Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Feb. 2022: Photos From Along the Way

Baker's Dozen on Home Turf

Heading home from TVP West


Most of the following photos are recent, taken during walks on the Thames Valley Parkway (western branch). A few deal with 'moderne arte' and one is approaching 50-years old. 

Baker's Dozen ; )

Please click here to view more Photos From Along the Way

Photos GH

Friday, February 18, 2022

Video: "FAINT FOOTSTEPS," WW II (Part 8)

 An Important Combined Ops Exercise Goes Awry

The WWII Training Exercise Schuyt 1, May 1942

WWII landing crafts penetrated 'hostile shore defences' under the
watchful eye of King George VI from waters off Irvine, Scotland


The Canadian sailors and officers who volunteered for the Combined Operations (C.O.) organization in December, 1941 were soon involved in training exercises - handling landing crafts filled with British soldiers - at C.O. training camps near Irvine, Scotland (and initially, Hayling Island, England, and Inveraray, Scotland) in the spring of 1942. Raw recruits, sea-sick soldiers under the thoughtful observation of C.O. Commander Louis Mountbatten, PM Winston Churchill and King George VI - not everything went off as planned. 

My father helped nudge a stranded landing craft off a sandbar, but was left
behind in the waters near Irvine. An Aldis lamp spotted him. Photo - IWM


The video incorporates many details from a story (below) written by my father, Doug Harrison (RCNVR, Combined Operations), and photographs from my trip to Scotland in 2014.

Exercise Schuyt 1: Marooned On a Submerged Sand Bar

by Doug Harrison, L/Sea, RCNVR.

(As found in St. Nazaire to Singapore: The Canadian Amphibious War Volume 1, page 46)

It was so damn dark. "Keep closed up!"
I can still hear Andy Wedd's voice to this day
(I am glad I saw him shortly before his death).

At the night exercise the time of arrival was midnight. The crew was Koyl, Art Bailey, Stoker Lank (and his pail — Stoker Willard Lank was always chewing kelp) and myself, with a full complement of English soldiers.

Believe me, these fellows were sick soldiers. Bailey and I lashed ourselves down as best as we could (onto canvas toppers) and emptied the helmets as the soldiers handed them up.

The assault landing craft (ALC) has an open channel up the middle, so
troops can hurry off; the benches for sitting are under 'canvas toppers'.
Caption w original photo: A23097. Troops landing on the beach from
an assault craft, Isle of Wight area...Lt. E.E. Allen, IWM.

Destination or landing, I don't remember. Troon? I can remember two perimeter lights vaguely in the distance. We were perhaps headed south and it was rough.

The following or all of this is true.

Our craft ran aground on a sand bar. Koyl ordered Bailey and I overboard to look or tread for deeper water. And he soon followed. First we tried rocking the craft in conjunction with the motors. No luck.

Wandering in sea boots, underwear, my duffel coat, I fell into deeper water (which wasn't too cold fortunately) and hollered, "Over here, sir!" So we worked our asses off to free the ALC and we were successful. The soldiers helped to rock the craft.

Koyl's fuming, ''We are going to be late!" And he is flotilla commander.

Bailey and Koyl were able to get aboard. I wasn't and they drove off and left me out in the water. I was scared, but I felt I knew Mr. Koyl.

I discarded all my clothing but uniform pants and underwear, found a sand bar and waited it out. They made their landing eventually but.... how is he going to find me (this is unbelievable)?

I thrashed my arms, swam on my back for short stints to maintain circulation and after an eternity I saw an Aldis Lamp blinking. Motors were cut, then revved up, and cut. Koyl had a fair idea perhaps but I don't know how he knew where to locate me.

Eventually our voices came reasonably close together. I was caught in the light of the Aldis lamp and picked up after one and a half or two hours waiting. My hands were all wrinkled. I felt all in.

When we returned to Irvine, Koyl, Bailey and I hurried to a local pub (now known as the Harbour Light).* We were given hot porridge, rum and our clothes were taken to be dried and we were wrapped in blankets. All of this help came from ladies.

It was late afternoon before we left the pub - Royal Sovereign or King George?

I was a very lucky fellow. In the darkness Koyl and Bailey took awhile before they missed me. I didn't really know what went amiss but the fact that the landing had to be made on time was uppermost in Koyl's mind.

[*The Harbour Light was mentioned by the creator of St. Nazaire to Singapore as well, but I believe the pub was the King's Arms Hotel, formerly owned by the Skinner family (as I was told by the current owner's son). The Harbour Light was formerly owned by the Burns family and known as the Queen Victoria. Editor GH]

All's well that ends well, I say.

