Shortly after joining up in 1941
- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Leonard Goldsworthy
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 02 July 2005
This story has been written onto the BBC People's War site by CSV Storygatherer, Martine Knight. She fully understands the terms and conditions of the site.
My late grandfather, Leonard Goldsworthy, enlisted in the Royal Marines on 22nd May 1941, at Exmouth. His regimental number was PLY/X 103906, but this changed, almost immediately, to PLY/X 120978 when he was transferred to R.M. Auxiliary Battalion.
On 8th July 1941, after a spell at the RM depot at Deal, he was posted to HMS Prosperine, which was a shorebase at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands.
The base was in two parts - Lyness, which was the minesweeping and anti-submarine base, and the main base which was security, anti-machine guns and sentry duty.
A large number of Marines were stationed there, defences having been greatly increased following the enemy sinking of HMS Royal Oak in 1939.
His service record shows him to have been of very good character and satisfactory efficiency. I know from talking to people who knew him that, before he joined up, he was always happy and laughing, but something happened to change all that whilst he was in the Orkneys.
Whether it was something that he experienced there we will never know, but he began to suffer from mental health problems in early 1943. Photos show how much he had changed.
Having read his medical records it seems there was little sympathy with his condition and, after a short spell in a convalescent home, he was discharged, as physically unfit, on 5th April 1943.
His problems obviously followed him home and got worse because in January 1945 he was admitted to St. Lawrences Hospital, Bodmin, from where he escaped 8 days later, making his way back home. When captured by Helston police and being transported back to Bodmin he escaped again, but was found the following day.
In early March 1945 he escaped again and was later found dead. My father was 12 at the time and my grandmother would never talk about it to any of us, which robbed us of much wanted information about him as a man.
One way or another he was another war casualty, but is not remembered on any memorial.
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