(Known as Alf King)
25/01/1918 – 21/03/1985
Alf (or Johnnie as he was known in the Navy) was born 25th January 1918 in Aberdare, Mid Glamorgan. He was one of six children but a set of twins died very young and his father too died when he was 4 years old.
At a young age, after leaving school, he tried working in the mines in the Glyn Neath valley but after being carried out three times decided to join the Navy at age 18years – year is now 1936.
His home port was Devonport, Plymouth and his first ship was HMS Illustrious.
On board this ship he served for approximately 3 years before joining HMS Exeter. Apparently himself and his friends always preferred the Illustrious, reasons unknown.
Alf (standing in Naval uniform) with older brother Cliff (Army)
Sister Jinny on left, younger brother Dilwyn (naval) and mother Sara
When Alf joined the Exeter he attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer, Stoker trade.
Alf’s first introduction into warfare was victorious but this was soon to change and ended in a three and a half year nightmare in the hands of the Japanese.
Battle of the River Plate
Sinking of the Exeter
Japanese POW (Fokuoka 2B - Nagasaki) by Alf King
Bibliography by Rob Rae
HMS Exeter Crew Roll
Alf and Thelma on their Wedding Day
28th December 1939
After the War Alf returned to Devonport and spent 2 years in Haverfordwest, West Wales where he finished his Naval Service.
Unfortunately Alf died March 21st 1982 after being ill for a few years with Senile Dementia. When he returned from being a prisoner he was advised by his family Doctor that his body and mind will have aged at least 8 years due to a diet deficient in the Vitamin “Niacin” which is necessary for the nervous system.
He left his wife and two children, son Malcolm and daughter Virginia (also known as Sue).
Alf is now resting in the Crematorium in Aberdare, Mid Glamorgan.
In Remembrance of my dad Alf King
By Sue Cahill (King)
The FEPOW Prayer
And we that are left grow old with the years
Remembering the heartache, the pain and the tears
Hoping and praying that never again
Man will sink to such sorrow and shame
The price that was paid we will always remember
Every day, every month, not just in November.
We Shall Remember Them