Stanley COCKING (english version)
RANK: A/B NUMBER: P/JX 565412
DATE BORN: 31 – 8 – 1925
SERVICE/REGIMENT/SHIP: H.M.S. PENELOPE
In Algiers we heard a buzz of a coming invasion we called at Malta and when we left we were joined with other ships – destroyers and American warship – we passed Sicily – at Messina other ships – L.S.T.’s – tank landing craft joined us we were one of many in the invasion force!!
It was dark I cannot remember if there was a moon – but I could see the dark outlines of many ships. Anzio at last – landing craft in position – the big barrage of guns began – we were off shore pounding with our guns – one couldn’t see what was happening on the beaches – we were aiming at the German artillery in the hills above the beachhead – we were told on the antennae at intervals what was happening – We were closed up on 4“ guns anticipating hostile aircraft. I happened to look up at the sky over Anzio – Our bomber aircraft flying in from the sea to the north of Anzio – The murderous anti-craft enemy artillery barrage was terrific – But they flew straight on – It seemed without fear – Many were set on fire – exploding – spiraling down. I’ll never forget the bravery of those airmen.
My age 18 I was in awe of what was happening all around me. I cannot remember how many days we were there but when the Ammo ran out – we went back to Naples for more and reloaded a number of times.
When the beachhead was more or less full established the Penelope went south of Anzio to bombard the enemy to assist help the 8th army to join up with the Anzio lads.
There was a nice sheltering cove we steamed in to more than once in that February 44 shelling away to our hearts content – Jerry got fed up – brought in a G” gun and retaliated. We made smoke stood off at a safe distance – and when they had finished – we returned and hit back with our G” again – Back to Naples again to reload more Ammo – then on the way back to Anzio – at 06. 55 on the 18th February we were torpedoed – twice – huge explosion split in two – sank.
But that’s another story.