World War 2 (1939 - 1945)

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Image reproduced by permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

John Renwick Haig Haddow DSC

Service: Royal Navy
Unit: HMS Mercury
Rank: Lieutenant
Award: Distinguished Service Cross

John Haddow was born in the Pollokshields area of Glasgow in 1919, son of John Haig Haddow and Agnes Alison Haddow, Craigend of Capelrig, Newton Mearns. He was educated at Glasgow Academy from 1927 - 1933. On 8 December 1945, he married Beryl Peggy Aileen Hammond of Uplawmoor in St Mary's Church, Oatlands, Surrey. They had one son, Alistair.

John joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman and his first deployment was to the destroyer HMS Juno. From September 1940, when he was promoted to Acting Sub Lieutenant, he was on a promotion course on HMS Victory at Portsmouth until April 1941. In May and June, he was stationed at HMS Cyclops, a submarine depot ship, which worked with the operational boats of the 3rd Flotilla running from HMS Forth at Holy Loch, further up the River Clyde. For six months from June to December 1941 he served on HMS H44 an H class submarine, before transferring as a Lieutenant to HMS P42, which was renamed HMS Unbroken, from December 1941 until April 1943. The crew gave him the nickname ‘Dip rod’ due to his tall thin frame. HMS Unbroken spent most of her wartime career in the Mediterranean. She landed saboteurs at Antibes in the south of France before proceeding to Malta to reform the 10th Flotilla in June 1942. She was the only submarine operating from Malta until HMS United, HMS Unruffled and HMS Unrivalled joined. In July 1942, HMS Unbroken attacked the main west coast railway line on the Italian mainland and succeeded in blocking the line for 24 hours. However, she was counter-attacked and sustained a hit on the battery, forcing her to return to Malta. She was badly damaged in October 1942 by a counter-attack after hitting a tanker and was again repaired at Malta. During her time in the Mediterranean, she sank the Italian merchants Edda and Bologna, the Italian pilot vessel F 20/Enrica, and the Italian auxiliary minesweeper No. 17/Milano. She also damaged the Italian sailing vessel Vale Formoso II, the German (former Norwegian) tanker Regina, and most significantly, the Italian heavy cruiser Bolzano and the Italian light cruiser Muzio Attendolo during Operation Pedestal. Bolzano was hit in her oil tank and ran aground; the Attendolo lost sixty feet of bow. Both were out of action for the rest of the war.

For gallant and distinguished service during these war patrols in the Mediterranean John Haddow was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross on 22 December 1942 which was presented in November 1943.

From June 1943 until August 1943 he was on a Submarine Commanding Officer's training course at HMS Dolphin at Portsmouth and from June to December 1943 he took command of HMS P556, which was used in an anti-submarine training role. On 15 January 1944 he took command of HMS Visigoth, a new Vampire Class submarine which was launched on 30 November 1943 and commissioned on 9 March 1944.

He commanded the submarine until February 1945 and later was deployed to HMS Al Rawdah, a submarine accommodation ship of the 3rd submarine flotilla on Loch Fyne. In 1946, he was at HMS Mercury, the signal school near Petersfield. On 28 May of that year, during a flying exercise he was killed when the plane crashed. He was 26 years old and is buried in Mearns Cemetery – section F, grave 108 and commemorated on the Glasgow Academy and Mearns Kirk War Memorials.


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