Rotarians hear the incredible life story of a Royal Navy officer

HMS Battleship Royal Oak

HMS Battleship Royal Oak

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When Philip Arthur White joined the Royal Navy in 1939 he could hardly have envisaged he would soon be on the end of three torpedo attacks, survive two air raids and, when he got back to the mainland, was in a train smash.

His story was told to Barnoldswick and Earby Rotarians by member Arthur Bardsley, himself an ex-naval man. The ill-fated White was aboard the battleship Royal Oak, disastrously sunk at anchor in Scapa Flow by U-boat 47, which had found its way past block ships. The sinking was avenged when U-47 was later also sunk, and years afterwards a survivor of the submarine joined a reunion of Royal Oak survivors.

Mr Bardsley said that Philip White became a naval commander serving as a diving officer, completing 32 years’ service, and married an American woman naval officer.