My September saga, MOLLY'S CHRISTMAS ORPHANS is set during World War 2 and against the backdrop of the Merchant Navy. Many unsung heroes lost their lives because of our badly defended merchant ships. Light cruisers and sometimes destroyers tried to protect them as they ploughed through the freezing North Atlantic, sitting targets for the famed wolf-packs of the Kriegsmarine,. Christine Davies wrote to me and with her permission I'm sharing her poignant story, one which mirrors the journey of many of those brave mariners.
"My father was in the Merchant Navy because he was blind in one eye so wasn't accepted in the armed forces. He was a stoker at one time on the Queen Mary. He also sailed on many other ships. He was at a stop once in Australia, and did some work on land while his ship was being repaired and came upon a farm to ask for work the farmer turned out to be a friend of my father's eldest brother who had emigrated before the war started. You don't realise the hardship soldiers went through till you read about it in these books. I know my father had his hair and eye lashes and brows burnt off when a bomb went off near his ship.. The people in Barry in the Merchant Navy were ship wrecked 5 times. A friend of my mothers hated the sea in the end. And many of the men from Barry walked to Birmingham after the war looking for work. Very hard times were had in those days. My mother was in the ATS. I wish I had listened more and took in what they told me when I was a child, we listened but couldn't imagine the horror that was going on in the world." Christine Davies.
An incredible story, Christine. Thank you.
Below is a beautiful pic provided by Getty Images of men at war taking a rare few moments to themselves. I wonder what they were thinking? I guess we'll never know, but in my book I ask the question they were perhaps thinking. Will I survive to see my family again? Family, friends and the people they loved was all that mattered. And for whom many gave they lives.
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