|The Young Albert Pettman|
|The front and back cover of Alberts Note Book|
Facing page of second book Albert Pettman writes;
“Corresponding dates are incorrect owing to operations being prearranged.”
|Manxman Loading Mines|
|Vice Admiral Burnett|
again, but our speed may get us through and I hope to be alive to put it here what it was like, if not, well here ends the first lesson, and I reckon we’ll do it, but there’s not many ships get away with it now and Malta must have these stores to hold out and they are worth sticking your neck out for, they have done well to hold out as they have, gosh it will be great fun. 1st November sail from Port Suez to entrance of Canal, November 2nd, arrive Port Said, on route for Alex, November 3rd 1:30pm off we go on this do or die run, we have about 450 tonnes of stores for the gallant defenders of Malta, well, we are now steaming at full speed…
* A small port on the North African coast near Bone. Thank you Dr. Barbara Tomlin for the info. http://www.barbaratomblin.com/
|Drawing showing the area and circumstances of the Manxman being torpedoed.|
|Torpedo Hole in the Manxman|
|Torpedo Hole in Manxman|
"I remember clearly my father telling us that he had just come up off "watch" and that his "oppo's" had gone below when the torpedo hit the Manxman. He told us that the sailors were blown out of the side of the ship and the boats were lowered to pick up the dead and survivors.
Dad and other sailors took off their (Mae Wests) life jackets and went below, he described how dark it was and the oily water and the smoke, they had to swim through filthy oily water. He said they carried axes with them to chop off the pipe-work to release the trapped dead sailors and how to get them out of the engine room. He said it was the most terrible thing he had experienced.
Following that, dad went below to repair the boiler to keep it going and to keep the pumps working. He told us of the intense heat he suffered and that a sailor was throwing buckets of water Over him to cool him down.That is why he was "Mentioned in Despatches". He did this to stop the Manxman from sinking, I'm sure the admiralty would have some records."
Here is some more information about the torpedo attack on the HMS Manxman;
The torpedoes may have been ether 21 inches diameter with a 660 lbs. warhead or 18 inches diameter with a 440 lbs. warhead. The smaller type of torpedo is known to be in use by Italian submarines.
For more info about the HMS Manxman visit the website;
had 6 destroyers escorting, The Med is alive with submarines, 3 torpedoes were fired at us just after we was towed out of Oram, but we are at Gib safely, gee there’s scores of boats here that have been torpedoed, HMS Marne, HMS Delhi, HMS Lord Roberts, us and several others, destroyers HMS Porcupine, Quentin, Partridge. We hope to soon get home now, its Xmas today, still it’s nearly over now, I hope my love ones at home had a nice time together, gee I am dying to go home, no mails for months. 26th We can not dock for a few weeks as there’s heaps of damaged merchant ships for repair, Captain is flown home to Admiralty, wishes us goodbye and good luck and I think we’ll need it...
plenty of luck to get home from here gets one fed up laying here, we are pumping night and day to put her afloat, no mails have arrived yet, get some news one day, a very dry Christmas, I had the afternoon watch from 12 to 4pm on diesel lay main, never had even a cup of tea during the afternoon. 26th wrote home, still waiting to dock, have to keep the pumps going. 28th ?? comes out of dock. 30th HMS Manxman goes to dock we expect to be the next one. Still no mail arrived, 1st Jan 1943 sent letter to Nora, been told that I had been mentioned in despatches, Jan 3rd still waiting to get repaired to weather the ship home. January 4th wrote to tell Nora of the New Years Honours list...
|Albert Pettman's Despatches Certificate|
Back to the diary...
Below is a letter written on a note sheet with an embossed seal from the Captain of HMS Manxman RK Dickson.
letters, also wrote to G,W,W, Feb18th bought another hand bag for my big daughter (Daphne) £1.12.6. a nice bag. Feb 20th received postal order from the British Legion. Feb 21st sent letter to C.W. Stewart acknowledging postal order for 7/6 Drafted to HMS Acute, Destroyer, ASDIC patrol from Gibraltar to Oram and Algiers, will not write home to change address as my duck would worry and we are only lent aboard for two or three weeks, Not bad but there are too many tin fish flying about here, but I can take another packet alright. Feb 22nd at Oram, Feb convoying a big heap of ships to back to Casablanca. 27th Sail for Gibraltar for fuel, Feb 28th for Algiers escorting HMS Nelson and...
9th reach Oram. Had no air attacks all cushtie/ 10th March 10th March Admiralty announce that our Sister ship HMS Welshman has sunk*, this happened on the 2nd Feb in the same area as we caught our packet. One of our officers Mr Cherrywent down on her, he was lent for three weeks, bad luck, as he was one of the very lucky ones on here. March 11th leave for Gibraltar, 12th reach Gib, 13th return to ship (Manxman) and very pleased about it. No news from home yet, still waiting to get back. Weather turning quite hot again, sent t letter to Nora 14th. HMS Avondale*** torpedoed, 39 killed and tow more destroyers tin fished, so don’t know when will get in dock now...
|Diagram Drawn By Albert|
|A Sailors Prayer|
Help me, Lord to carry through –
Never shrinking form the test…
May I never fail or falter – may I always do my best.
Bless O lord, my little effort – small and puny though it be – may it help to
hasten on – the day of peace – and victory. ARP
I as far as I can tell, this is an original prayer written by Albert.
|Forty Eight Hours Leave|
|Exam Note Diagram|
The list or notes and drawings relate to exams or test the Albert had to take. They where probably written at the back of the book before he started writing his diary.
Details of Water System 1
|Details of Water System 2|
|Diagrams and Notes|
|This is the last poem in the Albert’s book.|
|Albert's name is second column about half way down.|