Derrick Corfield

Born: 31st March 1927

Brought up; Irlam O’th heights and Pendlebury, Salford

Age at signing up: 16
Division: Merchant Navy
Rank: Cadet Petty Officer and Course Leader

Derrick was too young to serve in the Armed Forces before WW2 ended so he joined the Home Guard and was attached to the Manchester Regiment in 1943, then later the Lancashire Fusillers.

Having previously been a Sea Scout Derrick volunteered to serve in the Merchant Navy and his Mother reluctantly agreed to let him go to sea at the age of 16, thereby achieving his schoolboy ambition.

After a month’s training in Seamanship at a Mariner’s training school in Wallasey where, with his scouting experience, he became a Cadet Petty Officer and Course Leader.

On February 26th 1944 Derrick went to sea as a Crew Member in the fast, ocean going passenger liner, the RMS Orion, which had been refitted to carry 7,000 troops on Wartime Service. Before D-Day in June 1944, Derrick and his comrades ferried US and Canadian troops across the Atlantic to Liverpool for the invasion of Europe. Derrick’s “action station” was manning one of the 20mm anti-aircraft canons after he underwent a crash gunnery course with the Royal Navy in Greenock whilst his ship was undergoing maintenance on Clydeside.

Constantly exposed to the possibility of his ship being torpedoed without warning and having to abandon ship in Mid Atlantic with little prospect of another ship being able to stop and rescue him.

Derrick came close to death when alongside in New York embarking troops, overcome by fumes in the ship’s paint locker and rushed to hospital.

After D-Day, Orion continued to sail all over the World ferrying troops to Malta, then from Egypt to Naples and back to the UK. After hostilities ceased they ferried survivors back to North America, Australia and New Zealand. When the ship was returned to its owners in 1946 Derrick continued at sea in other merchant ships until he came ashore in 1948 after his Mother became ill.

Read More
After his time at Sea, Derrick served with the Fire Brigade for 25 years at their station on the Crescent in Salford. He also worked for the Probation Service and the Ocean Yacht Club Charity helping young people to enjoy adventurous activities.

Family: Derrick married Marjorie on X she sadly passed away in 2017 after a long illness.

Hobbies and Interests: Derrick was keen on amateur dramatics and often did makeup for shows and even went on to teach makeup to other budding enthusiasts in the theatre. A very creative man, he also produced many tapestries during 2020 some of which are hung up around Broughton House!

Read More