Dad likely enjoyed the King's rum; I enjoyed the Guinness 72 years later

To view the previous video in this series, please link to "FAINT FOOTSTEPS, World War II, Part 7"

A series of "Faint Footsteps" videos can be found also on YouTube, e.g., Faint Footsteps WWII, Part 1

Questions or comments can be addressed to GH at gordh7700@gmail.com

Video and Unattributed Photos GH

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Training for Combined Ops: Shortly Before the Dieppe Raid (Parts 1 - 3)

 Schuyt 1 and 2, Lady Helen and a Silent Pact

And Where is the Top Hat Pub Again, Dad?

RFA Ennerdale, Landing Ship Gantry. Photo Credit - Wikipedia


Exercise Schuyt I, an important training venture with important observers (PM Churchill, C.O. Cmdr. Louis Mountbatten, and King George VI!) took place near Irvine and Troon, Scotland prior to the Dieppe raid. My father recalls his experience aboard - and then not on board! - a landing craft that became stuck on sandbars during the exercise. Officers recall other events, and in-between, my father discovers a lovely pub and a lovely lady.

1. Shortly Before the Dieppe Raid - Part 1

A13228. Lord Louis Mountbatten (on right) watching a landing exercise
on the beach at the combined operations centre at Dundonald Camp.
Here the men making their way out of sandbagged emplacements.
Photo - Lt. S.J. Beadell, RN Official Photographer, IWM.

2. Shortly Before the Dieppe Raid - Part 2

Doug Harrison and Frank Herring (RCNVR and Combined Ops) find a
happy pub in Southend-On-Sea while training at HMS Westcliff, 1942

3. Shortly Before the Dieppe Raid - Part 3

War 1941 - 1945, Volume 1, Page 50. NB Photo by Len Birkenes*

Please click here for more information about training experiences of Canadians who volunteered for Combined Operations - Photographs: Camps, Landing Crafts (Parts 1 - 15)

Questions and comments can be sent to gordh7700@gmail.com

Unattributed Photos GH

Training for Combined Ops: Shortly Before the Dieppe Raid (Part 3)

 Schuyt Exercises 1 and 2, Lady Helen (LCA 17) and a Silent Pact

And Two Canadian Flotillas of Landing Craft at Work

War 1941 - 1945, Volume 1, Page 50. NB Photo by Len Birkenes*


About the title of these posts: The story of 'LCA 17, Lady Helen' by David J. Lewis (RCNVR, Combined Ops) can be found in Part 1 of this short series of WWII reports; the story about a 'Silent Pact' by Doug Harrison (RCNVR, Combined Ops) can be found in Part 2. Other details and links to related stories are sprinkled throughout the first two posts as well. 

Has the best been saved 'til last? Quite possibly, though I am biased, of course, and lean toward Part 2 since it is a story by my father, and I have found a contact number for The Old Hat Pub in Southend-On-Sea in which - I believe - part of Dad's story could actually haven taken place (and not the Top-Hat Pub). Unfortunately, the pub is closed because of the pandemic. 

So, onto Part 3, a story by Canadian Navy Officer William Sinclair concerning important details about the early training of Canadian officers and ratings in the use and deployment of landing crafts, and more. His story continues into the time of the Dieppe Raid and may provide a springboard into more stories re that tragic event.

[*I have found the obituary of Len Birkenes and will try to make contact with surviving family members. Perhaps some sharing of RCNVR, Combined Ops information can be one positive result.]

Early Engagements of the First Two Canadian Flotillas

by W. R. Sinclair

Intro by David Lewis, editor of St. Nazaire to Singapore, Volumes 1 and 2 (with the able assistance of his wife Catherine and Len Birkenes):

Following his description of initial training at HMS Northney, Combined Ops based on Hayling Island, Hampshire, and HMS Quebec on Loch Fyne, Bill Sinclair writes of his participation in exercises "Schuyt I and II."

Sinclair's story begins:

*David Lewis adds the following as a footnote: Mountbatten had just taken over as "Representative" of Combined Operations, not yet Chief.

