‘Lucky fellow’ recalls his HMS Mourne mates on Remembrance Day

Peter Gate (centre, and with his wife Elizabeth to his left) reflects on his fallen mates. Picture: Chris Kershaw
Peter Gate (centre, and with his wife Elizabeth to his left) reflects on his fallen mates. Picture: Chris Kershaw

PETER Gate (88) served in the Royal Navy during World War II.

The Heathridge resident’s HMS Mourne helped protect the convoy involved in the Normandy landings in June 1944.

But the one-year-old escort ship was to fall victim to a German submarine about a week later, torpedoed in the English Channel.

‘It got sunk on the 15th of June, 1944, a week after D-Day,’ he told the Weekender after Tuesday’s Remembrance Day service at Central Park, Joondalup.

‘And 120 of me mates went down with it,’ he said, his voice catching.

There were survivors, as many as 30.

But Peter wasn’t among them because he was not on board that day. He was in hospital recovering from losing part of his fingers in an ammunition accident on the ship two weeks earlier.

“So I’m a lucky fellow,” he said.

His good fortune has extended to living the past 37 years in Heathridge with wife Elizabeth.

Who was he thinking of during Tuesday’s Wanneroo Joondalup RSL-City of Joondalup service?

“My mates,” he said. “And my uncle Ernest Harden; he was killed in the First World War.

“My mother left me his medals; he died on the 17th of August, 1917.

“So I remembered them all.”

See also Recollections of war