We will remember them

Leo Havard

W_O_Havard225The Lancastria doll that survived the sinking
(Courtesy of Caroline Boyce)

One of the soldiers on board the Lancastria when it was hit was Warrant Officer Leo Havard (pictured right) from Brecon in Wales, serving in the Royal Army Service Corps. During his time in France he had bought a pretty French doll for his only niece, Ann, 6. When the ship was bombed he managed to grab the doll in its wooden box and keep it with him while he attempted to get to safety in the ensuing chaos.

He never spoke much about the incident to his family, saying that he had been sworn to secrecy, so it was assumed that he was picked up by one of the rescue launches sent by nearby ships. The doll had never been wet, so he could not have been one of the unfortunates forced into the sea. It was said by the family that he arrived back in Britain after the rescue with nothing but the doll. With such a history, it was a very prized possession. Ann eventually gave it to her only niece, Joanna Duncan, who lives in Dollar.

W.O. Havard passed away in 1977.

The doll that survived the sinking

The doll that survived the sinking