Stories from people involved in past and present conflicts. A widow pays an emotional tribute to the husband she lost at the Battle of Goose Green in the Falkland Islands.
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Welcome to Remembrance Week.
I'm in Afghanistan,
where our armed forces are doing some incredible work
over 3,000 miles away from home.
These men and women are the heroes of today, and this week,
we'll also be remembering those who fought and suffered
on our behalf in the past.
Coming up on today's programme:
What happened to a brave merchant seaman
when a torpedo hit his Arctic convoy.
When they said "Abandon ship",
the captain said, "Go to your lifeboat station, boy,
"and good luck to you", and I said, "Thank you, sir."
The extraordinary tale of a Falklands hero,
and the wife he left behind.
Gary's actions that day saved a lot of lives,
without a doubt, and my husband was a hero.
And a young volunteer relives a fierce battle from the Korean War
and his capture by Communist forces.
I realised at any time, they could put a gun to the back of your head
and press the trigger, and that's it. Bye-bye, you.
In peaceful times, marrying into the military can take you places
you never thought you would go.
It can be a fun, exciting and very sociable world.
However, when war breaks out,
the reality of what your loved ones do for a living can really hit home.
Gary Bingley was home on leave
when he tried to chat up a girl in his local pub.
He was absolutely not my type of guy.
I tend to go for the tall, dark and handsome ones.
He just had me in absolute stitches,
and I think it's a standing joke with most women that if they say,
"What do you look for in a man?",
it's "someone that can make me laugh."
And that was him. He had the most amazing sense of humour.
There was this amazing feeling
of us both falling in love and both feeling the same way,
and it was just absolutely wonderful.
Within weeks, Gary proposed, and they were married soon after.
It was just four months after that first meeting.
It was absolutely wonderful. It was obviously a very small wedding.
I didn't find out until much later, knowing not much about army life,
that he hadn't actually got permission from the CO
to get married, but then that was the kind of thing
my husband would always do.
He'd be like, "Don't worry, I'll sort it out later."
But as a young army wife,
Jay soon faced the reality of being married to a soldier.
In April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands,
a British territory in the South Atlantic.
I remember Gary coming home from work saying, "We're going to war."
And I was absolutely horrified.
And I said, "Well, you know, maybe it'll kind of get resolved".
"No. We're going to war."
MARGARET THATCHER: 'British sovereign territory
'has been invaded by a foreign power.'
Britain was at war.
THATCHER: 'It is our Government's objective
'to see that the islands are free from occupation.'
28,000 British troops prepared to make the journey
to reclaim the islands.
Amongst them, Gary, and the men of the Parachute Regiment,
one of the British Army's elite units.
He was absolutely... so looking forward to it.
He was a soldier through and through, and Gary...
absolutely loved his job.
It was very, very hard saying goodbye,
knowing this time, they were really going to fight a war,
and you have no way of knowing how big it's going to be
or how long it's going to last.
It was just this awful roller coaster of emotion...
..and grabbing spare moments, you know,
going to bed and holding on to each other,
thinking, "This is an extra night we've got together."
And we had a ground-floor apartment at the time
and we tended to use the back door.
So my last memory of Gary is of him walking through that door.
And we said goodbye, and as he walked through the door, he stopped.
And he turned around
and looked at me and said "Goodbye, girlie".
The paratroopers travelled for almost a month,
preparing for a land offensive.
British ships were hit,
and many lives were lost as our forces reached the islands.
The men from 2 PARA led one of the first major land offensives
in a bid to reclaim the Falklands.
Gary Bingley was at the forefront of an assault
against a much larger Argentinian force.
Gary was killed storming a machine gun nest at Goose Green.
..right up the front, as he would be, because that was him.
You know, that was always him.
He carried on advancing forwards,
even though he must have known at that moment there was no way,
there was absolutely no way that he could ever have got out of that.
I remember being in bed, and at eight o'clock in the morning,
my doorbell rang.
