Tour de forces

Passchendaele. Picture: Imperial War Museum

Pompey Pals will lay wreath at Guildhall Square for Passchendaele dead

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No doubt you have heard of men leaving one military service to join another, but on talking to Charles Cox I found a man who served in all three of HM Forces. Indeed, you could say four if you count a short period in the merchant navy.

Charles’s uncle, Albert Newman, joined the TA in 1920 and was active until 1939 when he put a fork through his foot and was invalided out.

No doubt he suffered a few caustic comments as war was declared, but Albert was having none of it. He immediately joined the merchant navy transferring to the Royal Navy in late 1940 and he served in the former Russian Royal Yacht renamed HMS Surprise.

He served in her for several months but suffered severe sea sickness. So much so he was considered a hazard to his own safety and was again discharged.

Not to be outdone he went straight to the RAF recruiting office and joined up. As he had some training in frying fish he was made a chef and served in bases around the country.

Although seeing little action Albert was awarded the 1940 Defence Medal, Atlantic Star and Long Service and Good Conduct Medals.

At the end of the war he opened a fish and chip shop in Allaway Avenue, Paulsgrove.