THIS WEEK IN 1984: Veteran finds shell that struck his ship in Southsea junk shop

Shell - James Martin with the piece of shell which hit HMS Baham during the first world war. In the background is a photograph of the ship
Shell - James Martin with the piece of shell which hit HMS Baham during the first world war. In the background is a photograph of the ship

BOB HIND'S NOSTALGIA: We'll never forget Ernie and Sue from number twenty-two

0
Have your say

Eagle-eyed war veteran James Martin jumped at the chance to buy part of a German shell which struck his ship.

Mr Martin, 69, was one of 400 survivors from the Portsmouth-based battleship, HMS Barham, which was hit by a torpedo from a German submarine and sank in the Mediterranean in November, 1964 with the loss of 900 lives.

Several years later, Mr Martin was wandering around a Southsea junk shop when he came across part of a German Shell.

Inscribed on the plinth were the words ‘HMS Barham. 31st. May 1916’.

‘I realised it was the same ship. It was hit during the Battle of Jutland, I bought the shell for a few shilling,’ said Mr Martin.

During the Second World War, Mr Martin was a petty officers’ messman in Barham.

He was washing up when Barham was hit.

‘The ship sank without a trace in just four minutes,’ he said. ‘The blast threw me clean off the ship and we were quickly picked up by the destroyer HMS Hotspur.’

The survivors held an annual reunion where Mr Martin handed over the shell to a representative of the Barham Cadets Museum at Hull.