And I lay in bed and I thought, "I'm not going to answer that,
"because I don't want to hear what they've got to tell me."
And...as soon as I thought that,
the next thought came into my head,
"Don't be ridiculous, they'll only come back.
"You might as well answer the door now."
And I remember saying, "Just tell me."
We barely got into the lounge, and I was just...
sobbing by that point.
I knew he wasn't injured, I knew he was dead.
And they confirmed my worst fears in that moment.
'Lance Corporal Smith.'
'Lance Corporal Bingley.'
I wasn't to know at that point,
until much, much later,
how brave he had been and how much he had done in that battle.
Gary Bingley was just 24 years old when he died.
For his actions during the victorious battle of Goose Green,
he was awarded the Military Medal.
Gary's actions that day saved a lot of lives.
There was no hesitation with him,
he just carried on, steamed in like the soldier he was.
Without a doubt, my husband was a hero.
Gary was my lover.
He was my husband, and he was my best friend.
And you can't ask for anything more than that in a marriage.
For years, Jay struggled to come to terms with Gary's death.
A visit to the National Memorial Arboretum helped change that.
I remember getting to the roundabout just to turn into the car park,
and thinking "I think I just need to go round this roundabout
"and go away again, because I don't think I can face this."
It's just the most wonderful place.
The whole area is the most
wonderfully designed memorial, you know.
It's actually designed so that it looks like a door.
But they've done it in such a way that on 11th November,
the sun shines just through that gap,
and all the names of everybody who has served are engraved on that wall.
And my husband's name is one little name...
..amongst all of those.
And then the enormity of war...
..really hits home to you, and you realise that your broken heart
is just one of those names amongst so many.
You have to be in awe of it, and the sacrifices all of those men made.
If I could say one thing to Gary now, I would say to Gary,
"I love you. I always have, I always will."
"But you died doing what you loved."
The Battle of Imjin River in 1951
was one of the most intense of the Korean War.
The British were massively outnumbered.
Many who survived were captured, and became prisoners of war.
Being kids, we were so patriotic for the war, it was unbelievable.
Not just me - everyone was patriotic.
As World War II ended, Bill Fox was full of admiration
for the brave men of Britain's armed forces.
National service gave him his chance to join their ranks.
We always believed that the British Army was the best army in the world.
Our air force was the best.
I was dying to get in the army to be like the other soldiers and fight.
In 1950, just five years after World War II,
a new conflict broke out on the other side of the world
between North and South Korea.
REPORTER: 'For hundreds of thousands of civilians
'trying desperately to outrun the advancing Communists,
'children who had no part in the causes of war
'receive full measure of its hardships just the same.'
Supporting South Korea in their battle against the Communist North
was the United Nations.
'The UN was facing a new enemy in Korea, and a new war had begun.'
They wanted ex-soldiers who had just been in national service
to volunteer for 18 months.
I thought, "18 months - not bad, that."
At the age of 22, Bill volunteered to join UN forces
to fight the North Koreans,
who were backed by China and the Soviet Union.
I was in a group of about 20 or so of us when we went to Colchester
to join up the Gloucestershire Regiment.
In September 1950, it was time for the regiment,
known as the Gloucesters, to say goodbye to friends and family
as they began their long voyage to Korea.
One of them, I will always remember to the day I die.
His name was Derek Ball.
I recall his mother, and I think it was his sister.
We were all meeting and shaking hands with them,
and they was a bit sad about Derek and we were saying
"Don't worry, it's all right, we'll all look after each other."
I thought it was marvellous, going off to Korea.
To see the world. And seeing so much of the British Empire. Gibraltar.
We sailed through the Mediterranean.
We passed Malta, Aden, the Red Sea.
Even at night time, to see these cities all over the world lit up...
After a long journey, they reached their destination.
All the troops, myself included,
went up to have a look at what Korea looked like.
All we could see were the shape of the dark hills.
It looked frightening. It looked deadly. Something about it.
And everyone just stared at it. Don't look nice at all.
