Martin was accepted by the
Admiralty Board for pilot training in 1938. He attended Course No.
5 set up in HMS Frobisher in early March 1939.
He was transferred to the Naval College at Greenwich in early May 1939 for flying training at Gravesend. From there he went to RAF Netheravon for intermediate
and advanced flying and was awarded "Wings" in November 1939. In January 1940 Derek transferred to RN Fighter Training School at HMS Raven,
now known as Southampton Airport.
In April 1940 he was appointed
to his first operational squadron of Skuas at Donibristle (Firth of Forth);
from there he flew to Prestwick en-route
to HMS Ark Royal waiting in the Clyde before proceeding for operations off Norway. However, on the way, at about 800 feet Derek's aircraft
suffered total engine failure and he crash landed (safely) into a ploughed field at Troon. He subsequently flew another Skua aircraft to join Ark Royal
and 800 Squadron before making way to Norway where they were to carry out protective patrols over naval operations in the region of Narvik
and the Fleet anchorage at Hartstad.
Early in June, the Norwegian
campaign was abandoned and with evacuation complete the fleet, with HMS
Ark Royal and HMS Glorious, sailed for Scapa
convoying the merchant ships with recovered troops. On 7th June "Glorious", with two destroyers was detached and sailed independently for Scapa.
Having no air patrols she was sighted by two German battleships on June 8th, and all three ships were sunk with the loss of 1,520 men.
Subsequently, 15 Skuas from
800 & 803 Squadrons from Ark Royal attacked German naval forces in
Trondheim on 13th June at 0100 in daylight.
Observed when still 70 miles from their targets they encountered on arrival very heavy flak and many Me109s and 110s. Eight aircraft were destroyed,
seven aircrew killed and nine captured. Seven aircraft returned to the Ark - two having aborted their attack. Lt. Cdr. Martin was captured and remained a POW
until May 1945. He was in at least seven different POW camps, the last one being Stalag Luft 111 (north camp), from which in January 1945
they were marched out ahead of the Russian forces. He was finally released in Lubeck, arriving back in England on VE day.
He resigned the Royal Navy as a ND (dagger) in June 1966.
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