John Topping's Story
John Topping volunteered to join the Merchant Navy in 1943, aged 16, as an apprentice.
When he was 17 he joined the Royal Navy, serving with the deep sea rescue tugs, T124T, until his De-mob in 1946. He served three and half a years in the Middle East, Far East, and America as an Able Seaman. When the ship was not involved in combat he kept the equipment serviceable and cleaned the ship. John was awarded campaign medals during this period.
"On board the HM Rescue Tugs we went to the rescue of a merchant ship that had been attacked by torpedoes. I was ordered to go on board with two other men to secure the tow rope. However, as the fog closed we became stranded and were adrift on board for three days. The ship contained petrol so we were not allowed to light a fire. Therefore there was no form of heating or light. After three days our own ship HM rescue tug found us and they towed the ship to Northern Ireland.
On another occasion I was wounded in Northern Italy and whilst I was in hospital I met another man from Farnworth named Albert Alldred. I met him again 51 years later at the Farnworth Veterans Club", he has sadly passed away."
On leaving the forces John got married, had two boys and two girls and returned to his previous occupation as a miner.
John later became the Chairman of the Farnworth Ex-Services Association.
Sadly, John passed away in January 2005