'Units north of Seoul were forced back across the Imjin River.'
In April 1951, just a few months after their arrival,
Bill and his comrades were to take part in what would become
one of the most intense confrontations of the Korean War -
the Battle of Imjin River.
We got up to a position overlooking the Imjin River.
It was a very important place where we was,
because it was a main centre where people could cross safely.
The UN forces needed to hold their position
to prevent the Chinese from crossing the river
and invading the nearby city of Seoul.
We was overlooking this crossing point.
We were told the Chinese were liable to attack any time.
As night fell on 22nd April, the Chinese launched an attack.
One of our companies right on the riverbank
caught them crossing the river.
They'd hear the bugle call.
HE IMITATES BUGLE
It was like a horn kind of sound.
The sound seemed to waft up the hills
and came up to the village, to where we was. We were really scared.
There's an animal thing in your body that takes over.
I couldn't breathe proper.
I'd not been going running or anything,
I was just in the trench, panting like that.
An overwhelming 27,000 Chinese soldiers
advanced on Bill and the 4,000 men
defending their stretch of the river.
They came up in waves, a huge army of them.
They fired all the ammunition they'd got,
threw all the hand grenades they'd got.
And when they'd done it, they ran back.
In the relentless firefight,
Bill was alongside one of his Gloucester comrades.
Derek Ball joined me in the trench, and we were taking turns each,
myself and Derek Ball, firing this machine gun.
The fire then was getting terrific against us.
They were firing, blasting us and everything.
Derek Ball had his head up firing away at them,
and he was firing away,
and a big blast of this machine-gun fire got him.
Shattered his head.
His flesh went on me. I could feel him,
when he got his face battered.
He dropped at my feet.
And I never had the chance...
..you know, to kneel down with him, or anything. Didn't get a chance.
Isolated on top of a hill,
outnumbered and running out of ammunition,
the Gloucesters suffered heavy casualties, losing 59 of their men.
We had to get up, keep fighting.
You had to just leave them down there. Just leave them.
For three long nights, the Gloucesters held their ground
in what was the bloodiest battle fought by British forces
since World War II.
Of the 700 Gloucesters at Imjin River,
nearly 600 were taken prisoner,
It was a frightening time, because you realise
that you don't know what's going to happen to you, and you realise
at any time, they could put a gun to the back of your head
and press the trigger and that's it, bye-bye, you.
Bill and his fellow captives endured a gruelling trek north
in harsh conditions across Korea's tough terrain.
It were a long, bloody way.
Must have took us a good few weeks.
Anyone who dropped out, couldn't do it,
you never saw them again.
Some people said they could hear a shot fired.
I didn't actually hear anyone being shot, but I never seen them again.
Having survived the battle, Bill now needed all his strength
to survive the rest of the conflict as a prisoner of war.
It was terrible conditions. It was really bad,
and I honestly think I would never have survived the coming winter.
It had been a chaotic battle,
and the fate of many soldiers wasn't clear.
Back home in Manchester,
Bill's mother received the news every family feared.
They received a telegram saying I was killed.
Soon after, they got a telegram saying
"Your son, previously reported killed, has been found wounded."
Receiving conflicting messages, his mum's relief
was shattered when a third telegram arrived.
"Sorry about the mix-up.
"The first telegram was correct. He was reported killed."
After so many months, they got my death certificate, you know.
Your mother going through all that.
She wouldn't settle for that. She still believed I was alive.
After so much heartache,
his mother finally received the news she'd hoped and prayed for.
Eventually, she got a letter from me
that was posted from our prison of war camp.
The relief for her, knowing that I wasn't killed...
Receiving a letter back was just what Bill needed.
I remember vividly when I first got that letter from home.
Oh, God, from my mother as well.
Just knowing that she knew I was safe.
No words can say how uplifting it was to hear things like that.
'The world listened for news
'of the final signing that would mean ceasefire in Korea.
'It came on July 27, 1953.'
After spending two years as a prisoner of war,
Bill's ordeal finally came to an end.
