George Bleasdale was just 17 when he answered an advert in the Liverpool Echo - a life-changing decision which led to a life of adventure and danger on the high seas.
Despite being told he was too young by his dad, George always knew he wanted to join the Navy as a boy, after years of watching the merchant ships down at Liverpool's Pier Head.
Just two years after enlisting, George lost over half his crew mates after hitting a rogue mine - he was lucky to make it out of it alive.
Now almost 75 years after the war ended, the Huyton grandad's bravery during WW II is still being recognised. .
The 94-year-old told the ECHO: "We were getting called up at 18 and all the lads we were working with were going away. It came in the Liverpool Echo saying they were getting called up at 18, but you could volunteer at 17-and-a-half and pick a service of your choice.
"I said to my dad I want to join the Navy and he said but you're only 17. I said but you were 17 during World War I - and he said it was different in those days."
Along with his cousin Jimmy, George went to Renshaw Street in Liverpool City Centre to enlist and, after a medical assessment, told his dream of joining the Navy would become reality.
George said: "I got a letter saying I'd passed for the Navy. But I wasn't 17-and-a-half then, so they said when I was I'd be called up.
"My cousin, he never went in the Navy, he went in the Army."
In February 1943, after just 10 weeks training, George was deployed to his post in the Light Coastal Forces, serving on a naval Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB), which patrolled the Channel and protected the Navys flotilla from the Germans heavily-armed E-boats.
Just before the war ended George, who was involved in the D Day Landings, found himself operating off the coast of Yugoslavia.
Now aged 19,he said the team called into one island to find people starving and gave them what food they could, later saving up biscuits and chocolate with the intention of returning to help them.
But this led to another life-changing event for George and his shipmates.
He said: "We were having what you call standees in the Navy, you used to have a cup of tea and a biscuit.
"I was in the mess deck at the front and all I saw was a big flash. The next thing water gushed in and we were all turmoiled. It was a rogue mine that had hit us.
"Luckily I was a decent swimmer and I swam around. I thought what am I going to do here, it was all dark. Then I saw bubbles going up. I swam up and next thing I got dragged out by one of my shipmates."
The collision caused the boat to break in half and out of 31 members of the crew, 17 lives were lost and 14 made it out alive.
George was one of eight to escape without any injuries.
He added: "I was very lucky to get out of it alive and I often think of my shipmates. A lot of them got lost.
"This other boat picked me up and gave us blankets and a bit of rum because we were shivering and someone said there's gonna be a bit of gunfire in a minute.
"He said it was nothing to worry about but your bow is still sticking up and it's got to be sunk. They stayed around after to see if there were any survivors, but there were not.
"I didn't know then but years later when I met this chap in Scotland, he was a Scotsman, he came and said I'm the bloke who sank your boat.
"He was told there were some of our lads still in there knocking. But they couldn't break through, so the ship that picked us up decided to sink it, to give them a quick death. It was very unfortunate, I lost a lot of ship mates that day.
"Afterwards I went on to get a draft to a motor launch sweeper and I said to the old chief I've just come off a boat that's been sank by a mine. And he said listen son, if you fell off your bike what would you do, you'd get back on and have a go wouldn't you.
"He said you might save somebody's life."
After his naval career, George, who was born in Aintree , returned to Merseyside and started a family, marrying wife Dolly and having two sons.
George went on to work for Ford in Halewood for 26 years before retiring - 33 years ago.
Now living in Huyton, his contribution to WW II is still being recognised.
After being notified of his eligibility and helped with his application by community support worker David from Blind UK, George, who is partially sighted, was awarded the Legion D'Honneur - France's highest order of merit - for his role in 1944s D-Day landings.
George said: "I got a letter from the British Embassy saying they'd contacted the French Embassy but it would take two or three months.
"It took five months. But then I got a letter saying it had been granted it and they were sending it to me. It was quite a surprise, it's quite a nice medal."
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George said his whole family is incredibly proud as are staff and regulars at local pub Huyton Park where a picture of George with all his medals is framed inside.
He said: "People ask me about it and I say we weren't brave, it was just something we had to do, it was a job.
"They make me out a hero, but I wasn't a hero. I was just an ordinary lad who had to do it. Joining the Navy was a big adventure to me. They were the best days."
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