Alfred King

25/01/1918 – 21/03/1985

Alf (or Johnnie as he was known in the Navy) was born 25th January 1918 in Aberdare, Mid Glamorgan. He was one of six children but a set of twins died very young and his father too died when he was 4 years old.


At a young age, after leaving school, he tried working in the mines in the Glyn Neath valley but after being carried out three times decided to join the Navy at age 18years – year is now 1936. 

His home port was Devonport, Plymouth and his first ship was HMS Illustrious.

On board this ship he served for approximately 3 years before joining HMS Exeter. Apparently himself and his friends always preferred the Illustrious, reasons unknown.

Family Group

Alf (standing in Naval uniform) with older brother Cliff (Army)

    Sister Jinny on left, younger brother Dilwyn (naval) and mother Sara

When Alf joined the Exeter he attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer, Stoker trade.

Alf’s first introduction into warfare was victorious but this was soon to change and ended in a three and a half year nightmare in the hands of the Japanese.


    HMS Exeter HMS Exeter

      Battle of the River Plate Battle of the River Plate

      Despatch Despatch - The Battle of the Plate Despatch by Rear Admiral Harwood

      Sinking of the Exeter Sinking of the Exeter

      Despatch Despatch - The Battle of the Java Sea by Commodore J.A Collins

      HMS Exeter Crew Roll HMS Exeter Crew Roll

     Japanese POW

    Service Record Service Record


Alf and Thelma on their Wedding Day

28th December 1939


After the War Alf returned to Devonport and spent 2 years in Haverfordwest, West Wales where he finished his Naval Service.

Unfortunately Alf died March 21st 1982 after being ill for a few years with Senile Dementia. When he returned from being a prisoner he was advised by his family Doctor that his body and mind will have aged at least 8 years due to a diet deficient in the Vitamin “Niacin” which is necessary for the nervous system.

He left his wife and two children, son Malcolm and daughter Virginia (also known as Sue).

Alf is now resting in the Crematorium in Aberdare, Mid Glamorgan.


In Remembrance of my dad Alf King

By Sue Cahill (King)



The FEPOW Prayer


And we that are left grow old with the years

Remembering the heartache, the pain and the tears

Hoping and praying that never again

Man will sink to such sorrow and shame

The price that was paid we will always remember

Every day, every month, not just in November.

We Shall Remember Them




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