They told us, "Good news for you." And we were all cheering already.
"Hush, hush, hush," they were saying.
"The war is over". I remember the words.
We have stopped the shooting.
That means much to the fighting men and their families,
and it will allow some of the grievous wounds of Korea to heal.
We all cheered like mad. We were all jumping up for joy.
Of course, we were so happy. We were so relieved.
Now free men,
Bill and his fellow prisoners were transported from the camp,
on the way passing Chinese prisoners.
We passed each other.
The Chinese were going wild, singing patriotic songs.
Don't know what the songs was. They were cheering like mad.
But as we passed each other, they seemed to go a bit quiet.
We just looked at each other, and just...
I don't know, we just looked at each other and thought,
"Hello and goodbye", you know.
"Best of luck to you."
The three-year conflict led to over 100,000 UN casualties.
Having made it back home,
Bill has never forgotten his young friends who died in battle
and the families they left behind.
You know, the mothers and wives, what suffering must they go through?
Well, I made it.
Back here in Afghanistan, I'm in the capital, Kabul.
The NATO-led International Security Force
have been in the country since 2002.
I'm meeting Lieutenant-General John Lorimer,
the UK's most senior officer
and second-in-command of all international troops.
Since 2001, 2002,
virtually every aspect
of life in Afghanistan has changed.
You've been in Kabul. You've seen it's a buzzing city.
In 2002, it certainly wasn't like that.
There's trade, there's commerce, there's the internet.
There's far greater access to healthcare.
So almost in every facet of Afghan life, things have changed.
As NATO troops prepare
for their withdrawal from Afghanistan next year,
the Afghans have begun to take the lead for security in their country.
We're getting a smaller force.
We're decreasing the number of servicemen and women out here.
A lot of it has been due to the effort the Afghans have done,
but more importantly, the work that we've done
in terms of training them and getting them there.
To equip the Afghans
against the continuing threat from the Taliban,
this training academy has been set up using the model of Sandhurst,
Britain's top military institution.
'The British will remain here as mentors
'as the Afghans select new recruits.'
It's all Afghan-led? Yeah.
We had a short, four-week period where we instructed the trainers.
We're now here just advising them
on matters that they may need some advice on.
Why the bibs and the numbers?
To ensure that the candidates remain anonymous
throughout the actual process.
Their family name isn't brought into question.
It's so that all the candidates are treated fairly
and they're marked, across the board, as equally as each other.
Once fully operational, the academy will train
up to 1,500 students every year, both male and female.
But first, the hopeful recruits
have to pass a demanding selection process
that tests their mental and physical abilities.
One of the tests the cadets have to face
as part of the selection process is the obstacle course.
It measures determination, motivation and physical fitness.
The idea is to do as many obstacles as possible in two minutes.
And the guys have challenged me to have a go.
Three, two, one, go.
GETHIN GASPS FOR BREATH
Have I made the academy?
'One of the men who represents the future of the academy
'is Second Lieutenant Kambez Esmati, a mentor for new officer recruits.'
Are you proud of what you're doing
here at the academy? Yes, of course I'm proud.
That I can say, because I have trained well
and I am going to train them well.
When you went to Sandhurst,
what was the biggest thing you learnt from there?
The biggest thing I've learnt from them,
there were the officers with their sergeants.
They care about each other, they have a lot of respect, help each other.
Teamwork. Teamwork. And discipline, especially.
How do your family feel about you being in the army?
My family feel proud, especially my father and my brothers.
And I am happy. I love my job.
This country has seen so much trouble,
but what does the future hold?
The future of Afghanistan will be very beautiful, a peace country.
Freedom. Everyone will have their rights to live.
I was impressed from the moment I walked through the gate.
It's all Afghan-led,
and despite the fact it is humble beginnings,
there is a real determination and steel
to make sure that this academy is a success
which will give the Afghan people the bright future they so deserve.
This Remembrance Sunday, the nation pays their respects
to those who have suffered and died for their country.
