11 Nov, 2009 @ 19:13
1 min read

Last of the frogmen

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

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

Do you have a story? Contact newsdesk@theolivepress.es

1 Comment

  1. That’s kind of a funny story but a lot of people don’t know this but Popeye The Sailor Man was a real man and not just a fictitious cartoon character, For those who don’t know that but Popeye was a famous cartoon back in like the early 20’s to today. There’s also a Monument for the famous man in Illinois were the creator used real people in the cartoon dialog and plot. Supposedly the real Popeye got the benz, actually i don’t know how to spell it but its a syndrome that’s caused by going under water at deep depths and coming up to quickly with out Decompressing, and if you did suffer from that condition after being in the ocean they’d probably put you in a Decompression chamber

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