Editor's Note - Adjacent to HMS Dundonald as mentioned above, Camp Auchengate (Navy) was located. Canadian sailors recall living in bell tents, sneaking off property to hike into Irvine for pints at Harbour Lights pub, adjacent to the channel. Towns mentioned above, e.g., Ayr, Prestwick, etc., may have been the officers' choices. Related photos below:

St. Nazaire to Singapore, Volume 1, page 53 (David J. Lewis)

"Bell Tent at Irvine: Don Westbrook (Hamilton) and Butler emerging"

My father's Navy records reveal movement from Halifax (Stadacona) to 
Combined Operations in Jan. 1942. Early training was at Northney and 
a change in location beginning in April, 1942. Inveraray, Irvine, etc.
Questions, comments can be sent to GH at gordh7700@gmail.com

Officers outside their Nissen Hut, HMS Dundonald, Irvine.
L-R: David Lewis, Johnny Boak, Davy Rogers, Charlie
Pennyfather, Jake Koyl before Schuyts I and II
Photo - St. Nazaire to Singapore, page 44

Len Birkenes returning on Board through a makeshift gangway

Finding relatives of Len Birkenes may result in better photos!
Joe 'Spenny' Spencer is far left. RCNVR, Combined Ops

Bill Sinclair's story continues:

RFA Ennerdale, at Greenock, Scotland. From the collection of Joe Spencer

Sinclair writes:

RFA Ennerdale

This ship, a 10,000 ton Admiralty tanker, was fitted with gantries and carried 14 LCM (landing craft, mechanised) as deck cargo. In company with the Daffodil we sailed for the Solent, and what looked like a forthcoming operation**. Our coastal convoy left the Clyde about the 10th of June, 1942. Our first port was Belfast Loch, following which we put in at Milford haven on the Welsh coast.

We then proceeded across the Bristol Channel and along the coast of Deven, past Lundy Island and round land's End. Bishop's Rock and the Scilly Isles were visible to the south and west. About 10pm, just as it was getting dark, and when were a few miles off Portland Bill, our convoy was attacked by some eight JU 88s. After a few close ones, two of the Gerries were shot down and we proceeded to Portsmouth where the Ennerdale went into dry dock for two weeks as some of her plates had sprung due to near misses. (St. Nazaire to Singapore, page 50)

David Lewis added the following footnote to paragraph 1 above:

From what I have read, Operation Rutter (raid on Dieppe, France ) was scheduled for July 7, 1942. Operation Jubilee (Dieppe) took place approx. 5 weeks later. As well, I suppose this would be a good time to say that my father was aboard the Ennerdale when it was attacked by JU 88s, saw who tried to shoot down one of them, and later wrote a pretty good description of what happened from a rating's POV. His account compares nicely, in part, to Sinclair's own.

Part of my father's story - written in the mid-1970s - follows here, with a link to the conclusion:

Navy Memoirs - Chapter 4: A Taste of Dieppe, 1942

It is very difficult to put a finger on where I was and when I was there because I have only my service sheet and memory to go by and neither seem to be up-to-date. However, I believe we went from Irvine to H.M.S. Quebec (Inveraray, Scotland), then to H.M.C.S. Niobe (a Canadian transit centre near Greenock, Scotland) and then aboard the oil tanker Ennerdale at Greenock in late April, 1942. Our barges were loaded on the ship too, by use of booms and winches. I do recall that before leaving Greenock one of the ship’s crew said to me, “I wish we weren’t going on this trip, matey.” When I asked why he said, “‘Cause we got a bloody basinful last time!” We got our basinful this time too.

During the trip down the west coast of England it seems we pulled into an Irish seaport one night; however, farther down the coast of England we headed south past Milford Haven, Wales, and all was serene.

We usually had a single or maybe two Spitfires for company. There were eight ships in the convoy; we were the largest, the rest were trawlers. Of course, the Spitfires only stayed until early dusk, then waggled their wings and headed home.

On June 22, 1942, my mother’s birthday, O/D Seaman Jack Rimmer of Montreal and I were reminiscing on deck. We must remember there was daylight saving time and war time, and to go by the sun setting one never knew what time it was. Jack and I were feeling just a little homesick - not like at first - and it was a terribly hard feeling to describe then.

Our Spitfire waggled his wings and kissed us goodnight though it was still quite light, and no sooner had he left when ‘action stations’ was blared out on the Klaxon horn.

Eight German JU 88s came from the east, took position in the sun and attacked us from the stern. It was perhaps between eight and nine o’clock because I had undressed and climbed into my hammock next to Stoker Fred Alston. When the Klaxon went everybody hit the deck and tried to dress, and being the largest ship, we knew we were in for it.

