez an S class destroyer and in this first film he provides some interesting detail about his mess and life onboard.
Mervyn Salter – Film 2On his first voyage the Saumarez escorts the Queen Mary [with Winston Churchill onboard] to Canada. At least that was the plan. A tremendous storm batters the ship and shes left in the wake of the QM. Mervyn then gets his first taste of warfare when the Saumarez heads to Norway to find Germany's Heavy Cruiser, the Admiral Hipper.
Mervyn Salter – Film 3Its still quite evident that Mervyn found the Arctic convoys very tough. In this film he talks in detail about what he experienced onboard.
Mervyn Salter – Film 4Mervyns action station was on the Oerlikon Gun. He talks about his role there and then moves on to December 1943 when the Saumerez is on Convoy JW54B. In heavy seas they give chase to the German battle ship the Scharnhorst. Its a brilliant account.
Mervyn Salter – Film 5Mervyn provides more detail about the battle with the Scharnhorst. The Director Control Tower is hit by a shell and kills eleven men and puts the tower and the ship out of action. He goes on to talk about his ship mates burial at sea.
Mervyn Salter – Film 6After repairs the Saumarez is sent to the English channel and provides artillery support on the 6th of June. its an occasion he finds hard to describe. In late 1944 the Saumarez its all change. The ship gets a new skipper and is promoted to Flotilla Leader. Then she sails for the Pacific where a new ocean provides a new enemy.
Mervyn Salter – Film 7Its hard to imagine what the Japanese were like as enemy but Mervyn witnesses their fanaticism first hand when they sink a ship and the surviving sailors prefer the sharks over the ship. Its also incredible to hear about the Japanese sex slaves who were also onboard. Although their new skipper kept the crew on their toes he also took risks. In one very close call the Saumerez avoids a serious mishap but HMS Rapid is less fortunate.
Mervyn Salter – Film 8HMS Saumarez returns to Trincomalee before joining the main fleet and engaging the Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro. Again she is damaged in the battle and on their return to harbour they hear the the war has ended. One of his final memories on board the ship is to escort the fleet into Singapore. Its an image and a feeling that has stayed with Mervyn forever.
Mervyn Salter – Film 9Mervyn reflects on his naval service. Although he never knew Captain Manley Power he reckons he was a quality leader. Even as they returned to the United Kingdom they were still doing night exercises to keep the crew on their toes. He went on to be Admiral of the Dockyard at Potsmouth. In October 1946 the Saumarez was sunk when she hit a mine in the Medri channel off of Corfu. A sad demise to a great ship. Thanks for telling us about her Mervyn. Much appreciated.