Millions of people pause for silence and a moment of reflection
to ensure those brave men and women are never forgotten.
Helicopter pilots here in Afghanistan are vital.
Their skill and calmness under immense pressure
ensure that our troops are transported safely
to and from the battlefield.
This next story shows just how important
these brave men and women are.
In 2011, Flight Lieutenant Dan Cullen
conducted a feat of such incredible gallantry
that he was given the distinguished Flying Cross,
an award which recognises him
as one of the country's most outstanding pilots.
I'd always had a keen interest
in flying and air shows
and watching aircraft when I was a child growing up.
I joined the Air Training Corps when I was about 14 years old,
and I decided I would like to have a career in the RAF.
Dan joined the RAF in 2004.
Three years later, he was a fully qualified pilot,
flying one of the British forces' greatest assets,
the Chinook helicopter.
I can certainly remember
getting back from my first trip in the Chinook with a grin on my face.
The Chinook was first used in action by British forces
during the Falklands War in 1982.
It's featured on the battlefront ever since.
The helicopter is vital in Afghanistan
for transporting troops and cargo
and also operates as a flying hospital.
Dan was posted to Camp Bastion
for his fourth tour of Afghanistan in February 2011.
You're entering a war zone. You step off the aircraft
and you get hit by a wall of heat. That's when it really sinks home
where you are and what you've got to go and do.
Dan would be operating in Helmand Province.
In the first three months of the year,
11 UK personnel had been killed in the area,
and there remained a threat from the Taliban.
You're constantly on guard.
When you do carry out a shift, you're on for 24 hours.
You're always waiting for the phone call to go
and you know that if it does go, you need to go to the aircraft
and get airborne as quickly as possible.
The thing is, you'll never know where you're going,
so you could be going to a hostile site.
The issue of not knowing where you're going
or what you're doing until you're effectively airborne
is a bit of a weight to hold on your shoulders,
particularly when you become the aircraft captain
and everyone's looking to you to make those decisions.
In April, Dan captained a Chinook on a routine mission.
His job was to pick up 30 British troops
who'd been clearing a Taliban IED factory.
Flying a Chinook is a two-man operation.
On that day, Dan's co-pilot and navigator
was Flight Lieutenant Rich Anderson.
We were visual with the troops on the approach to the site
and we positioned so they could get on as quickly as possible.
But in the latter stages of the landing,
we get enveloped in a dust cloud,
and we can see very little, other than our reference to land on.
They had reached the most dangerous part of the airlift,
where the aircraft and troops are at their most vulnerable.
Everything seemed to be going fine at that time.
But insurgents had obviously been keeping an eye on what was going on.
As the troops began to board, the Chinook came under sniper fire.
Bullet literally passed within an inch or two of my legs.
Rich shouted - I looked at him
and it dawned on both of us that he had been shot.
I had to overcome that natural fear and instinct
to just want to take off and get out,
because I did think there was a very high chance
that another bullet would be headed for me.
The bullet had pierced the cockpit, lodging into Rich's foot,
and he began to lose consciousness.
It felt like an eternity,
waiting for the guys to get on the back.
I'm sure it was probably no more than a minute
for all the guys to get on our aircraft.
Once we got everyone safely on board,
I lifted the aircraft out of the situation.
But it became apparent at that stage that Rich was going into shock.
He slumped forward onto the cyclic control stick
that controls the aircraft
and by pushing the cyclic forward, the aircraft would have nosed forward
and potentially dived into the ground.
With 30 troops on board
and the life of his co-pilot in danger,
everything rested on Dan.
I was having to do a bit of a juggling act
to keep Rich off the controls.
Dan fought to keep the helicopter in the air,
flying one-handed away from the danger zone
and back to safety.
It wasn't really until I got back on the ground
that the adrenaline kind of subsided
and you get the shakes and you just think,
"Wow, that was quite intense, quite close."
Um...and it could have ended a lot worse.
