John Grey Ukelele

Contributed by graham smith

John Grey Ukelele

My father, a Marconi wireless operator during the Second World War, took his ukulele to sea with him. In the Indian Ocean his convoy was scattered by Japanese submarine attacks and the ships ordered to make their way to port, stopping for nothing. At sunset a lookout spotted a lifeboat and, despite his orders, the Captain decided to risk investigating.

The lifeboat contained the exhausted and starving survivors of a P&O ship that had been sunk. The crew cared for them and they arrived in port in much better condition. During the voyage, they all scratched their names into the varnish on the back of the ukulele.

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