(From "Dad, Well Done", page 19)

Please click here to read the conclusion of the story.

Bill Sinclair's account continues:

HMS Calshot

Our Flotilla proceeded under its own power to Calshot, located at the eastern tip of the New Forest. Here we did nothing much for two weeks except for marches into the New Forest and some interesting bus trips to Southampton, Winchester, Andover and Salisbury. We then sailed in the Daffodil back down the English Channel to Milford Haven (Wales), then to the Clyde.

See Comb. Ops establishment # 33. As found in Combined Operations
by Londoner Clayton Marks, page 7

HMS Roseneath is a Comb. Ops establishment on above map; see no. 9
Paragraphs above are from St. Nazaire to Singapore, Vol. 1, pg. 51

Unfortunately, very few words are recorded about the type(s) of training the Canadians in Combined Ops experienced. More words are shared about the location of some trips. Such is life, as my father would say. Hopefully, more information is out there re Comb. Ops training and I'll find it.

Sinclair's account now goes on to include details related to the role of Canadians in Combined Ops during the Dieppe raid. (My father missed the raid by one day, he writes. He was on leave at Calshot Castle and knew something big was happening as he watched ships and landing craft leave The Solent from Southampton).

Bill Sinclair's account continues with the photo and paragraphs below, from the same source:

[Editor: Just a few pages later in the text St. Nazaire to Singapore, David Lewis shares many relevant details re the loss of Cliff Wallace. Below is a photo and opening paragraph of his account as found on page 60 of Volume 1.]

Sinclair's account continues:

We arrived at the shore about 5:30 A.M. Our beach was at Pourville, under its code name Green beach, and there we landed them in good order although firing was heavy.

Thence we left for "Pool" and floated there for some time, with other craft. We were supposed to enter the harbour, to the "Basin de Paris", to tow out German landing craft and E-Boats. Our Flotilla and the 7th were to follow the gunboat HMS Locust and some Free French Chasseurs. Unable to see them we headed east for the harbour entrance but were forced to turn back.

A little later, after the Locust and the Chasseurs appeared, we again tried it but were unsuccessful in forcing an entrance. 

[Editor's Note - more information re the Dieppe raid, including aspects of HMS Locust's mission and goals, can be read in the book One Day in August by David O'Keefe. Details about the book can be found here. A recommended read. ]

Bill Sinclair's account concludes below:

After Bill Sinclair mentions a few words about seeing "dog-fights" over Dieppe first hand, he says he returned to Inveraray, i.e., HMS Quebec, Combined Operations No. 1 Training Camp. 

He was there "most of September, 1942 in the "Ettrick" as the Canadian officers and sailors in Combined Operations prepared for Operation Torch, i.e., the invasion of North Africa, beginning in early November.

The accounts of David Lewis, Doug Harrison and Bill Sinclair give us important information about some of the training and experiences of Canadians in Combined Ops in their first year overseas. We have here their memoirs and collected stories to inform us.

However, one more paragraph remains, as found at the end of Sinclair's account. A final footnote by David Lewis: 

Photo of footnote as found in St. Nazaire to Singapore, Vol. 1, page 52

Readers can read more information about "Dieppe, Dieppe"Brereton Greenhous's book here.

ALC 269 leaving Newhaven on August 21, 1942 with Charlie
Sheeler (front) and Len Birkenes aboard. Photo - Joe Spencer

ALC 269 returning to Southampton from Newhaven with C. Sheeler
(left) and Joe Spencer under White Ensign. Photo - Joe Spencer

Readers can also read Al Kirby's 25-page account of his experience at Dieppe here.

For more information about this time in the lives of Canadians in Combined Operations, i.e., spring - summer, 1942, please link to Training for Combined Operations: Shortly Before the Dieppe Raid (Part 2)

Questions and comments can be addressed to Gord Harrison at gordh7700@gmail.com

Unattributed Photos GH

Monday, February 7, 2022

Training for Combined Ops: Shortly Before the Dieppe Raid (Part 2)

 Schuyt 1 and 2, Lady Helen and a Silent Pact

And Where is the Top Hat Pub Again, Dad?

"We conspired to be the first ashore to get the pick." D. Harrison


Part 1 of this short series concluded with the following sentences, in part:

(RFA) Ennerdale survived the war undamaged. It became a chummy ship since she carried us of the 81st Flotilla to the African landings, and returned us to the UK.

