TEENAGE sailor Frank Bromhead witnessed the full horrors of fighting sea battles on an ocean half a world away from home.
And to mark his duty with the British Pacific Fleet in 1944 and 1945, Mr Bromhead, of Taylor Hill, who is now 77, has been awarded the Philippine Liberation Medal.
He is the first Briton to receive the honour in this country.
He was presented with the decoration at the Philippine Embassy, travelling to London with wife Barbara and son Andrew.
Mr Bromhead joined the aircraft carrier HMS Indefatigable in 1944. He had volunteered for the Navy at the age of 17.
The Indefatigable was a floating fortress, with an army of 2,500 men on board as well as a host of warplanes.
But such firepower was necessary in the face of bitter resistance from Japan's imperial forces.
The last months of the Pacific War in 1945 saw some of the fiercest naval battles in history.
Mr Bromhead was on a forward gun when the ship became the first British vessel hit by a kamikaze pilot on Easter Monday, 1945.
Indefatigable was among four British carriers attached to the American Third Fleet, under the command of Admiral Chester Nimitz.
Initially, she served with the Home Fleet in Arctic waters and fought the German battleship Tirpitz in July, 1944.
Mr Bromhead served on one Russian convoy before Churchill sent the Indefatigable to the Pacific.
Eventually, she contributed to one third of the Fleet Air Arm sorties against Japan's forces .
"Comradeship was second-to-none," recalls Mr Bromhead. "The only good thing to come out of the war was the comradeship."
Paddock-born Mr Bromhead volunteered for the Navy when just out of boyhood.
"In those days you had Hobson's choice. You'd go down the pit or go into the forces," he added.
He had little idea just how eventful life on the ocean would be.
Mr Bromhead vividly remembers the day-to-day incidents as fighting became more and more fierce, particularly the moment the fleet was attacked by a squadron of kamikaze pilots.
"When we first got attacked by the kamikaze I was on the gun on the left-hand side, near the front of the ship."
His job was to load the eight-barrelled cannon firing at the oncoming plane preparing to crash on deck. As with modern-day suicide bombers, the pilot was prepared to die for his cause.
"We were firing into this thing like billy-o," remembers Mr Bromhead. But despite the bombardment, the plane hit the ship.
The impact killed and wounded dozens of men, said Mr Bromhead.
As the battle raged about them, with an estimated 150 kamikaze pilots in the air, the ship became fully operational within an hour.
Even when not under attack, life on board could be hazardous. Many pilots and aircrew died crash-landing on the carrier.
Indefatigable's aircraft also flew what was officially the last sortie of the war - on August 15, 1945, when her Seafires downed eight enemy aircraft.
Mr Bromhead's elder half-brother, Alfred Revell, who now lives in Canada, also joined the forces. He was with the Coldstream Guards as part of the Desert Rats in North Africa.