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Landing Ship Engineers

by sharkey_ward

Contributed by 
sharkey_ward
People in story: 
'Sharkey' Ward
Location of story: 
Colombo, Ceylon
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
A2310265
Contributed on: 
18 February 2004

Joined L.S.E 9 in Wallasey Docks, Merseyside being fitted out for joining the Royal Naval fleet in the Far East in the war with the Japanese Empire.
My home town was Northwich, Cheshire and I was able to travel home on night leave for the short period we were at Wallasey.
My wife was pregnant and her mother said that she was sure there was more than one child, because my wife was so big. Following an X-Ray, it was confirmed that twins were expected. They were expected the last week of September 1945 and so, my wife was 7 months pregnant when we sailed from the UK to the Far East. At the expected time, the ship was operating in Malayan water, covering many combined operations landings and consequently no mail was able to reach us. With no news and being understandably worried, the CO of the ship radioed through to Portsmouth RN HQ. Their reply was that the police were to be informed at Northwich to find news of my wife and they would, in turn, send news back to me. Before any news was sent to the ship, my demob number 28 came up and I was transferred to a ship for passage home.
We were landed in Colombo, Ceylon and transferred to a Demob Camp in the hills above Colombo. In this camp, I was to meet a young man from my home town and a close neighbour. He gave me the news that I was the father of TWINS. They were by then 6 weeks old. When asked how on earth he knew, he told me that his mother had added in one of her letters, that Albert Ward's wife had delivered twins and that he was "out your way somewhere".
As old age catches up on us, we are liable to forget many things in life, but that meeting in Colombo is still as clear as if it was only yesterday.
Finally arriving home in Portsmouth, I was demobbed and travelled home on 19th December 1945. I walked in at home, not informing my wife I was coming, wanting to surprise her. I walked through the lounge and into the hall, and there, at the foot of the stairs was my wife with a baby in her arms. She nearly collapsed with surprise.
It was only then that I knew that I was the father of a boy and a girl, they had weighed in at a massive 16lbs combined weight and were by then, 3 months old. These memories have just recently come tumbling back when I held my very first great-grandchild on Christmas Day 2003 with such pleasure and joy.
So ended my Royal Naval career, which had started on 4th April 1940 with so many memories, both happy and not so happy but where friendships were formed that last right up to the present day

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