Saturday, January 12, 2008

US Cops who saved a young seaman's life

Getting thrown in jail was the best thing that could have happened to Samuel Nutt. As a 20-year-old stoker with the Royal Navy Patrol Service in 1942, he was supposed to rejoin HM Trawler Bedfordshire after a day's shore leave in Moorhead City,North Carolina.

But as he was leaving a bar, two policemen arrested him and locked him up for a day. As soon as he was let out, he joined another British trawler hoping to meet his crew to patrol the American coast against submarines, but the. Bedfordshire was not to be found. A few days later, the news filtered through that the trawler had been torpedoed by a German U-boat and all 34 crew lost. To this day, Mr Nutt, who has lived in Lowestoft since the end of the war, does not know why he was arrested.

"I would like to see the charge sheet. I had not done any harm," he said. "I have had good luck all my life and I often wonder whether things would have been different if I had made it on to the boat. "They were a good crew. For the little time I knew them, they were all good boys to be with." His-chance escape was not the only good fortune the 74-year-old had during the war.

"I had good luck throughout the war. One time when I was firewatching, I said to the others we have got to get out of the building.

"A few seconds after we got out, down came a bomb. I have always had a little bit of foresight I think," he said. And after the Bedfordshire incident, another trawler on which Mr Nutt was serving was sunk;

This time he was aboard but even though he could not swim, he and the rest of the crew managed to survive.

In memory of my dear friend Sam Nutt who crossed the bar 31st December 2007. - article published in the Lowestoft Journal 1996

See also:
Short film about the loss of HMS Bedfordshire


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

What an interesting story. Mr Nutt's Guardian Angel was certainly looking after him that day. This would make a good subject for a WW documentary.

Sunday, 13 January, 2008  
Blogger Nick Clark said...

Yes I think it really is an interesting story and quite a remarkable one.

If you go to the link below you can watch a short film about the loss of HMS Bedfordshire and Sam talks about his miraculous escape.

The interesting thing about this short film is that it was originally to be included in a programme for the Discovery Channel about the U-boat war on the West-coast of America.

In 1942 the US were in desperate need for convoy protection due to a huge loss of shipping to enemy U-boats. This was Germany’s Operation ‘Paukenschlag’ (Drumbeat) and the U-boats made easy pickings out of the countless merchant vessels carrying badly need needed supplies, their targets often silhouetted by costal lights because no one had enforced a blackout.

24 armed trawlers were sent over to help the US Navy as anti-submarine escort vessels - some would never return.

The programme makers had approached Sam for his part in the HMS Bedfordshire story and to highlight the part played by the Royal Naval Patrol Service. So you can imagine his total dismay when he learnt that his contribution had been left on the ‘cutting room floor’ and the programme was broadcast without a mention of HMS Bedfordshire, the 24 trawlers or the British sailors that gave their lives.

Watch any programme or read any book about ‘Operation Drumbeat’ and nine times out of ten you'll not see any mention of the armed trawlers and their crews protecting the West-coast of America..

Sam gave me a copy his contribution so I decided to post it on U-tube for all to see!

Sunday, 13 January, 2008  
Blogger Boabbie said...

Hi Nick thank you for the link to the film piece it was very enlightening.I did not see the program it was deleted from but it let us see what the American view of our anti submarine was and became.

Monday, 14 January, 2008  
Blogger Tomcann said...

Nick -
don't be too upset by the American refusal to acknowledge any contribution by British - or any other ally in winning WW2 - I am currently knee deep in big arguements about the BBc's infatuation with the heroic efforts of the US at Omaha -

and it's gone downhill since that point to a massive 145 postings and even now many of them refuse to ackowlwdge any assistance and some are now just coming to the fact that Britain was standing alone in 1940 albeit with the whole Commonwealth standing alongside us on the beaches !

The effect on their brains by Hollywood is almost unbelieveable - and these are - mostly - intelligent people !!!

Monday, 14 January, 2008  
Blogger Nick Clark said...

Actually Bob it's more the refusal to acknowledge the efforts of the Royal Naval Patrol Service by British Historians, and TV documentary film makers. Especially when you consider for instance, that in 1940 they were doing the dangerous job of sweeping our shores from mines while having to fight off attacks from E-boats and enemy aircraft.

Even the Royal Navy ('Pusser RN') has almost traditionally brushed over the efforts of this reserve fleet. But that’s another story!

May post something later and tell a few more stories about the ‘forgotten fleet’

I know exactly what you mean by Hollywood. Wasn’t it Objective Burma! Starring Errol Flynn that started all that nonsense? Recently we’ve had ‘U-571’ with the USN capturing the first ‘Enigma’ machine thus winning the Battle of the Atlantic - probably next thing will be they fought the Battle of Britain for us!

God bless America!

Thank you for all your comments.

Tuesday, 15 January, 2008  
Blogger Boabbie said...

Nick I was only referring to the couple of old (American )salts who
were interviewed in the clip. It
would be great if a campaign could be started involving more of the same ilk to waken both governments to the invaluable part played by
the Royal Naval Patrol Service.

Tuesday, 15 January, 2008  
Blogger Nick Clark said...

Sorry Bob my mistake the last comment was meant for Tom regarding the refusal to acknowledge any contribution by RNPS etc.

All views and comments welcome though.

Regards to all


Tuesday, 15 January, 2008  
Blogger Tomcann said...

Nck - the main point in starting the arguement was that the BBc was highlighting the heroic efforts of the US - to the total ignoring of the British contibution to that war - the reason - it was pointed out - was that the US had 300 million population - Britain 61 million and Canada a lowly 33 million - so where can they make the most money ???

Tuesday, 15 January, 2008  
Blogger Nick Clark said...

Hi Tom

That's an interesting point of view and it certainly makes you think!

Politics is one thing, but making money out of potential viewing figures to the moral expense of ignoring a country's war effort is quite alarming! Let us hope the majority people around the world are curious enough to want to see the bigger picture of modern history. The way it should be told.

Tuesday, 15 January, 2008  
Blogger Tomcann said...

I tend to get a little pessimistic about people clamouring for the truth - as I recall the Jack Nicholson outburst in some movie with Tom Cruise =- " you can't handle the truth " !

Many people seem to be quite happy to roll about in subjective as opposed to objective truth - I nearly fell off the chair when I heard the Cardinal Archbishop of England and Wales address the graduate students of Downside - the premier Catholic College by his " Unity is more important that Truth" - sheeesh ! How wrong can you get ?

Wednesday, 16 January, 2008  

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