James (Jim) Andrew Hingston, the son of Howard and Annie, was 21 and studying gardening at the outbreak of the second world war. He volunteered to join the navy and served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve from December 1939 until early 1946, seeing active service in most theatres of the naval war although he did not reach the Pacific until after the surrender of Japan. From involvement in a surface gun action in the South Atlantic in July 1940, to the taking of the surrender of Japanese bases in Java after the war had ended, his experiences took in heavy losses to U-boats on an Atlantic convoy, the invasion of Madagascar, the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, the sinking of a U-boat, and kamikaze air attack in July 1945. But the experience was not without its pleasures; besides the companionship of shipboard life he visited every inhabited continent except Australia.
Jim did not write about his war and rarely spoke of it. As his son I rather took his experiences for granted and it is only in retrospect that I have appreciated how full they were. It was perfectly possible to serve in the armed forces throughout the war without hearing a shot being fired in anger or moving far from home. I have collected here a few snippets that he left, supplemented by notes setting the background.
Jim's war diary
HMS Jasmine - a Flower class corvette in which he served for over two years
Two memorable leaves - in Egypt, and in and around London, in 1944