Search

D-Day Anniversary: Hornchurch navy veteran recalls HMS Ajax experience

16:42 06 June 2014

Bill Churchill. Picture: Sandra Rowse

Bill Churchill. Picture: Sandra Rowse

COPYRIGHT S E ROWSE

On June 7 1944, navy officer Bill Churchill was relaxing in his back garden. The day before, he was watching a German aircraft drop bombs from his position on the upper deck of HMS Ajax in Normandy.

Then 18, Bill was a seaman in the communications centre on the bridge of the light cruiser that bombarded Gold Beach.

“We arrived on the second front a couple of days before and anchored off shore,” said Bill, of Hornchurch. “Just before it started the German’s bombarded us. At one time a German aircraft flew over the top of the ship and dropped a bomb right in front of it, we could have been blown out of the water.”

Bill, 92, served in the navy for seven years, and on HMS Ajax for three. He remembers vividly his view from the ship on that fateful day 70 years ago.

“It was all smoke, bullets and noise from the upper deck,” he recalls. “I was quite lucky to be there because I wouldn’t have seen anything if I wasn’t.

“We opened fire and expended all ammunition as soon as possible, then came home. I was in my back garden the next day talking to my neighbours in East Ham. I was 18 and single. It [The war] was all over for me, unfortunately everybody else had to go ahead.”

Read more:

D-Day Anniversary: Romford parachuter one of first to land in Normandy

D-Day Anniversary: Upminster veteran has ‘amazing’ reunion with shipmate

D-Day Anniversary: Battle of Arnhem could be heard in Harold Wood

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford News Stories

47 minutes ago
Regular members of the Loose Lads panel. Picture Essex TV.

A new panel show which promises to give women an insight into the male mind has been filmed in Romford.

15:28
An artist impression of The Retailery, a co-working space which is due to open in November in Market Place, Romford

A co-working space is looking to give small retail businesses a boost by providing them with a space to display their goods.

Havering Police is investigating after a video shows a boy being beaten up by a group of boys

Two teenagers have been arrested after a 15-year-old boy was assaulted in a park in July.

Raja Rashid Ali died in Braintree Road on the Heath Park Estate

Four men have been arrested today on suspicion of the murder of a man from Elm Park.

10:54
A child-only hair salon opened in Romford on Saturday.

A hairdressers, claiming to be the first ever children’s–only hair salon in Romford has opened.

10:21
Amanda Armitage, and her children Daniel and Emily at the top of Snowdon in Wales.

A family climbed a peak and raised more than £1,000 for a charity, which promotes cardiac screening for young people.

07:00
Romford MP Andrew Rosindell

Three months on from the UK voting to leave the EU, Romford’s MP Andrew Rosindell has reiterated calls for a swift and clear exit.

Yesterday, 15:55
Chris Cooper believes the fire last Friday has destroyed 90 per cent of grassland. Photo: Chris Cooper.

A park which residents have worked hard to improve has had large swathes of grassland ruined after a blaze ripped through it.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

VW Golf Estate

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now