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AND SO ...

AFTERWORD by Harold's son, Peter Siddall

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but first a summary map of the long journey from Sphaxia back to Plymouth ....

Harold Siddall married Mabel in June 1945 and I, Peter, was born in November 1946, followed by my sister, Barbara in 1952.

While dad was undergoing his service hardships, things were not much easier for Mabel. She joined the A.R.P. and worked in Devonport during the dreadful blitzes delivered on that town during 1940 and 1941. For the work she did she was awarded the BEM. Later she joined the A.T.S. and served in Signals on the Isle of Man.

Upon returning to the UK, dad linked up again with Bob Andrews in Newton Ferrers and he became my Godfather. He also renewed acquaintance with Syd Pownall from ML 1030. Herbert Johnstone, who swam ashore from the Royal Oak in Scapa Flow, now lives in Stonehouse. But so many others just disappeared.

Dad the wrote the above memoirs in his immaculate copperplate handwriting, covering 240 sides of A4 paper and gave them to us in 1995.

In 1997 we learned that dad had cancer. It was a form of asbestosis, presumably contracted during those years in the engine rooms, where asbestos was used freely, without any precautions being taken. The debate as to whether the Royal Navy was aware of the risks will no doubt continue for a long time and the British Government will stone-wall. The fact is that in late August 1997 dad died. At his funeral I read some pertinent extracts from the memoirs, which resulted in many members of the family and friends asking for a copy.


1942 - Harold in German POW camp Stalag VIIA in the early summer


1942 - Mabel after receiving her British Empire Medal (BEM) at Buckingham Palace

The original document covers his childhood and upbringing. In discussions with my mother and my sister we decided it would be appropriate to release for wider distribution the part concerning his service life up to the end of the war. Little did we realise at the time the power of distribution of the internet!

My sister, Barbara, and I want this text to serve as a memorial to a wonderful Father, supported by a wonderful Mother.

Peter Siddall, Sussex, November 1999


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