Richard H. (Dick) Leir. Whilst still a midshipman, he served in two RN warships which, in quick succession, suffered destruction at the hands of the Japanese in the Far East. First was the battleship HMS Prince of Wales and then the cruiser HMS Exeter, one-time victor of the fight with the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee.
Leir tells of when HMS Prince of Wales fought the German Bismarck .... in which action the mighty HMS Hood disappeared before his eyes exploding in two pieces!. Then he meets Roosevelt and Churchill in Placentia Bay before routing the Italian Navy in the Mediterranean. But his good luck came to an end when Prince of Wales and Repulse were sunk as the result of ineffective defence against Japanese aircraft. Rescued at sea, he is headed back for Sub-Lieutenants’ courses but whilst enroute in Ceylon, he joins HMS Exeter to fill a vacancy … temporarily!
His story of brutal treatment by the Japanese is terrible in its description of savagery. But Leir survives and lives to experience some small retribution before being magically transported back to western civilization.
Long declared missing and presumed ‘Killed in Action’ and accepted as such by all, his mother having received a Memorial Cross, he suddenly returns from the vault of the dead to a rejoicing but still unbelieving family
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