Mum moved to Bombay, now Mumbai, as a cipher operator with the Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service. Three things of interest happened to her there. Firstly, she was chosen for a newsreel, “A Day in the Life of a Wrin”, her father was very proud of her. Secondly, she took part in a parade where Louis Mountbatten, the Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia Command, took the salute. A photograph was published in all the newspapers. Lastly and unfortunately, she fell off a tank – she was pregnant at the time and didn’t know it. She was given leave to recover from the miscarriage.
In April 1944, my mother witnessed the ship SS Fort Stikine catching fire and exploded. The debris set fire to other ships and the docks, about a thousand people lost their lives.
In May 1945, she remembers deciphering a message declaring Victory in Europe. My father was then ordered to return to the UK and my mother accompanied him. Many years later she informed us that she might not have been handed her discharge papers from the navy. What is the penalty for being absent without leave for over 60 years?