Royal Naval Museum



Oral History Interview with Mr Frederick Hill

Many of the recordings within the oral history collection are project focused and cover specific themes such as those the museum has undertaken relating to the Battle of the Atlantic or the WRNS at D-Day.  In addition the museum also conducts one off interviews with people to record wider experiences of service life.  The interview with Frederick Francis Hill, conducted by Dr. Chris Howard-Bailey on 8th January 1992, is just such an interview.  In it he makes several interesting observations about the life of a rating in the Royal Navy during the 1930s. 

                                    Mr Frederick Frances Hill in Uniform, Malta 1934

Francis Frederick Hill was born in London in 1913.  He joined the Royal Navy in 1934 as a Stoker at the age of 21 having worked as a Fitter and Turner in engineering firms since leaving school at 14.  He served on board HMS Resolution, Exeter, Exmouth and Dauntless.  In his own words he liked to “volunteer for foreign service” and he spent much of his time in the Mediterranean including Malta and Alexandria.  He was discharged from the Navy on medical grounds in 1937 following an earlier accident on board the Exeter which damaged his eyesight.  During the Second World War he served in the Home Guard and continued to work as a Civil Engineer for the Railways until his retirement in 1975. 



He recalls his initial training and the tools he made during this period.



He talks about the canteen messing arrangements on board ship.



He describes “going native” in Malta.



He relates an incident in which he became stuck in a boiler as well as the accident that damaged his eyes


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