Harry Waddingham was born on October 16, 1916 in London, England. Harry’s father was a Great War veteran who had been living in Montreal when the war broke out, so he and Harry’s uncle enlisted in the Canadian Artillery in that conflict. When he went overseas he was deployed briefly in Northern Ireland, and that is where he met Harry’s mother. When the war was over they lived for a time in Northern Ireland, until the “Troubles” chased them out in 1922 The Waddinghams relocated to East Anglia, and Harry grew up in Clacton-on-Sea, doing all the typical things for a teenage boy. He was aware of the big events of the world, from the 1926 General Strike to Hitler’s rise to the abdication of Edward VIII. Harry said the war was no surprise, and when the time came he chose to enlist in the Royal Navy. Harry served aboard many ships, the first being the destroyer HMS Wakeful: there Harry took part in one of the war’s notable events, the evacuation at Dunkirk. The Wakeful was sunk on that day in 1940, and Harry was one of a handful of survivors. Harry went on to serve on the HMS Juno, and he took part in the evacuation of Crete. The Juno was also sunk, and Harry credits his on deck position as a gunner for his survival. The Battle of the Atlantic formed part of Harry’s wartime resume too, and there he confronted the threat of U-boats, the weather, and the long hours and weeks as convoys delivered vital supplies to Britain. Harry’s service concluded with the end of the war, and he remains a proud member of the Royal Navy who shared his insights into its traditions and achievements with Crestwood students during Remembrance Day week in November 2023.
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