‘Sub hunter’ Arthur felt snubbed

War veteran Arthur Hurst, of Todmorden
War veteran Arthur Hurst, of Todmorden

A SECOND world war veteran has criticised the recent Veterans’ Day barbecue hosted by the Todmorden branch of the Royal British Legion.

Mr Arthur Hurst, aged 86, of Beaumont Street, said he had sat in the Legion club in White Hart Fold for the best part of an hour, but no-one had come to speak to him.

Mr Hurst, who has stewarded at the club in the past, said it was obvious he was a veteran as he was wearing a blazer with his Royal Navy badge and medals. “I was angry, disappointed and upset,” he said.

Mr Hurst was in the Home Guard before volunteering for the RN and training at Collingwood before moving up to Scotland, where he trained as a sonar operator in anti-submarine warfare.

“I went across to the USA in 1943 on the Queen Mary, linking up with the HMS Kilmacolm in Chicago, which was one of seven ‘sub hunters’,” he said.

The boats travelled through the Great Lakes to Newfoundland, spent a ‘dry’ Christmas in Portland, Maine, and went on to Boston. Bermuda and Trinidad, where they picked up a convoy.

Protecting convoys in the Atlantic from U-boats, they also went down to South America, linking up with convoys ehading for Africa. “We were also seeking submarines that tried to escape to South America from the North Atlantic,” he said.

Mr Hurst was hospitalised at Freetown on Africa’s West Coast after nearly three years of sonar work. “The continual ‘ping...ping’ - it got me,” he explained.

After sailing home to Fareham, Hampshire, he was discharged from service just as the Japanese surrendered to bring the war to an end, eventually marrying Joan and settling in Todmorden to raise his family.

Legion chairman Mr Bill Birch said he was concerned to hear what had happened.

“If we have missed someone I can only apologise,” he said. “If there has been a problem with the day we will sort it out for the future.”