When HMS Ark Royal sails into Palma on Sunday, it will bring back mixed emotions for Ina Haywood who has lived in Majorca for 37 years. Her late husband Roy was on board the second Ark Royal when she was sunk off Gibraltar on Friday 13th, November, 1941 while she was on a mission to intercept the Bismark. He survived and the two got married as soon as the Royal Navy rating made it back to England. Ina and Roy met when she was 15, but then war broke out and Roy joined up, “he was a year under age, but that did not seem to matter,” she says. “Roy went off to war and I remained in Derbyshire. The Nazi propaganda machine was constantly claiming that the Ark Royal had been sunk, but as a rule, the BBC never broadcast news of ships being sunk until the next of kin had been informed. But on that Friday, my father left for work after lunch, only to return an hour later. I had just turned the radio off, so I missed the end of the news. We were all extremely concerned at first, the BBC broke with protocol and broadcast the news straight away because she was such an important ship. Fortunately, Roy managed to send us a telegram the next day, I think it was from Gib, to say he was all right - what a relief that was, and he managed to get home relatively quickly on another Royal Navy ship. Sadly, some of the many survivors were lost on the way home, but Roy managed to make it - but they were all in a real state, Roy's boots were falling to pieces and he had a long beard. But they were given survivors leave, longer than usual. As soon as he got home we decided to get married as quickly as possible to make the most of his leave and we went down to London for our honeymoon. The capital was bombed the night before we arrived, but during our four days in London, no more bombs fell, although the Blitz continued the day we left, I was glad to leave after a wonderful four days,” she said. “I was frightened to death...” Roy and Ina spent Christmas together and then he was sent off to join the Russian Convoys for the rest of the war. When the war ended Roy, who had remained a rating throughout “prefering to be one of the lads,” and Ina headed straight to London on VE Day. “I went down to Portsmouth to meet him along with thousands of other Navy wives then we jumped on the train to London. “Watching the absolutely wonderful Jubilee celebration brought back some very happy memories. “When we got to London there were people everywhere and great queues for all the pubs and restaurants. We finally got into one bar, but there were so many people and Roy was desperately thirsty he grabbed a vase of flowers from a table, pulled out the flowers and gulped down the water. “It was such a wonderful celebration and this week's Jubilee was glorious to see, so many people back on the streets of London after all the things we have heard and read about the Monarchy not being popular.”


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