THE WONDERS of modern technology have re-connected a Second World War veteran with the family that cared for him in South Africa.
Peter Robinson from Alcester had always kept fond memories of his time in Pietermaritzburg after his ship, HMS Hermione, was sunk while on Malta convoy duties in the Mediterranean.
He had gone to Natal on ‘survivors leave’ where, at a clearing station, he had found himself placed with local resident Tom Price-Moore and his family.
“Their hospitality was just wonderful,” said Peter, who grew up in Birmingham.
“We were able to go fishing, horse riding or just walking as we wished, usually carrying a .22 rifle. We often used to take something for the pot and they turned it into the most delicious pigeon pie!”
Such were the fond recollections of the 94 year-old that his daughter Julia decided to see if she could find the Price-Moore family again for her dad through Facebook.
And lo and behold she not only found the family, but the older members remembered their fresh faced 19 year-old guest from 1942.
“It’s only just happened recently that I’m back in contact with them. It’s remarkable,” said Peter, who after the war forged a career in auto electrics and fuel injection for cars.
“And I would love to go back out there again, but no, not at my age.”
HMS Hermione was sunk on June 16, 1942 by U-boat 205 with the loss of 87 lives.
Peter, who was serving in the magazine below ‘Q’ turret was right at the bottom of the ship when the torpedo struck the starboard side between the boiler room and the engine room.
“Strangely enough we didn’t hear the torpedo hit, probably due to explosions from aircraft bombs at that time,” he said.
He and fellow survivors were picked up by HMS Exmoor and Peter believes he is the last remaining member of Hermione’s crew alive.
He married his wife Barbara in 1944 before joining HMS Glory and heading back out to sea and active service.
The couple had two children, Wendy and Julia, and now have three grandchildren.
They moved to Alcester in 1970, where after six years Peter was made High Bailiff. Barbara passed away in 2005 but Peter keeps himself active and is president of Alcester Royal British Legion.