War veteran who survived submarine attack dies aged 101
Mr Judd joked that he continued to enjoy his grog ‘ration’ until the end of his life.
After his ship was torpedoed in the Indian Ocean, he was adrift in a lifeboat for more than a day before being spotted and rescued.
Mr Judd, originally from Cardiff, moved to Market Drayton to live with his daughter Sue Walker five years ago.
His funeral on April 14 at 12:30 p.m. at Telford Crematorium will include a Royal Naval Association honor guard and there will be a standard bearer from the Royal British Legion.
Mr Judd joined the Royal Navy in 1943 and was seconded to the Merchant Navy aboard DEMS – defensively equipped merchant ships. As the name suggests, these were merchant ships armed against submarine and air attack.
“On her first deployment she was torpedoed in the Indian Ocean,” Sue said.
“Three lifeboats ran away and they roped together so they were in a circle, but during the night a whale appeared in the middle of the circle and they had to quickly cut the ropes and they all drifted away. The lifeboat Dad’s rescue was the only one they could see in the morning and they were spotted, I think by a Catalina seaplane.
“He was unable to land as the sea was too rough, but dropped a hand-cranked radio on them so they could report their position, and the next day they were picked up by a Free French ship.”
Sue does not know the fate of the other lifeboats.
In a 2019 interview, Bill had told how his ship was called Clan Macarthur and 53 men had died in the sinking.
“We got into the three lifeboats and the sub came alongside the boat I was in. He said he was sorry he sank the ship but he said ‘that’s my work”. He was a really, really good guy.
“He offered medicine for all the cuts and bruises, but that’s all he could do. I’ve since learned his name is Wolfgang Lüth.”
Luth survived the defeat of Nazi Germany only to be shot days after the end of the European War when he failed to respond to a challenge from a German sentry at the German naval academy he commanded.
Bill’s lifeboat had contained himself and 29 other people. After being rescued, he was taken to Maurice, where he arrived with nothing but a set of pajamas and a waxed raincoat.
He had to remember, “The locals dressed me in boy’s clothes because I was pretty much the shortest man on the boat.”
His later service saw him travel to places like New York, India, Italy and New Zealand.
“He went all over the world and never had a passport. He was very proud of that,” Sue said.
“My dad was very pragmatic and took whatever was thrown at him. When I was little he never talked about the war, but later in his life he told so many different stories about what happened to him in the navy. , although it was never really about the war itself.”
In peacetime he held a wide variety of jobs, including in a steelworks, then as a journeyman plumber, traffic officer and finally in the lost property office at Cardiff Central Police Headquarters.
Sue said that despite being from Cardiff he was a fellow countryman at heart, knowing the names of trees and plants and loving things like fishing.
Mr Judd, who went to the RBL club in Market Drayton for a drink and a chat, died at Woodcroft care home in Market Drayton where he continued his traditional naval habits by continuing to drink grog, which is watered down rum with water.
“Even when he was at Woodcroft, he had a can of lager at 11 a.m. and rum with water at 3 p.m.”
Mr. Judd, who married the late Margaret in 1941, is survived by his daughters Sue and Ann Baker, as well as grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.