Social History Audio Memories John Distin
Went to school in Dartmouth, left at the age of 14. Started crab fishing with a man named Cramp during the early years of WWII. Joined Sea Cadets, volunteered for duty on a ship at 2s 6d a day. Joined water boat on the river supplying navy ships, river water desalinated.
Boat sent to Antwerp, caught in bad weather in Portland Race, became Skipper when Bosun jumped ship. Alan Percy from Dartmouth became Mate. Stayed with boat until end of war.
Returned to Dartmouth & fishing until called up for Army Service with Royal Engineers. Took part in the evacuation of Palestine. On de-mob returned to crab fishing with Jack Bell, hit by a plague of Octopus.
Started contracting work on the river – checking moorings, passenger trips, 1st Tall Ships race, ferry to Noss ship yard. Port always busy with lots to do. Bought redundant navy craft and burnt them to salvage copper rivets & fittings etc.
Became deputy pilot to Dave Griffiths and later qualified as a pilot for naval boats. Oil Tankers for Naval College, Timber Ships to Totnes Russian Fish Transfer boats.
Served as Skipper on a dredger called Penurgic for Philip & Son for 5 Years dredging area for yacht marina.