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While surfing the internet the other day I came upon the HMS Barham site and this provoked memories of my childhood in 1941 when HMS Barham was in Durban, South Africa, being repaired. I was led to understand that the ship had been torpedoed in the North Atlantic and had been sent to Durban for repairs before joining the Mediterranean fleet.
I have in my possession a photograph of the ship signed by three members of the crew, Sgt WH Harris R.M, Corporal EAW Sullivan R.M. and Sergeant J.V. Christopher R.M., which was dated 29 July 1941 and given to my mother. My grandfather was on the bay fishing when the Barham entered port and he met the three men at the local pub when he came ashore, after which he brought them home.
I have also in my possession a children's book given to me by "Cabby" and Chris on the occasion of my third birthday on 24 July 1941. Especially in view of the tragedy of the sinking, these have become most precious to me. I assume that Chris was Serj Christopher but I have often wondered which of the other two was Cabby, who signed my book.
I was always told that all three perished with the ship but your records show that Sullivan survived, though I am sure he must have died by now.
Despite being only three years old at the time I certainly remember being in the company of the three men. My grandparents often entertained Royal Naval men from ships in the port at their spacious home and when the Barham was in port I remember accompanying my mother when she showed the sailors, including Cabby and Chris, around the city.
I thought someone might be interested in this small episode from my memories.
| last updated:
13 July 2013