During the Allied Invasions of Sicily in 1943,Philip’s ship HMS Wallace (covering soldiers going ashore) was targeted by German bombers . ‘We were the target for tonight & they would not stop until we had suffered a fatal hit’, said Harry Hargreaves,serving with Philip.
HMS Wallace couldn’t outpace the bombers. The crew were sitting ducks. With 20 mins before Bomber due to return, Philip, the First Lt had an idea. Crew would throw a wooden raft over side & attach smoke floats. So it would look from sky as if Wallace had been hit and was smoking.
Wallace then sailed away fast for a few minutes, shut off engines, waited in silence, hoping the bomber wd be fooled by the raft. We ‘cursed the stars or at least I did’ said Hargreaves. Then heard the scream of bombs. But not for them - plane aimed at raft, to finish the job.
‘Prince Philip saved our lives that night’ said Harry Hargreaves. ‘You would say to yourself - what are we going to do now and Philip would come up with something’.
And although he did not know it, on the enemy side working with the German Air Force in Malta/Sicily was his sister‘s husband, Prince Christophe.
He knew generally that his brothers in law and others were on the German side.
And yet despite his Allied service in WW2, Philip suffered a lot of anti-German prejudice and hateful words after the war. Many in the elite and even government thought he was too foreign to marry Elizabeth. She refused to listen.
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