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Posted 10 February 2016 - 02:51 AM
"John Coundley, who has died aged 91, was a merchant navy officer who intercepted a Japanese radio signal indicating their intention to surrender at the close of the Second World War; later he became a property developer and amateur racing driver.
A descendant of French aristocrats who escaped the Revolution, John Owen Coundley was born on April 13 1924 at Brockenhurst, Hampshire, and educated at Bishop Wordsworth School, Salisbury, and the County Grammar School, Brockenhurst.
After training as a radio operator in Southampton, in November 1940, aged 16, he joined his first ship, Gypsum Queen, as Second Radio Officer. He served throughout the war, surviving several brushes with death. In July 1942 he was in Danmark when it sank, after being twice torpedoed by a U-boat, and had to swim from his lifeboat to the foundering vessel to retrieve the emergency radio transmitter."
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