Submariner from Northampton sees himself in triumphant photo for first time... 73 years after it was taken

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A submariner from Northampton has, for the first time, seen photographs of him with his victorious crew more than 73 years later.

Eric Wills, from Kingsthorpe, who served on seven different Allied submarines during the Second World War, had his photograph taken with shipmates of the P614 in Scotland in 1942.

The photograph was extra special because it depicted the homecoming of the submarine. Just nine days earlier it had scared off five German U-boats, and the captain was later decorated with a Distinguished Service Order for sinking one of them.

Mr Wills, now aged 94, was sent the pictures - along with others taken the same day - by the son of a deceased fellow sailor, who unearthed them from the Imperial War Museum’s collection.

Mr Wills said: “I hadn’t been aware of them since the day they were taken.

“They’re really good photos, and I can still name every single person on there.

“I was really pleased to see them.”

The picture of the whole crew, showing Mr Wills fourth from the right in a light sweater, depicts the P614 with its Jolly Roger.

Having been protecting a vital convoy to Russia in the treacherous Barents Sea, they had all just arrived back in Scotland where they were about to be resupplied by their mother ship.

Mr Wills said: “When returning if you’d had a sinking of an enemy boat confirmed, you would fly the Jolly Roger with certain symbols sewn onto it.

“The one you can see on our flag tells everyone it was a U-boat.”

Mr Wills has over the years awarded many medals for his service as a submariner across the world in all theatres.

He has also met Prince William - Commodore-in-chief of the submarine service - who was quick to compliment Mr Wills on his impressive collection.

Mr Wills said: “He’s a very nice man and he said he’d tell the Duke of Edinburgh, who’s the same age as me, that he’d met me.

“It was quite an honour to shake hands with a future king.”