Stephen Thatcher wrote on 18th November 2006

D-O-B  1926  making me 80 at present time.  

Volunteered for Hostilities Only when 17.  First reason to shoot a few Germans - when I got to the Army recruiting office it was closed and a few doors away a voice asked me " What do you want me lad? " That resulted in me being invited to step inside and sign on for the navy. In hindsight I was really lucky. Second reason - had I waited to be conscripted at 18 - living in Nottingham at the time - high probability of being drafted down the coal mines.   

My first draft took me to the D Day landings to join HMS Ambitious and the Capt in charge of all minesweeping ops until the capture of Le Havre. Following shore leave in UK I joined Carysfort and stayed from the initial sea trials until the Japs surrendered. Soon after the Indonesia bombardments I was drafted to the staff of C-in- C SEAC based at Trinco until working my passage home on a LST - that in a different way was more hairy than the convoys off the Norwegian coast and the roughers/cold we encountered. 

Of the current listing I can only recall Jimmy Dickinson - super chap and what a footballer. Played with him in the team a couple of times - he was a whirlwind in defence one minute and up in attack the next - tremendously fit whilst we were mostly knackered and left him to do the work of about 5 men. The only other name I can recall is Ron Kidd. Hope he is in good health. The other coder onboard was Alec Langshawe - another scouse - and the two of them kept us in fits of laughter recalling scouser incidents. I wonder if Ron has knowledge of Alec's whereabouts. The other crew member I would love to learn about was your namesake but he was Sammy Donaldson from Glasgow. He could dance as good as Fred Astaire and captivated the girls on the few occasions we could get to a dance hall - and he enjoyed demonstrating his skills entertaining us on the mess deck. He and I had a pact that if anything happened to one of us the survivor would contact a list of relatives. 

I am not superstitious so becoming the 13th listing is not a problem. 

Congratulations on putting together a very fine website - I am just amazed at the content. I will try to attend any future functions although time is running out. I am very lucky to have good health - helped by the fact that we live a lot of the time in Spain and play regular golf although we still call Llandudno  " home”.