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Monday 6th July 2020

'Proud' Holly Willoughby shares photo of her grandad on Armed Forces Day

Lucky to be here

Presenter Holly Willoughby has opened up about a near-death experience her grandad had when he was in the Armed Forces during World War Two.

The This Morning host, 39, posted pictures to her Instagram account taken in the Second World War.

The first shows her grandad, Donald, when he was in the Royal Navy, while the second features a ship he served in after it had taken damage in battle.

What did Holly say?

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In the post's caption, Holly explained how her grandad narrowly avoided being a crewmember on HMS Hood. The German navy managed to sink that ship during the Battle of the Denmark Strait, on May 24, 1941.

Holly explained: "My Grandad Donald joined the Navy at the age of 18. He was a Chief Petty Officer during WW2.

Holly Willoughby posted the tribute to her grandad for Armed Forces Day (Credit: Keith Mayhew/Cover Images)

"The ship in the photo, the HMS Resolution, was just one of the ships he was on. I think the picture of the ship was taken when she was torpedoed by French submarine Beveziers at the battle of Dakar, off the West Coast of Africa.

I'm hugely proud of him

"She had a big hole in her port side - the back of the photo says she was listing 13 degrees."

Family history could have been 'very different'

Writing further, Holly told her followers that Donald had been due to go to sea aboard the Hood. Thankfully for him and his family, he missed out due to a leg injury.

She continued: "He was due to serve of HMS Hood but before he joined the crew he injured his leg and missed sailing on her.

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"If he had sailed he would have gone down with the other 1,415 crew members when the Bismarck sank her in 1941...

"Our family history would have been very different. I'm hugely proud of him and grateful to everyone who dedicate themselves to the armed forces.

"Happy Armed Forces Day. #armedforcesday."

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