On leave in Hadleigh

1939 to 1946

I joined the Merchant Navy in late 1938 as an apprentice and sailed on my first voyage from Cardiff on the 28th January 1939, my sixteenth birthday. Up to September that year, the outbreak of war, our voyages took about three months so I was able to get home each time we docked in our home port of London. My ship the S.S.Kingsbury belonging to Capper, Alexander Shipping Company was on a regular trade route taking coal from South Wales to the Argentine and Brazil for their railways, returning with grain and tinned meat to London. Owing to the convoy routes and the Battle of The Atlantic, our war-time voyages took anything up to four months. I shared a cabin with two other apprentices, Geoff Stott and Roy Sherrat who both lived up North so were not able to get home on leave as often as I did, but to compensate for this they both used to come home with me to Hadleigh at weekends. We all became good pals and had some great times at Dorlie, 72 Castle Road. Saturday evenings, we all went to the dance at the Hadleigh Public Hall, and on Sunday a visit to either the Peter Boat or Smack in Old Town Leigh where I was sure to meet up with school pals who were in the services. I left the Kingsbury in 1942 and joined the Royal Fleet Auxiliary as a Third Officer. Later I heard that the Kingsbury was sunk the following year in the North Atlantic by U338. After the war I lost contact with Geoff and Roy and in later years tried to make contact but with no success.

Geoff, Ian & Roy
Ian
Erica Hawks, Eileen Antill, Pauline & Thelma Webb
Ian
Geoff & Ian with Rufus
Ian
Geoff, Doris Hawks [Mother] & Ian
Ian
Ian & Erica [Sister]
Ian
Ian & Geoff fooling around.
Ian
Far right Ian & Geoff; Southend pool
Ian
Ian, Roy & Geoff. 5 am
Ian
Kathleen Antill, Doris Hawks & May Coleman
Ian
Barrie Cole. HMS Westcliff; Shore base
Ian
Ian, Erica & Peter Ambler
Ian
Apprentices at work after loading coal, Roy Ian & Geoff
Ian

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