The RNLI saves lives at sea.

Robert Jennings

Also known as: Bert.

Picture of Robert Jennings.

Robert (Bert) Jennings, my Dad, had a long association with the sea throughout his life. He joined the Merchant Navy at the age of 15 and served on the Polish ship the MS Batory during World War II, where he was involved in the Siciliy landings . The Batory became known as "the lucky ship" as it managed to survive the war despite the loss of many of it's crew. He was also part of the Atlantic convoys . Bert went on to a career in the Palestine Police, the Malayan Police as one of the famous General Grays 500 during the Malayan emergency of 1948. He earned commendations for his work and was also unofficially christened "The White Gurkha" for carrying a seriously injured Gurkha comrade through the jungle to safety. In 1950 he joined the Metropolitan Police where the attraction of working on water again led him to join Thames Division (now the Marine Support Unit). Bert and his wife Eileen narrowly missed tragedy when they were on the passenger list booked to sail on the ill fated Princess Victoria from Stranraer, Scotland to Belfast in January 1953. They missed the ferry by half an hour. The Princess Victoria sank in atrocious weather near the Copelands lighthouse. The RNLI rescued the few survivors and particular credit went to the Donaghadee lifeboat the "Sir Samuel Kelly" and the Portpatrick lifeboat "Jeannie Spiers". I know that my Dad was grateful for missing that sailing and for the bravery of those RNLI volunteers who went to the rescue in such terrible conditions.

Added by: Carolyn Crouchman on 7 February 2010.

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