I am currently rewriting, in abridged form, my first book, The Naval Camps of Bedhampton and Stockheath.
One of the stories that always intrigued me, when I was researching the book many years ago, was the tale from sailors who were at the camp who told me about a survivor from HMS Hood being there.
I received many letters from former sailors who were at Stockheath Naval Camp and four told me they had met this survivor. Hood was sunk by gunfire from the German battleship Bismarck on May 24, 1941.
Those four men told me they had met Robert ‘Lofty’ Tilburn, one of the three who survived the sinking.
The late Ted Briggs, who wrote the original foreword to the book, told me it was not him and the other survivor was Midshipman Dundas, who would not have mixed with the lower rates if he was at the camp.
Surely four men could not have been mistaken? So it must have been Bob who was at the camp for a few months before being drafted. If anyone knew the late Bob Tilburn, who died in 1995, please contact me.