Wars take ter­ri­ble toll on fam­ily

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR VIEWS - STU­ART GREER

AGRANDMOTHER has re­vealed her fam­ily’s tragic con­nec­tion to both world wars.

Dorothy ‘Midge’ Bar­ber’s grand­fa­ther, Harry Ad­kin­son, was killed in the First World War in 1915, while her fa­ther, also called Harry, died in a freak ac­ci­dent dur­ing the Sec­ond World War in 1945.

In a tragic co­in­ci­dence both Dorothy and her fa­ther Harry ju­nior were robbed of ever know­ing their re­spec­tive fa­thers.

Dorothy has spent her whole life com­ing to terms with the fact Harry died only five weeks after she was born.

The grand­mother of four said: “My dad was in the Navy and was serv­ing on a war­ship called the White Bear. He had been on shore leave and was re­turn­ing to the ship in a small boat when it struck its main an­chor and cap­sized. My dad and four other men be­came trapped be­neath a jetty and drowned. He died on Fri­day, April 13. It was an aw­ful thing to hap­pen so close to the end of the war.” In the years after the tragedy Harry’s widow, Edith, strug­gled alone to raise Midge and her older brother, Ken, work­ing for 45 years at a fab­ric shop.

Midge, of Weavers Court, Mac­cles­field, said: “Ev­ery year my fam­ily would visit the ceno­taph to re­mem­ber my dad. It wasn’t un­til I was about seven when I made the link.

“It was re­ally up­set­ting that I lost my dad be­fore I got the chance to meet him.”

Although Midge was only given a few facts about her fa­ther’s life, such as a his work as a labourer for the Cor­po­ra­tion and his love of darts at his lo­cal pub, The Union, Midge has learned more in re­cent years read­ing the let­ters Harry sent Edith from sea, and after meet­ing two of Harry’s friends on board the White Bear.

She said: “In one of his last let­ters dad ex­presses his de­light after learn­ing he had a daugh­ter.

“He loved the thought of hav­ing a lit­tle girl. That made me happy and gave me some com­fort.

“Amaz­ingly about 10 years ago two of his friends, one from Amer­ica and another from Mans­field, tracked me down. They said they wanted to meet the daugh­ter Harry never met and share their sto­ries of him. That was an amaz­ing mo­ment.”

Midge wanted to share her story after see­ing the Ex­press ap­peal for in­for­ma­tion on lo­cal he­roes from the First World War.

Her grand­fa­ther, Harry se­nior, served the 5th Bn

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