Heroic veteran talks about daring rescues for Portsmouth RAF centenary celebrations

Charles Meacock with his daughter Kate Meacock and son-in-law Peter Stewart with high speed launch HLS102. Charles served on HLS122 during the second world war'Picture: Vernon Nash (180395-003)
Charles Meacock with his daughter Kate Meacock and son-in-law Peter Stewart with high speed launch HLS102. Charles served on HLS122 during the second world war'Picture: Vernon Nash (180395-003)

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A VETERAN has opened up about his experiences during the Second World War as part of Portsmouth’s RAF 100 celebrations.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard celebrated the work of the men on board the air sea rescue marine craft at the weekend.

The marine craft rescued more than 13,000 Air Crew and other personnel from the seas across the world in the war.

As part of these celebrations, the dockyard gave people the opportunity to go on board the High Speed Launch (HSL) craft 102, as well as take a look around a number of displays.

Also at the event was 96-year-old Charles Meacock.

Charles served as a coxswain on board a number of HSL craft during the Second World War – taking part in rescue missions that took him to Egypt, Somalia, the Dodecanese Islands and many more.

He said: ‘There was one incident where a storm was brewing while we were at sea; we only just made it to the mooring safely.

‘We were just about to have a cup of tea when we saw another ship in trouble – it had gone up on the rocks and was stranded, so we ditched the tea and went to rescue them, towing them back into the mooring.

‘My medals only show where I’ve been – but it’s what I’ve done that I’m most proud of.’

Charles says that the dockyard’s RAF centenary celebrations allowed him to relive those glory days.

He said: ‘Being here brought back a lot of fond memories for me.

‘It’s marvellous to be here and celebrate it with so many people.’

Lynn Robbins, volunteer coordinator at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, said: ‘It has been fantastic to do this for the RAF centenary.

‘Sometimes when people come here they think it’s all about the navy – but we have a lot of RAF history here and even a couple of their boats, so it is great to show people another side of the dockyard.’