Harold Siddall married Mabel in June
1945 and I, Peter, was born in November 1946, followed by
my sister, Barbara in 1952.
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.
Harold in German POW camp Stalag VIIA in the
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
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,