This video is part 1 of a 3 hour DVD by Royal Naval historian Roland R Smith. From around 40 mins in there is terrific footage of HMS Wager as she approaches the camera ship on fleet business, and noses the carrier’s stern.
If you watch from about 38 mins, there is wonderful footage filmed from the Duke of York, with Whelp and Wager following.
Footage showing Corsairs and Avengers (with some intercut footage of Fireflies from other carriers) from HMS Illustrious operating as part of the British Pacific Fleet off Sakishima Gunto in 1945. HMS Illustrious’ aircraft can be recognised by the ‘Q’ on their tails.
The British Pacific Fleet in action, with wonderful footage of HMS Wager (D30) seen coming alongside (from about 50 seconds in).
HMS Wager was launched on Monday 1st November 1943. Since then 70 years have passed.
The attached document lists this and other upcoming 70th anniversaries linked to HMS Wager.
While HMS Wager and the 27th Destroyer Flotilla were not awarded the Battle Honour NORMANDY 1944 the destroyer, with many other units of the Home Fleet, were at sea in home waters. The Home Fleet was required to be available to intercept any enemy ship interference during the allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE).
Some 6,000 ships, from battleships to landing craft and fast patrol boats were involved on D Day, landing some 130,000 troops on the five beaches.
That maritime losses on that day, and in the ensuing weeks, were relatively light is, of course, in part owing to the outer screen provided tens and hundreds of miles away from the Normandy coast.
Let’s remember them today.
In July, HMS Wager sailed for the Far East to play a part in the war with Japan. She was at Gibraltar by early August.
Lester May writes:
The strange drinking hours Down Under in 1945 are recorded here (search for ‘Fleet Canteen’) – I remember Dad (Able Seaman (LTO) Wally May) saying that, not only was Sydney on the upside down part of the earth but the bars closed when ours opened and it was the first time he’d seen upside down (drop) handlebars on a bicycle.
So it was all upside down!