HMS Hear My Story Image Gallery

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The entrance to HMS Hear My Story at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth          Entrance to the Naval Families section in HMS Hear My Story at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth          Interactive timeline in the foreground and exhibitions behind in HMS Hear My Story         

 Visitors try the interactive timeline in HMS Hear My Story         Battle of Jutland artefacts in HMS Hear My Story          Bofors Gun in HMS Hear My Story

Artefact wall in HMS Hear My Story, including Cockleshell canoe and Duke of York nameplate          Maps showing Naval activity in HMS Hear My Story          Exhibition displays in HMS Hear My Story

Baker. Soldier. ‘Sailor’

The story of Alfred Smith as a baker, a soldier and a ‘sailor’ is told in the different items kindly donated by his family. When the First World War broke out Alfred Frank Smith was a baker in Sussex; to 'do his bit' he joined the local Volunteer Training Regiment - a sort of Home Guard - but then in 1916 he opted to join the Royal Navy and go to sea.

However, instead of joining a ship he became an infantry soldier in the Royal Naval Division and, despite being a married man of 26, he was classified as a Boy Sailor! He was assigned to the 'Hood ' Battalion as a Lewis Gunner and sent to fight in the trenches in France. On the 28th September 1918 he was hit in the chest by a German bullet which lodged itself close to his heart. Luckily the bullet was at the end of its flight and it didn't cause serious damage. It was enough though to take Alfred out of the fight and into a convalescent camp at Blandford in Dorset where, wearing his blue hospital uniform, the local people would take him into their homes for meals. Demobilised in 1919 Alfred bought a Newsagent & Tobacconist shop in Lewis. He had 10 children and died in 1974 with the German bullet still lodged close to his heart.