the diary of signalman John Emrys Williams
a message that arrived via email.
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
HMS Diadem home...