PROFILE: ERNIE HUDSON
Born: 22 June 1924 in Birmingham
Wartime Role: Engineering worker/ member of Royal Navy during Second World War
"The only time I feared for my life was while we were in the Far East in the spring/
summer of 1945."
"I was in the Air Training Corps* since I was 15 and I wanted to go into the Royal Air Force when the war was on. I was working at an engineering factory Witton in Birmingham. I had studied engineering at Handsworth Technical College (now called City College Handsworth). I was called up to the join the Navy in 1944 and became a stoker aboard the ship, HMS Glory. It was my job to keep the coal-powered ships fuelled up.
I travelled all over the Pacific Ocean and around Australia on duty. Perhaps the best part of it was rounding up Japanese troops who had surrendered in Borneo. The only time I feared for my life was while we were in the Far East in the spring/ summer of 1945.
The Europe had surrendered in May 1945 but the Japanese didn't until August 1945.I missed homewhile I was at war but I didn't think about it too much.I had been in the Air Training Corps so I wasn't badly affected by being at war.
Before I signed up, I remember not being able to use electric lights during wartime. It was all candles. Birmingham was a big target for the Nazis and there were factories in Birmingham that made bullets and weapons for the war effort. "I left the Navy in 1947, but I remained on reserve until 1950 but I wasn't called back. I went back to working in a factory and met my late wife Vera May Tongue in 1953.1 have a son and two grandchildren, so far!
Life as a youngster was much better in my day. Young people today are so pressured by education and work."
* The Air Training Corps was founded in 1938 as The Air Defence Cadet Corps by John Adrian Chamier, a British veteran of World War 1 who wanted to provide a means for young men to train and learn more about aviation. It was renamed the Air Training Corps in February 1941 when the government took control of it Ernie thinks it is great that opportunities exist for young people to learn more about the Armed Forces.
"On the left the Instrument of Surrender, the document that officially announced the defeat of the Japanese trooops in September 1945, and on the right my medals."
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WILLIAM FLEMING QCB
left-William's father, Henry Roland Fleming, a Sapper during World War I.
right-Birmingham Mail Journalist Veron Graham(left) interviews William Fleming(right) with Mrs McGhie-Belgrave
William Stephens (left) with Veron Graham, and Mrs Stephens (right)
a veteran of the Kuwait crisis ,now pastor of Cannon street Baptist Church in Handsworth