I realise that I am always writing about other people's Dads and not my own. So this story is about my Dad who served in the Royal Navy in WW2.
My father, Gordon Frederick Cracknell, was born 10 December 1923 in Wickford, Essex. His father, my grandfather, Frederick James Cracknell, had served in the British Army on the Western Front during the First World War and had risen to the rank of Captain. After being demobbed he worked for a small company, I don't know the name of it, but I think they did garment manufacturing and I think he had a sales role. He married Annie Wilson on 25 December 1919. A Christmas Day wedding. My sister, Lynn, has a pen and ink drawing he made of her while serving in the trenches. They got married at St Mark's Church in Lewisham. They had two children, Gordon (b. 1923) and Basil (b. 1925).
My father attended Battersea Grammar School. He left at the age of sixteen and got a job working with the Sun Life Insurance Company. This would have been around 1939 at the time the Second World War began. He later applied to join the Fleet Air Arm in or around 1942 after he had reached the age of eighteen. He once told me that all the men that he trained with were killed in action and he may have met the same fate had he not been dropped from flying training. I recall him telling me that he was sick every time he flew and that was why he was dropped. He was very disappointed but he had at least learnt to fly. He was then moved to the seaman side of the Royal Navy and became an officer in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) known as the 'wavy navy' because of the wavy stripes worn on their uniform sleeves. I don't know where he served in 1942/43, but I know that from 1944 to 1946 he was serving on the destroyer HMS Undaunted. The photograph below shows my father as a Sub-Lt RNVR probably taken on Undaunted in the Far East during the Pacific War.