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Author Topic: Novelist William Golding  (Read 33 times)

David Prestidge

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Novelist William Golding
« on: 21 May 2020 07:18:00 pm »

Greetings. I joined this forum hoping to find out something of William Golding's Royal navy career. While my membership was being activated, I got hold of a copy of his biography "The Man Who Wrote Lord Of The Flies". Golding's Wiki entry says that he served on board a destroyer that was 'in at the kill" of the Bismarck. There were six destroyers of the Tribal class involved.

It seem the Wiki entry is wrong, and that Golding was a rating on board the cruiser HMS Galatea, which was involved in the very early stages of the hunt for the Bismarck, but withdrew some days before the final showdown. He says that the only moment of drama was when he was on watch, and excitedly reported enemy gunfire, only to be gently reminded a little later, by an officer, that what he had seen was a whale spouting.

Golding left the ship soon after and applied for a commission. He was lucky,as the Galatea was torpedoed off Alexandria later in 1941, with the loss of 22 officers and 447 ratings.

Golding went on to command landing craft. First a rocket-firing one on D Day (Gold Beach) but then he was involved in the very bloody Operation Infatuate, when the Allies forced the Germans off the island of Walcheren, in order to free up the approaches to Antwerp.
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