97-year-old World War II veteran, Roger Roberts, was ‘delighted’ to get back in the water for the first time since his days on board a Royal Navy cruiser.
Roger, who lives at Foley Grange care home in Kidderminster, joined the army when he was just 16 years old during World War II. He later enrolled in the Royal Navy in 1943, boarding the HMS Charybdis, a Dido-class cruiser launched in 1940.
In October 1943, the HMS Charybdis was hit by German torpedo boats. Working in the engine room at the time of the strike, Roger was told to abandon the quickly sinking ship.
Roger and around 100 other survivors took to the water, swimming for their lives. They were eventually rescued by a British ship and taken to Davenport, and Roger had not been swimming ever since.
When Roger moved to Foley Grange in January 2022, the care staff were amazed to hear his story. Roger told the staff that it was on his bucket-list to get back in the water, as he ‘had always been a strong swimmer’.
Eager to help Roger tick swimming off his bucket-list, Foley Grange’s Home Manager, Hannah Atkinson, got in touch with Wyre Forest Leisure Centre, who were more than happy to invite Roger to the pool.
When the day came for Roger to take his first steps into the water since the war, he couldn’t wait to get started. He said,
‘My motto in life is ‘never give up and keep on going’, and that’s what made me want to get back in the water. When I first got into the pool, it felt amazing, and I was delighted that Foley Grange could make it happen. I was also very glad that this time I was in the water, the water was warm!’
Watching Roger’s return to the water, Hannah felt honoured to witness his achievement. She said,
‘When I watched Roger getting back in the water, it was a very heartfelt moment and brought tears to my eyes. To see Roger so happy and content in the water was amazing, and he was so thankful for the opportunity.
Thanks to the Wyre Forest Leisure Centre, we’re now able to offer swimming sessions to our residents every Tuesday. Roger is a regular attendee!’
For more information about living at Foley Grange, you can contact the home on 01562 543 366, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.idealcarehomes.co.uk.
Foley Grange is a residential and dementia care home operated by Ideal Carehomes. With 66 ensuite bedrooms, attractive décor and luxurious social spaces, Foley Grange is proud to offer person-centred care in a dignified manner.