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John Thomas 1708 Gotts RN

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John Thomas 1708 Gotts

Service no TBA

Leading Seaman RN HMS Cattistock


John is the father of Barbara Adams, who has kindly provided her write-up based on her father’s diaries and her research. This has been abridged for this website.


In 1939 he was an insurance clerk in Stretford, Manchester and single. He was called up 3 Feb 1941 and reported to HMS Royal Arthur.

HMS Royal Arthur

Click on the above to see and hear what HMS Arthur was like

HMS Royal Arthur

HMS Royal Arthur was a training camp for new sailors at Skegness, Lincolnshire. It had been Billy Butlin’s holiday camp, but from the outbreak of the war it was used as a reception camp where naval recruits were processed for onward transit to training camps.


It was one of several assessment camps where new recruits would be assessed and kitted out. Thousands went through such camps.

Prestatyn RAF Station

In June 1941 he was posted to this RAF camp, and appeared to be the only sailor there. It is at Gwaenysgor on the hillside south of Prestatyn, and had a radar station.

The station practised tracking aircraft with radar, though John never spoke much about what he did in the 15 months he was there, though he also had some training at HMS Valkerie.

HMS Valkerie

John spent a month in 1942 being trained here, going via Fleetwood by boat. It was the RAF No 1 Radar Training School based in and around the Douglas Head Hotel. This may have been to consolidate any work he may have done on Radar at RAF Prestatyn.


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He also spent time at St Budeaux camp near Plymouth, also at HMS Valkerie again, and gained his Radar Control Class 3 & Class 2.

C/o Wikipedia/IWM