The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Sinking of the SS Britannia 1941

Letter from Clarice Gale to Mrs Watts

Mrs Watts was Frederick Duddridge's ex-wife.

She must have spotted an article about Clarice Gale in a newspaper article.

Clarice Gale

and wrote to ask her if she knew anything about he possible whereabouts of Frederick following the sinking.

Miss Gale replied:

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"57 Lansdown View
Tiverton on Avon

Aug 3rd (1941)

Dear Mrs Watts,

I received your letter yesterday.
Yes, I was on S.S.Britannia.
I remember Petty Officer Duddridge.
I saw him on deck several times.
I remember asking who he was,
because his beard made me think
he was Norwegian! He was
a Chief Petty Officer, wasn't he?

I am so sorry I can't give you any news of him.
You see everyting happened do quickly.
We were told to remain at our boat station &
obey orders, and the result was that we only
saw those on our own little group.

Our lifeboat was about the first away.
we three women were told to keep down in the bottom
in case of machine gun fire. So I saw practically
nothing of other people or other lifeboats.

I did hear the men in the boat say that
a small boat left the raider & went round the
Britannia. So very likely prisoners were taken.
(I believe the Capt & most of the ship's officers
are stll missing) or, of course, there is the
possibility that one or more lifeboats were
picked up by a neutral ship and landed
at an enemy port. If so, the survivors would be
interned & it will take a long time for news of
them to come through.

I am very sorry I can give you no better news,
but there is the hope that some of the
missing may be prisoners.

I hope good news may come soon.

Your sincerely

Clarice E M Gale"

Colin Bower
16 October 2020


Frederick Duddridge

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