Petty Officer George Henry Joseph Monk, R.N. Collection
(1920-1949)
 
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My father, George Henry Joseph Monk, was born in 1920 in Portsmouth as son to a father who had also been in the Royal Navy during the First World War. As my father died in an accident at work in 1949, I don't know what he did on leaving school, but he did try to enlist but, was initially declined because of flat feet. Undeterred, he became a civilian NAAFI Canteen Assistant on board HMS King George V (KGV). The date of this is uncertain, but he bought an Associated Press aerial photo of KGV and captioned it “Up Chesapeake Bay”. On 15/01/1941 KGV sailed from Scapa Flow carrying Lord Halifax, the new British Ambassador to the U.S. They crossed the Atlantic and sailed up Chesapeake Bay to meet President Roosevelt on his presidential yacht at Annapolis. The caption suggests that George was on board at that time and my mother reports that he certainly was at the sinking of the Bismarck which was in May 1941.

After KGV collided with HMS Punjabi in fog on 01/05/1942, George is photographed with a bandaged head and wearing a white NAAFI jacket. Then, on 01/08/1942 he entered Royal Navy service as a Canteen Assistant. He left KGV on 29/04/1943 and on 17/05/1943 was promoted to Canteen Manager. At that time he was 22 years of age and my mother was told that he was the youngest in this role. His albums contain a number of officially produced photos stamped Central Office of Information or Ministry of Information that, presumably, were on sale in the ship. In addition the albums contain photos taken on his own camera. Because of his 6 feet 3 inches height he was nicknamed Lofty. His Certificate of Service shows a number of shore based postings along with service on HMS Invicta, Landing Ship Infantry, on HMS Assistance, a repair ship, on HMS Tasajera, Landing Ship Tank and on HMS Activity, an escort carrier. He was released from service on 06/03/1947 with the rank of Petty Officer. In his effects were two nickel plated cigarette cases. Unsurprisingly, one bore the crest and name HMS King George V, but the other had the crest and name of HMS Hood.
-Reg Monk, 2015

George Henry Joseph Monk seen on HMS King George V his in NAAFI uniform.



George Monk seen on HMS King George V his in NAAFI uniform.



George Monk seen behind the counter at the ship's canteen.



George H. J. Monk seen in a storeroom on HMS King George V.



George H. J. Monk (right) and an unidentified crewman on HMS King George V.



George H. J. Monk (right) and an unidentified man seen in front of the forward 14" guns on HMS King George V.



George H. J. Monk (left) and two unidentified men seen after the sinking of HMS Punjabi (May 1, 1942).



Petty Officer George H. J. Monk.



The Crossing the Line ceremony on HMS King George V.



King Neptunus Rex and his court seen during the Crossing the Line ceremony on HMS King George V.



King Neptunus Rex and his court seen during the Crossing the Line ceremony on HMS King George V.



George's Crossing the Line certificate.
(All photos from the collection of P.O. George H. J. Monk, R.N.)
Courtesy of Reg Monk


MaritimeQuest would like to thank Reg Monk, George's son, for scanning this collection and allowing us to publish it on the site.


P.O. George H. J. Monk, R.N. Collection
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Page published Oct. 11, 2015