Rich had survived the gunshot wound
and was rushed to hospital for medical attention.
After completing his ten-week tour of Afghanistan,
Dan returned to the UK to become an RAF flight instructor.
Six months after the incident, out of the blue,
Dan was summoned to see the commandant.
Ordinarily, that means you've messed up in some way -
probably in the bar, on a previous night -
and you need to go and give your apologies.
So I was quite worried at that stage.
His worries soon faded, as he was given the news
he would be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
I was a bit gobsmacked, initially.
I wasn't allowed to tell anyone for a couple of days,
so I then had to go back and just carry on
as though nothing had happened.
In 2012, he received his award from Her Majesty the Queen.
I was actually, believe it or not, more nervous about meeting the Queen
than I ever was out in Afghanistan.
Dan's citation highlighted "a sublime level of composure,
"along with personal courage, leadership and flying skills."
I'm sure everyone else on the Chinook force
would have tried to do exactly what I did on the day.
I know it's become a bit of a cliche,
but I do feel like I was just doing my job
and trying to do the best for both the guys on my crew
and the guys that were in a sticky situation on the ground,
so...I don't think I'm a hero.
During WWII, we relied heavily on nearly 185,000 Merchant Navy seamen
who transported food, equipment and people
in and out of the country.
Our next story highlights just how dangerous
life on the seas could be.
As a boy, all I'd wanted to do was go to sea.
I'd always been interested in going abroad
and I'd always wanted to go abroad.
When the war started,
I joined the Sea Cadets to learn about it.
Two years after the start of the war,
Austin Byrne's love of the sea
saw him signing up for the Royal Navy.
Now 91, Austin recalls his first - and almost last - voyage.
When the Royal Navy said we were going on merchant ships,
I thought, "That sounds good. I'll stick with that."
REPORTER: Merchant ships at sea -
these are the men who, for three years,
have kept us in arms and food.
During WWII, Britain's Merchant Navy -
a fleet of commercial ships - played a vital role.
Merchant Navy was like transport wagons at sea -
you carry cargo from Point A to Point B.
Food or war materials or everything.
Travelling in convoy,
these merchant ships were extremely vulnerable to German attacks,
from sea and air.
Protecting them were fully equipped military vessels known as escorts,
and the merchant ships' own gunners.
They told us straight out that we would be gunners,
and a very pompous naval officer said,
"You people, we are going to train you to be on merchant ships
"and bring these bombers down - we've found the best way to do it..."
I can't talk as posh as him, so I'm not going to try.
"The best way to do it
"is riddle their bellies with bullets."
In 1942, aged 19, Austin prepared to set sail on his first mission.
The Induna, it was my first ship.
I was brand new, I was very full of enthusiasm
and I wanted to learn.
And they issued us with Arctic clothing.
And that's when we knew we were going to Russia.
With the German invasion of Russia,
Churchill called on the Merchant Navy
to provide essential supplies to Soviet forces battling the Nazis.
Facing harsh, icy conditions,
their perilous route crossed the Arctic Ocean.
First few days at sea, you got the shock of your life.
It was work and bed, work and bed.
You slept in your clothes, you did watch-and-watch,
which was four hours on watch and four hours off watch.
And we were just permanent lookouts.
You'd never been as tired as you are then,
and that's how you learn.
You get the shock of your life - well, I did.
REPORTER: In the far north, where the battle raged fiercest,
great convoys carrying tanks and aircraft to Russia
fought grimly through Arctic seas
in which a man can only live five minutes.
There was a tremendous storm.
The storm lasted about three days and split the convoy up.
When the weather cleared, the ships were gathered together
and there were about five ships got together.
Separated from the other ships in the convoy,
they were left with just one escort
and now were vulnerable to an attack.
Then, all of a sudden...
The first thing we knew was three bombs.
WHISTLING AND EXPLOSION
And they weren't a long way from the ship -
"whomph, whomph, whomph."
It were the first time I'd seen a German aeroplane -
it were a fighter bomber.
