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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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About the contributor

Graeme Sorley
User ID: U538630

My contributions to the Website have been written to honour the memory of my family and the part they played during WW2. The first Section records my personal experiences during those difficult five years. The family left Singapore in January 1940 to return to England by boat. My mother, sister and I were taken off the boat at Port Said in mid month because of the danger of sailing through the Mediterranean. I still marvel at how, on her own, my mother brought two young children from Port Said by rail and then small plane to Marseilles, across France by train and over the channel by ferry to England. Never to be forgotten was how she managed to care for and nurture us after our father, Surgeon-Commander E.R.Sorley, RN was lost on HMS Barham early in the war.

The main Section is based on the censored letters written to my mother by my father from the ship. These spanned the period from June 1940 when the Barham left Liverpool after a refit, until the last one written two days before the ship was torpedoed in the Mediterranean. In the introduction to each article, I have attempted to give a commentary from the perspective of history as it affected the Barham.

The other Section describes the experiences of my stepfather Commander J.S.Dove, OBE, RN, who worked for the Miscellaneous Weapons and Development Department at the Admiralty during the war. These included kite flying and helping evacuation from the beaches at Dunkirk and landing on D-Day to check the grapnel rockets used by the US Rangers in scaling the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc.

Acknowledgement must go to my niece Sara Wrigley for having established the HMS Barham Association Website, and nephew James Pritchard-Barrett who organised the Commemoration Sail in 2003. Five of us, James, his brother, my two sons and I, sailed “Papageno” from Paleochora, Crete, to the spot where the Barham was sunk on November 25th, 1941. After a short dedication we threw two wreaths; one to the memory of my father and the other to honour those of his shipmates who lost their lives.

This contributor selected the following users as their 'friends'. Read more about this.

paul gill - WW2 Site Helper

Stories contributed by Graeme Sorley

A Young Boy's War: Chapter 1
A Young Boy's War: Chapter 2
A Young Boy's War: Chapter 3
A Young Boy's War: Chapter 4
A Young Boy's War: Chapter 5
A Young Boy's War: Chapter 6
Kite Flying at Dunkirkicon for Recommended story
Kite Flying at Dunkirk
Wheezers and Dodgers on D-Dayicon for Recommended story
HMS Barham - Use of Plasma
HMS Barham at Dakaricon for Recommended story
HMS Barham - Scapa Flow: June - July, 1940
HMS Barham - Scapa Flow: July 31-August 4, 1940
HMS Barham - Scapa Flow: August 4th-6th, 1940
HMS Barham - Scapa Flow: August 7th-10th, 1940icon for Recommended story
HMS Barham - Scapa Flow: August 11th-15th, 1940icon for Recommended story
HMS Barham - Scapa Flow: August 17th-18th, 1940icon for Recommended story
HMS Barham - Scapa Flow: August 19th-20th, 1940icon for Recommended story
HMS Barham - Scapa Flow: August 21st-24th, 1940
HMS Barham - August 25-26th, 1940
HMS Barham - Scapa Flow: August 27th, 1940
HMS Barham - With Force "H": Part 1
HMS Barham - With Force "H": Part 2
HMS Barham - With Force "H": Part 3
HMS Barham - With Force "H" (4)
HMS Barham - Eastern Mediterranean Fleet, 1940: Part 1
HMS Barham - Eastern Mediterranean Fleet, 1940: Part 2
HMS Barham — Eastern Mediterranean Fleet, 1940: Part 3
HMS Barham - Eastern Mediterranean Fleet, 1940: Part 4
HMS Barham - Eastern Mediterranean Fleet, 1940: Part 5
HMS Barham - Christmas 1940icon for Recommended story
HMS Barham - Bombardment of Bardia, 1941
HMS Barham - Period Between Bardia and Matapan
HMS Barham - Month Before Matapan, 1941icon for Recommended story
HMS Barham - Churchill's Inspiration
HMS Barham - Lead up to Matapan
HMS Barham - Battle of Matapanicon for Story with photo
HMS Barham - Tripoli and Crete, 1941icon for Story with photo
HMS Barham: Durban, 1941
HMS Barham: Repairs at Durban
HMS Barham: Return to Actionicon for Recommended story
HMS Barham - Back in the Mediterranean
HMS Barham - Alexandria, September 1941
HMS Barham - Last Two Months
HMS Barham - Last Month
HMS Barham - Last Posticon for Recommended story
Family Pilgrimage to HMS Barham War Graveicon for Story with photo

Archive List
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

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