The author of those lines (David J. Lewis - RCNVR, Combined Operations) was my father's friend, but they may have only touched base long after the war was over, i.e., in the 1990s, when stories were being collected for books concerning the role of Canadians in Combined Operations. The two photographs below relate to those times:

Five significant books were produced by four of the Canadian men above.
Photo taken in the backyard of the home of Clayton Marks, London ONT.

8Back, L - R: 'Gash', Clayton, and David Lewis (David wrote and
collected stories for St. Nazaire to Singapore (two volumes)
Front L - R: Doug and Al (full names are w top photo)

David Lewis was an officer in the 81st Canadian Flotilla of Landing Crafts and my father was an Able Bodied (AB) Seaman, then Leading Seaman (LS) in the 80th Canadian Flotilla of Landing Crafts. Though their flotillas may have participated in the same operations (e.g., North Africa, Sicily and Italy in 1942 - 43) their day-to-day roles and relationships were undoubtedly in different spheres.

This WWII navy hammock can be seen, by appointment, at the Naval
Museum, Esquimalt, on Vancouver Is. Photo - Naval Museum, B.C.

That being said, when D. J. Lewis organized two volumes of collected veterans' (members of RCNVR and Combined Ops) WWII stories, he not only wrote one of his accounts ("LCA 17, Lady Helen" - see part 1 of this series) as a continuation of one of my father's accounts, but then added another of my father's reports (see below) directly after "LCA 17, Lady Helen" even though - and readers may agree with me here, or not - the chronology may be off a bit.

Did my father get his dates right? (He admits many dates and places and events were difficult to get right in his memoirs). Did David Lewis, as an officer involved in the planning of the Dieppe Raid, know different? (He didn't always get it right in his memoirs either, in my opinion). I'm thinking, let's call it a draw and enjoy the stories.

The following, entitled "The Silent Pact and Its Epilogue," appears on pages 48 - 49 of St. Nazaire to Singapore: The Canadian Amphibious War 1941 - 1945, Volume 1 by David and Catherine Lewis and Len Birkenes. 

[Editor's Note: A lightly edited version (by me) does appear earlier on this site; I wrote it during the time - many years ago - that I attempted to locate the family of Gracie Purvis of Croydon. Read the two 'back-to-back' and I bet you'll 'catch my drift' re changes, so to speak.]


This beautiful story is about two people in those magical times and it expresses so wonderfully the feelings and experiences of thousands back then; the boundaries of conduct not everyone observed. (David Lewis)

My Navy buddy, Frank Herring, and I engaged in a Silent Pact overseas. When we were not required on board for duty we conspired to be the first ashore to get the pick. No Liberty Boat inspection for us - case the joint and slip ashore quickly and hopefully unseen.

[Editor's Note - Frank Herring appears below, front row, left side:]

[Frank Herring and my father reconnected in 1990:]

L - R: Nelson Langevin, Gatineau, QUE. sits under the umbrella; my father,
Doug Harrison, Norwich, ONT (standing); unknown, (sitting); Art (Gash) Bailey
(white hat), London, ONT.; Frank Herring (Veterans reconnect - link here)

Doug Harrison's story continues:

Excerpt above found in St. Nazaire to Singapore, Volume 1, pg. 48

The remainder of this story doesn’t sound so consistent with the Silent Pact. I suppose it is a Silent Tribute to all the WAAFs, I don’t know, but it’s all true. Events were to prove, in my own mind at least, that I did not lose in the shuffle in the black-out doors of the Top-Hat Pub at Southend.*

[*Editor's Note: I've had no luck finding info re Top-Hat Pub. However, there is an Old Hat Pub at 14 Alexandra St., Southend-On-Sea, located centrally on a main road, nicely connected to Westcliff-On-Sea.]

I am reminded of those often repeated words by Humphrey Bogart to Audrey Hepburn in the movie African Queen, “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship” because that was what it turned out to be although it wasn’t to last too long.

The WAAF Cpl who worked in the kitchen or bakery of an Air Force barracks nearby was named Gracie Purvis. Her home was in Croydon and she established very early in our relationship that she was engaged to an English Army Lieutenant with Montgomery in North Africa. She was firm that she wished to remain faithful to him. I accepted this loyalty which gained my respect for Grace and our friendship was free of all encumbrances and we became very good friends.

Each day or evening we were free of duty we met at the Top-Hat Pub and had a drink or two, a sandwich, a game or two at the Penny Arcade and sometimes we walked arm and arm around Southend wishing in our hearts that there wasn’t a war and things could be different. We spoke of Mums and family and the Army Lieutenant. Also we spoke of letters sent and received, about after the war, our dreams and aspirations. They were quite the same; a home, a family, a time free of war.