It were coming that fast between the ships
that we couldn't fire at it.
The bullets from our gun that didn't hit him
would have gone in the other ship.
You waited - you'd loaded your gun and you waited.
Then, all of a sudden, they were in range and you started firing.
You don't fire at the plane, you fire where the plane will be
when the bullet gets there.
You fire in front of the plane.
The skipper was shouting, "You hit him, boy!
"You've hit him, you've hit him, you've hit him!"
Austin had shot down his first enemy plane.
Now on high alert, they had to divert their course.
After the aerial attack, they all went north,
out of the range of the planes.
But heading north had brought a new threat.
The ships found themselves in icy waters.
The ice was four foot thick. It were like steel.
He'd to manoeuvre it and find cracks and push them,
and backwards and forwards.
It were hours in the ice.
Isolated from the other ships,
the Induna battled its way through the thickening ice.
He got her out, but it were...
It were a very, very difficult job.
Having kept watch since the early hours,
Austin was coming to the end of his shift.
The cook came out and said,
"I'll do your breakfast when you come down.
"Give you a good breakfast, boy."
I thought, "Really?" Cos I hadn't had nothing to eat for a long while,
I was really hungry.
And then, all of a sudden - bang! She got hit.
The Induna had been hit by a torpedo
launched from a German submarine.
The deck was covered in drums of aviation spirit,
which were exploding - bang, bang, bang!
The sea were on fire. That was burning like mad.
When they say, "Abandon ship", the captain said,
"Go to your lifeboat station, boy, and good luck to you."
And I said, "Thank you, sir."
I was frightened, but there were that much happening,
you didn't have time to be frightened.
But, you know...you didn't know what were going to happen next.
The ship was now sinking.
Two brave crewmen on board lowered a lifeboat for Austin
and eight other men.
The deck what they were stood on were covered in ice -
it were like a skating rink.
They got their feet firm and they lowered the boat.
It was a fantastic piece of seamanship.
With the ship listing dangerously to one side,
the lifeboats had to cast off.
But there were still men left on board.
To rescue them, Austin's lifeboat had to try and get around
to the other side of the ship.
We could see the mate, then, lowering a ladder,
and we were getting quite near it.
And all of a sudden - bang!
They put another torpedo in.
And then she just went up and down.
She went as quick as it takes to tell you.
Penny dropped on you that them that were on it hadn't come up.
They were still there. You felt absolutely devastated.
The two men who had saved my life went with her.
All those left on board went down with the ship.
The crew in Austin's lifeboat
now faced a real battle for survival.
He and fellow gunner Robinson desperately fought to keep afloat.
There were a bucket in the lifeboat.
I were bailing and Robinson was steering.
And...I used to bail.
And I used to say my prayers as I were bailing -
"Hail, Mary, full of grace."
I could get three buckets out to the Hail Mary
and four to the Our Father.
Austin and Robinson continuously bailed out water for three days,
keeping everyone safe.
On the fourth day, Robinson said, "Hey, I can see a ship."
And he said, "I can see another."
And there were these three ships coming towards us.
Having drifted around 100 miles,
they were finally rescued by the Russians.
They gave me and Robbie a vodka - a big vodka.
"Eh, eh, eh!"
And you'd to drink that down
and they poured one in the same cup for Robbie
and I had three big vodkas -
one after other on an empty stomach.
During the war, around 3,000 sailors lost their lives
in perilous Arctic convoys.
I've thought about the ones who died every day.
All my life.
On tomorrow's programme...
The tragic story of a Royal Marine
who kept a remarkable and moving diary
of life on the front line in Afghanistan.
It's very much as if he's in the room with you. Yeah.
I can hear his voice, pretty much.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
A widow pays an emotional tribute to the husband she lost at the Battle of Goose Green in the Falkland Islands. A soldier describes the brutal war in Korea and how his family was told he was dead. And a sailor in the Merchant Navy tells an extraordinary story of survival aboard an Arctic Convoy in the Second World War.