First Hand Tales of the Second World War

Date: 
Friday, 23 June 2017

A World War II Navy Veteran held Year 7 pupils spellbound with his experiences of serving during the war when he visited Biddenham School this week.  Fred Rose, 95, was originally from London but now lives in Bedford.  He was conscripted into the Navy in 1939 when he was just 19 years old and fought for the whole duration of the war.

The students were fascinated to hear about his life aboard the ships he served on including HMS London, HMS Viceroy and HMS Cawsand Bay.  On the HMS London he worked decoding radio messages, on the HMS Viceroy he was the Navigator's Yeoman (he helped the navigator with maps) and on the HMS Cawsand Bay he was the Special Security Duty Man and oversaw the securing of German U-Boats.

Fred told the students “ The ships also escorted convoys and troops to various places including Iceland, Malta and Tripoli in Libya.  Being on a convoy ship was dangerous. You had to dodge German planes, submarines and ships and outwit them at all times in order to stay alive. Not everyone did.”

After the war he worked as a civil servant while waiting for a placement at a teacher training college. Afterwards he became a primary school teacher.

Ree Ann Vaughn, Head of History was delighted to welcome Fred to the school.  “This was an amazing experience for our students to be able to hear first hand what it was like to serve in the Navy during WWII.  It really brought history to life for them and I am sure that they will remember meeting Fred Rose for many years to come.”