On this day in Yorkshire 1942: Adventures of Leeds Seaman

After a remarkable series of Adventures, a Leeds man, Leading Seaman James Stone (21), is now home on 38 days leave.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 12th December 2016, 9:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:36 pm

Stone’s first experience of dive bombing cam ein the Norwegian campaign, afterwards he volunteered for a landing party in France during the evacuation.

After taking part in the campaign in Greece, Stone served in escorting ships of the Syrian campaign convoys. This year he was in action against the German and Italian massed bombing of the Malta convoys.

“The barrage put up by the ships against the incessant bombing was like the roll of thunder day and night,” he stated to a “Yorkshire Evening Post” reporter.

More recently, Stone was in ship carrying British women and children which was torpedoed at night. Many lives were lost. For more than five hours Stone and another sailor were adrift on a raft in shark-infested waters. Next morning, after a lifeboat had rescued them, a U-boat took on to her deck 85 survivors - sailors, women and children — and food was passed round from the conning tower.

“The U-boat commander was about 25 years old and spoke very good English,” Stone said.

Back in the lifeboat, the survivors noticed other lifeboats being shepherded together by other U-boats. For five days the lifeboats were circled by the submarines, and the survivors lived on a daily ration of two food tablets, two biscuits and two ounces of water.

Eventually, a French cruiser, to which a message had been sent by the U-boats, was sighted. Stone then went to a French internment camp near Casablanca.

Before ioining the Navy for regular service, Stone worked for Kauffman Brothers, Leeds, and lived in Ravenscar Mount, Oakwood.

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