HMS Diadem
HMS Diadem

the diary of signalman John Emrys Williams

Here's a message that arrived via email.

"I would like to thank you very much indeed for all the information about Diadem and particularly for the diary of John. I was born 5 days before the ship was launched and my father was Regulating Petty Officer Daniel Victor Wells. Except that he was in the Royal Navy and had been a boy on the Arethusa Training Ship I know nothing of his service then. At some stage he joined the police and was eventually allowed to rejoin the navy in, I think, 1941. I believe that he must have joined Diadem when she was commissioned and as far as I know served on her until just after the end of the war. After this he returned to the Metropolitan Police until retiring at aged 55 when he became an advanced driving examiner. From 1955 almost until his death he was heavily involved with the Sea Cadet Corps becoming the C.O. of the Carshalton Unit in Surrey. Along the way he received promotions ending up as a Lieutenant Commander in the R.N.R. He died peacefully although from cancer at 78.

"He said little to me over the years about his time in the Navy although he was "Mentioned in Dispatches", perhaps some of his experiences were too much to bear recalling. He did tell me that when the war ended Diadem was in Arctic waters and that the sight of so many U Boats surrendering made him wonder how any in the convoys ever survived. The visit to Copenhagen impressed him enormously as he said that it was the most beautiful city he had ever been in and the most friendly. The visit being after war had ended may have had some influence I guess.

"The only other thing he told me about was going ashore in Jamaica but whether that was in HMS Diadem or an earlier ship I have no idea.

"Dad died about 10 years ago and he never told me much about his time in the Navy so it was brilliant to read the diary and get a feel of what he and the rest of the crew went through.

"Of slight interest is that I lived in Pembrokeshire Wales for several years from 2000 and loved it but now live in Cornwall from where I sail my small yacht into Plymouth quite often.

"Thanks again." - Dick Wells 2009

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