I first met Harry about sixty six years ago, I was serving aboard The 40,000 Ton British Battltleship the HMS King GEORGE V. I was still 17 at the time and Harry was about six months older than me, old! did I say/ It was about eighteen months later - after serving in the Atlantic the Mediterranean East Indies and finally as the flag ship of the British Pacific Fleet for the final nine months and probably the worst period of Air/Sea conflict of WW2, Our Admiral Vice Ad, Sir Bernard Rawlings described our crew to U/S Admiral Spruance as mere children, the average age of the 1,800 crew being close to nineteen.
Harry and I were Topmen, our action stations were on and above decks, I high on the exposed ADP and Harry the gunlayer on an eight barrelled Multiple Pom Pom. Might be too frightening for todays Teens.
When hostilities ceased and our ship returned to the UK March 1946 after repairs in Sydney, which was seven months after the Pacific war and ten months after the war in Europe, (Google The Forgotten Fleet)
My Friend Harry returned to civil life in England and not long after migrated to Australia with his family.
I continued my Naval career until 1966 and migrated to Australia with my family in !971.
Eventually I retired to the Central Coast at the age of seventy, and it was at that time I discovered a "King George V" association had been formed in Australia by those who returned here, there were about thirty ex crew and their wives then in 1996 sadly now only five remain intact with a couple in care.
Over the past fourteen years, the Association met about five times annually with added impromptu birthdays and sadly funerals, But every year we would go on holidays together all the full bus load, for at least a week of whooping it up, then again sadly due to declining health among associates the Assoc was wound up this year although Harry Our Chairman was still sending out info letters and phoning from time to time, I was thinking over the weekend that I should give him a call and possibly visit him and hisWife Marie before they move to a proposed smaller house and care facilities, Harry lived 15 minutes away from us by car.
Harry was an untiring leader and great business person and friend to all in our association and was always on hand when help was needed
"We are going to miss you Harry, Lidbetter. Where ever you end up Harry you will be welcomed I am certain.
You will always be remembered as a Great Mate.
To advise that Vest (Les Bowyer) passed away this morning. Regards, Chris (Son).
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