THE last surviving frogman, who served in Gibraltar during the Second World War, has spoken to the Olive Press about the thousands of Allied ships he and his colleagues saved.
Speaking on Remembrance Day, Sydney Knowles, 88, revealed how his job during the war was to locate and remove Nazi mines placed on British vessels.
“During the war I was just one of many thousands who were serving their country and I didn’t consider myself to be special.”
Knowles, originally from Preston but living in Coin for 22 years, explained modestly: “During the war I was just one of many thousands who were serving their country and I didn’t consider myself to be special.”
He added: “Each week a convoy of 30 to 40 Allied ships would arrive in Gibraltar. We would search as many as we could before they left for their destinations, which went mostly to Malta or North Africa.
“This continued over a period of eighteen months or more.”
The team were searching for limpet mines that the Navy believed were planted by enemy frogmen.
“We found mines on at least half a dozen ships,” he revealed.
His group was based at Jumpers Bastion, just below the Alameda Gardens, where the lift station now takes tourists to the top of Gibraltar.
He was part of the Royal Navy’s Underwater Working Party, which was under the command of Lieutenant Crabb.
Commander Crabb became famous after claims that he was murdered by MI5 for his links to Russia after the Second World War.
He literally disappeared in 1956 after being recruited by MI6 for a job in Portsmouth.
A body was later found, but the mystery has never been sold.
Knowles has just published a book, ‘A Diver in the Dark’, detailing his time as a Navy frogman.
The book is available from www.woodfieldpublishing.com