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On the 25th of November, 1941, my Great Uncle was killed when the HMS Barham blew up like a powder keg after being torpedoed by a German Submarine. The event was captured on film and is an horrific sight, as the men serving on the ship scrambled for their lives on the capsized hull, before the main magazine caught fire and exploded. When word got back to my gran, she was heartbroken having lost her dear brother.
Sifting through the memories of their love, she sat not long after, reading the letters my Great Uncle Frank had sent her while on the ship. As she wept inconsolably, she just could not let go of the pain. Surrounded by the letters like tombstones, anguished reminders of what had been lost, suddenly someone knocked at the front door. Yet there was no-one there, just an empty street at night. When my gran returned to the room where she had been crying for hours, something strange had happened – all the letters were gone, save for one, which my father now possesses.
I don’t know how true the story is, for grief can make illusions of the world, but I have read the letter, many times in fact. There is something curious about it, because it was signed twice by my Great Uncle. The second signature is undoubtedly his handwriting, and reads: “Don’t cry, sis. Always with you. – December 12th, 1941”, the same night someone came knocking at the door.
Credit To – Michael Whitehouse