#52ancestors: Luck

HMS Lundy, G. Wiseman

Basil Jolliffe (1926-2003) joined the Royal Navy in February 1942, straight from the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook. He was 16 years old. On May 1943, he joined H.M.S. Ramillies, which was heavily involved in the D-Day landings. On August 1944, he was specially rated to Ordinary Seaman.

Basil Jolliffe (1926-2003)

Surviving D-Day age 17 is lucky in itself but there was more. Like many people of his generation, he didn’t talk about his wartime service. One of the few stories he told was about his time on H.M.S. Lundy.

Basil served on the Lundy between June 1946 and January 1947. The ship was involved in wreckage clearance around the English coast. One day, Basil was due to go out on a cutter to attach explosives to a wreck. A friend asked him to swap duties, which he did. I’ll let the Times article fill in the gaps.

The Times, Wednesday 6 November 1946

In his book, The Goodwin Sands (1953), George Goldsmith Carter describes the aftermath.

The Goodwin Sands (1953) CARTER, George Goldsmith, London: Constable & Co. pp. 126-127

During lock-down, I found the watercolour of H.M.S. Lundy at the top of this post among Basil’s papers. I’ve had it reframed and it now takes pride of place in our hall, as a reminder of a brave and incredibly lucky man.

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