When family stories are top secret

Chris Dolley finds out what his dad did during the war. Dolley’s Dad took his secret to his grave, but a BBC interview with another seaman revealed the essential clue. [via The Genealogue] This is one of those cases where presonal history intersects with History (cap H) history. And demands of History (or State secrets) required a big blank in the personal history record.

So I clicked the link. And found an interview with an able seaman from the Bulldog talking about the North Atlantic convoys and the day they captured the German submarine U-110. My father was listed as one of the eight men mentioned in despatches for their part in capturing the submarine.

I was amazed. I’d known that my father had been ‘mentioned in despatches’ but had never been able to track down what for. His service record didn’t say - which the MOD admitted was strange - and he’d never spoken of it. My mother had told me that once, after a large amount of drink, he’d started to tell her about something he did that had saved a lot of ships but he’d denied it all the next day and insisted she never speak of it again. He died in 1960 and the secret went with him. Until yesterday. [Read More]

What a delightful discovery!

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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 12, 2007 in • HistoryPersonal History
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