Posted by: writingwitch2013 | May 31, 2013

The kindness of strangers


Merchant Navy veteran, Battle of the Atlantic, Liverpool Commemorations, 25th May  2013
Lately I have been touched by the kindness of actions of strangers on the Internet.
My Dad, who was a young lad of 15 yrs old when he served as a gunner in the merchant navy and took part in the Battle of the Atlantic, has always been proud of his role in the navy and sad at the loss of so many of his young friends who weren’t as fortunate as himself and perished at sea.
So when he heard of the commemorations taking place at Liverpool last weekend he decided to join in. My mum couldn’t go because being disabled she wouldn’t be able to stand for long and he didn’t mention it to me or I would have gone.
He enjoyed his day. He said he had a hard job fighting back the tears when the crowd applauded them loudly for a long time .
I (and my mum)  wish now that we had been there to take a photo of him as a memory of his proud day.
He was there on the Saturday. He might have gone on the Sunday too but his sight is very poor and there were too many crowds.
 I have since trawled the Internet for any photos of the Saturday commemorations that he may have been included in.
At one point he was sitting on a bench talking to another veteran ( a stranger) and a young man took a photo of them both. I mentioned this on one of the brilliant  photographic blogs I looked at and the wonderful  man very kindly contacted me to say he had a photo and it was a long shot but he would send it to me. Unfortunately it wasn’t my dad but I was really touched that he took the time to reply and try to help me out. A very kind act from a total stranger, though his blog is that good I have started to follow it, he has a great photographic talent.
Another very kind stranger , again from a blog on the Internet has offered to send me the whole of a poem about the merchant navy veterans part in our freedom that I read out to my Dad over the phone. He really liked it and wanted it written out, I mentioned it in a comment on the blog , so he contacted me.
I am still looking on the Internet for a photo of him on that day, but I will always remember the kindness shown to me this week.
Guys , you are the best, both of you.  A HUGE thank you.
I have added the picture of my dad taken about 5 years ago Incase anyone reading this finds him on their Battle of the Atlantic commemoration photos. If you do could I please have a copy.
The Internet was also responsible for my ‘meeting ‘ (virtually) a lot of like minded friends on a writing ‘forum’. I no longer feel alone sitting at home writing. I have friends at the touch of my iPad to chat with, compare notes/tips/ideas. One of those lovely friends recommended a book to me and very kindly sent it out for me to borrow. I was touched by the gesture. I am trustworthy, but it must be hard to know that over the Internet , I was flattered that she trusted me enough to pay the postage and send me her book. I hope, one day to repay her by taking her for lunch with the proceeds of a story sale 🙂
Then, not to mention the virtual party the forum had.
I wasn’t going to mention the party but now I have , I have to say it was the best party I have been to in years. The virtual wine flowed, although I only had one actual wine, the virtual nibbles were calorie free and the company was great. We had a ball without even leaving our houses. I didn’t stop laughing aloud (on my own)  from 10pm to just after midnight. I thoroughly enjoyed it and woke up without a hangover! I have never met the people on the forum, but I feel as though I have known them for years.

imageMY DAD

Merchant navy veteran , Battle of the Atlantic, Liverpool



  1. Synchronicity is a word used by those who don’t understand or use the word Wyrd. I feel very privileged to have met you Awen through a Facebook page and have on many occasions felt connected with you, though we have never actually met. Imagine my surprise when I read your ‘kindness of strangers’ post and discovered a further link (tenuous or otherwise) through your father, as I – owner of a Nottingham Antiques shop – have felt drawn to collect the medals and memorabilia of our unsong heroes of the 1st and 2nd World Wars – the Merchant Navy or Mercantile Marines for over twenty years. my collection now stands at over two hundred medal groups and items of memorabilia specific to that branch of the services. A superb post and your fathers life is definitely a story worthy of further elaboration.

    • Hi Trak. I too feel privileged to have met you too. I called it a forum but we both know I meant Facebook 🙂 . Wow, a large collection of memorabilia. (I collect ephemera/trade cards, so I know the call of collections of interests… Wyrd, when I worked in Nottingham in 2006 and 2007 I went around a few antique shops looking for ephemera , victorian scrapbooks and antique lace … maybe one was yours ..? ) Dad didn’t get a medal, despite his role in BOA etc, but a few years ago it was decided that gunners in the Merchant Navy could have a medal as they did just as much as the Royal Navy. He sent off for it and was proud to wear it on Saturday. He was very lucky. On one occasion he caught chicken pox the night before joining ship so he couldn’t sail. The ship was sunk with no survivors. He had his 86th birthday on Thursday and nearly didn’t go to Liverpool because glaucoma has claimed his sight in one eye and is ruining his sight in the other but he is so pleased that he went. Every time he talks about it he gets a ‘catch’ in his throat.
      So here is more synchronicity for you…as the email came through to notify me of your comment I was looking at a you tube video I had just found of the Merchant Navy parade on Saturday….and he was on it, only for a second, But still… !! Yay. *cheers * Pom Pom waving ! Now to work out how to get a copy. X

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