Doug from Wallington, who recently moved in with his daughter in Kenley, Croydon had two daughters and was a very popular member of the Taxi Charity family.
At the beginning of the war, Doug was involved in the Russian convoys on board the halcyon class minesweeper HMS Bramble and counted himself as one of the lucky ones. He was transferred to the illustrious-class aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable which was able to handle 48 aircraft, just before Bramble was sunk in December 1942, with the tragic loss of all lives.
Doug was on active duty as a Ship’s Gunner in the Far East for three years on board HMS Indomitable. On 4 May 1945 the Indomitable was hit by a Kamikaze, but her armoured flight deck saved her from serious damage. In August, with the war ending, Indomitable supported the liberation of Hong Kong and the Japanese surrender. Her aircraft flew the carrier’s last combat missions of the war against Japanese suicide boats which were attacking British forces. The Japanese didn’t want to surrender, and the ship’s crew were warned that many Japanese aircraft hadn’t surrendered and to be alert and ready to shoot them down.
During the week after VJ Day Doug helped guard government buildings in Hong Kong before the Indomitable returned to Sydney. His service was rewarded with eight campaign medals including the Burma Star with Pacific Clasp and he was an active member of the Burma Star Association.
Dick Goodwin, Vice President, Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, said,
“Like many of his generation Doug joined the Navy in 1940 as a fifteen-year-old having lied about his age. He once said to me ‘It was my duty. We had no idea what to expect and nothing could prepare us for what we would witness over the next five years.
“In February 2020, Doug was one of the Taxi Charity group that was invited for a private visit to the Royal Navy’s largest aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth, as special guests of the Captain and crew. The day was a memorable one and Doug thoroughly enjoyed it. Doug will be greatly missed by everyone at the charity, and we send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”