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Photograph of Jimmy Harris

Jimmy Harris

Jimmy belongs to: Royal British Legion Seaman's Mess

Jimmy was born in Dulwich in London. Jimmy served in both the Royal Navy and merchant navy. He was on the Ashanti when it ran aground at Whitburn in 1940.

Jimmy was interviewed by Kylea Little on 22 November 2005. The interview took place at South Shields Royal British Legion and lasted 43 minutes and 54 seconds.

Photograph of Jimmy Harris
Photograph of Jimmy Harris

Wartime experiences in the Royal Navy

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"And then I joined HMS Ashanti, a Destroyer"

And then I joined HMS Ashanti, a Destroyer. I left her in Devonport and I joined the Ashanti. And we were on anti-submarine patrols etc etc you know, that sort of thing. And then the Germans invaded Norway so we went across to Norway and we were in several battles over there.

And I was wounded- I got wounded there and I was transferred to a hospital ship, HMS Amarapura and I was in hospital for about three months, so I was in hospital…I came out of hospital and I was on sick leave for a while and then I rejoined the Ashanti. And I was on the Ashanti then until she ran aground at Whitburn.

That was October, October 1940, and that was where I met my lass and then I went through the, I had my 18th birthday just after that so I got made ordinary seaman from a boy and they put me through for a torpedo man so I went through the torpedo school, came from the torpedo school, I got married and by then the Ashanti was repaired, I rejoined the Ashanti and I was in her then until the end of 1942.

While I was in her we did convoys to Russia, was in a big raid on the Lofoten Islands. We took over the Lofoten Islands for a few days and we brought back, anybody who wanted to come back to England, we brought them back, Norwegians. Then our main job was going up to Russia, convoys to Russia. We did quite a few convoys to Russia, mortar, convoyed some mortar. I left her anyway at the end of ’42 and I went through the school again, the torpedo school for a senior rating.

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