Jimmy’s back at training base HMS Collingwood 75 years later

Lt Cdr Wilson, First Lt of HMS Collingwood presented Second World War veteran Jimmy Bayne with a framed print of HMS Collingwood
Lt Cdr Wilson, First Lt of HMS Collingwood presented Second World War veteran Jimmy Bayne with a framed print of HMS Collingwood

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SECOND World War navy veteran Jimmy Baynes fulfilled a wish to revisit the place where he trained 75 years ago.

Trainees at HMS Collingwood met the 94-year-old, who trained at the Fareham base in 1942 before being serving in HMS Erica, which escorted convoys to North America before she was sunk in 1943.

Jimmy and most of the crew survived and the veteran talked to 350 young trainees about his experience and shared many stories from his naval career.

He said: ‘It is difficult to accurately express my feelings.

‘To face a gathering of young naval personnel who are undergoing something similar to myself with a gap of 75 years gave me a personal relationship with them and enabled me to relax and let it flow.’

Jimmy later joined HMS Anguilla and took part in Arctic Convoys to Russia. On one mission he witnessed the sinking of HMS Goodall.

It was a long-term wish for him to return to Collingwood, and he was delighted when he was invited to the training establishment.

He added: ‘I’m so pleased to learn that I had entertained them and their appreciation is something I will treasure.’

On leaving the Royal Navy, Jimmy became a typesetter for a Fleet Street newspaper.

More recently, Jimmy wrote a book about his time in the service called The Finishing School, which helps him to give informative talks to a wide variety of groups including school children.

Chief Petty Officer Norman Brindley, who attended the talk with the trainees said: ‘The trainees found the whole experience very humbling and informative.

‘Many of them felt compelled to shake Jimmy’s hand and were in awe of his life story.

‘To see someone who went through so much during the war will hopefully inspire the next generation of sailors to great things.’

To mark the special occasion the First Lieutenant of HMS Collingwood, Lieutenant Commander Mark Wilson, presented Jimmy with a framed photograph of the Fareham site from the 1940s.