Sink the Tirpitz

THEN: Full of life and shops galore  the eastern end of Highland Road in Edwardian days with Kassassin Street on the right.  Picture: Barry Cox Collection

NOSTALGIA: Snapshot of life in Edwardian Portsmouth

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No doubt many of you have seen the film Above the Waves starring John Mills which tells the story of the X craft midget submarines which were sent to a Norwegian fjord to try to sink the German battleship Tirpitz. Based on a true story, the men who volunteered for this duty were trained at HMS Dolphin, Gosport.

There were six, four-man midget boats on the raid and several of the men died in the attack.

I find it amazing that one of the men who took part has just died aged 91.

Lieutenant, then Sub-Lieutenant, Robert Aitken took part in Operation Source in September 1943 when he was 20 and one of the divers in X7.

Although the mission was not as successful as had been hoped, it put Tirpitz out of action for the rest of the war. She was finally sunk by 12,000lb Tallboy bombs dropped by the RAF on November 12, 1944.