The barracks I was at was HMS Westcliff, I believe, and I believe the time was after Dieppe and prior to the North Africa invasion.

[Editor's Note - re the function of HMS Westcliff: "Landing craft base and holding base for Combined Operations personnel." More details can be found at a top rate Combined Ops website]

Grace and I arranged that if either of us were no-shows for two nights, she had been posted or I was on my way somewhere else and she alone promised to write. We had pleasant times for she was a pleasant person. I often think of her and her fine qualities. It wasn’t to last because I soon became a no-show. There were no good-byes or “I’ll see you again.” No more spearmint gum or cookies from the baking either.

[My father became 'a no-show', perhaps because of the invasion of North Africa, aka Operation Torch. Photos related to the invasion and dad's story follow. FYI - He appears in all three photos.] 

A12647 American troops manning their landing craft assault from a doorway
in the side of the liner REINA DEL PACIFICO. Two of the landing craft are
numbered LCA 428 and LCA 447. Photo by Hudson, F. A . (Lt) RN. (IWM)

A12649 American troops landing on the beach at Arzeu, near Oran, from a
landing craft assault (LCA 26), some of them are carrying boxes of supplies.
Photo - RN Official Photographer Lt. F. A. Hudson. Imperial War Museum

A12671 Troops and ammunition for light guns being brought ashore from a
landing craft assault (ramped) (LCA 428) on Arzeu beach, Algeria, North
Africa, whilst another LCA (LCA 287) approaches the beach.
Photo Credit - RN Photographer Lt. F. A. Hudson (IWM)

Doug Harrison's story continues:

Six weeks later perhaps, we arrived back from North Africa to Liverpool on the Reina-del-Pacifico and in a few days the mail arrived from FMO and among my stack was a letter from Grace, now serving at the summer resort town of Blackpool. Could I get a weekend leave, and if so, she said she would arrange rooming quarters and give me a phone number to call at a precise time? (That’s) if things became favourable for me, which they did, and quite soon I was stepping onto the train platform at Blackpool with Grace waiting with open arms.

I had a 72 hour pass and stayed at a Seniors Boarding House with a lovely room. I sat down at meal times with Seniors dressed in formal bib and tucker to shepherd’s pie, and Brussel sprouts, of course.

Friday night and Saturday night we had a drink or two and enjoyed a dance and restaurant and renewed our friendship. Then I went back to the boarding house. Sunday (this would be late November, 1942) we went to see a large aquarium, sharks and all. The weather was foreboding, like the feeling in our hearts. On the surface we were enjoying ourselves but underneath I think we were both quite sad for we feared the end.

Photo Credit - Vintage Postcards

We walked with arms about each others' waists out over the shallow beach water on Blackpool’s famous long pier. The cool wind blew our hair and we sat on a bench at the end of the pier. I shared my Burberry (raincoat) as we huddled there and I confess I felt more than a friend as we spoke once again for what we both knew would be the last time, of our meeting at Southend, our homes and what we both hoped would be in our future and this loyal lady had still kept up correspondence with her Lieutenant. I had deep admiration in my heart for her as I felt her warmth and sadness under my coat.

We strolled back to the beach area where there was a type of midway still operating along the beach and we attempted to lift our mood by taking rides on ferris wheels, etc. Grace had a few small red burns on her face from flying burning fat and declined to have her photo taken.

I returned to the boarding house to pick up my attache case and all too soon I am again on the train platform, whereas 72 hours earlier we had had such a happy reunion. A mist swirled around us as we once more shared my Burberry. Through it all not a word was spoken of future letters or anything else. We were friends just hanging on through the tears.

I’m not prepared for the “All Aboard.” I never liked good-byes. I still wanted this moment over with. It was taking too long. “All Aboard.” We kissed good-bye. I climbed aboard and my guts were churning as I took a seat by the window. Grace stood so alone. This was not a happy moment. The train slowly moved out and Grace Purvis of Croydon turned and walked away. We were as two ships that had passed in the night.

I have been unable to locate Grace. I pray her Lieutenant came safely home and all her dreams were fulfilled. We filled a need in each others lives and I have no regrets.

Part 3 soon to follow.

Questions or comments can be addressed to gordh7700@gmail.com

Please link to Training for Combined Operations: Shortly Before the Dieppe Raid (Part 1)

Unattributed Photos GH