In memory of a fallen merchant seaman

This being Remembrance Day and all, it seems like the perfect opportunity for a blogospheric commemoration of familial war loss.

Mary Sedgemore (later Boult) & Charles John Sedgemore

I’ve only recently come across this photo, which shows my late grandmother Mary, who died just a few years ago, and Charles John Sedgemore, the biological grandfather I never knew. In fact, my mother never knew him either, as he died a month before she was born. Mary went on to marry John Boult, the memory of whom I and the Sedgemore family hold dear.

Grandad Sedgemore was a merchant seaman from Devon who lost his life at the very beginning the Second World War. His ship, the armed cruiser HMS Rawalpindi, was sunk in the Iceland-Faroe passage on 23 November 1939 by the German battlecruisers Gneisenau and Scharnhorst. Just 48 of the Rawalpindi’s crew of 276 survived the attack.

It was a failure of British military intelligence that led to the sinking of the Rawalpindi. The German warships had previously been sited in the area, but for some reason no action was taken.

Grandad’s jumper would raise a smile these days; the 1930s was such a very different age.