The first 100
Harry Waddingham’s family were Irish however Harry was born in Fulham 100 years ago, 1916, due to the ‘Troubles’ brewing in Ireland. At 14 Harry left school and joined the Royal Navy and spent 2 years at the training ship HMS Ganges. Here he became the Button Boy, before joining the Fleet where he became a Buoy Jumper. When a Naval ship entered harbour, a young agile Junior Seaman like Harry was rowed out to the Buoy. He then had to jump from the whaler onto the Buoy with a line and secure the destroyer.
Harry went on to serve at the evacuation of Dunkirk when his destroyer was sunk and then subsequently at the evacuation of Crete. At Scapa Flow, Orkney, the destroyer he was serving on was also destroyed but Harry survived! He then served on the North Atlantic convoys as well as Russian convoys.
At the end of the war, having obtained a degree in Marine Physics, he was discharged with the rank of Lieutenant, and became a school teacher. As the salary wasn’t great he then joined the RAF’s educational wing. He retired from the RAF with the rank of Squadron Leader. Harry then went on to teach at the Archbishop Tennison Grammar School, London.
Up until a few years ago Harry would do a 100 sit ups per day. At 100 he writes poetry and is able to hold court spectacularly!