Nel Brooks Artist
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Len Chivers & Victor Merry

Portrait picture of Veterans Len Chivers & Victor Merry

Len Chivers (right), Lieutenant, Royal Navy

Victor Merry (left), Chief Petty Officer, Royal Navy

Len and Vic have been mates for nearly eight years years. Their friendship started as two young sailors in 1941 when they had been assigned to HMS Queen Elizabeth at age sixteen. They met on the train to Scotland where the "Elizabeth" had been relocated to avoid the bombing of Portsmouth.

HMS Queen Elizabeth was a dreadnought battleship armed with several 15" guns 16 6" guns with a crew of 1,200 men.

The ship was then deployed to the Mediterranean in operation "Tiger" and was escorting transport ships laden with tanks and 42 Hurricane fighter aircraft heading for Egypt to reinforce the British forces in North Africa.

After Operation Tiger, HMS Queen Elizabeth was mined and seriously damaged by an Italian human torpedo attack on December 18th, 1941 at Alexandria.

After this, Len and Vic were assigned to other vessels and their paths crossed again when Len's ship, HMS Kipling, was sunk just after rescuing the crew from HMS Lively. Vic was on HMS Jarvis that took on board the survivors from HMS Kipling and amongst them was Len who was covered in diesel oil, had several injuries and a broken spine.

Both men went on to have successful Navy careers, Len serving a total of 35 years. Both men went on to live in Portsmouth and remained best friends right up until Vic's death in 2018.

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