The daughter of a man killed in the HMS Dasher catastrophe wants to know where her father’s body is, before it’s too late.

Dame Mary Richardson, 84, believes she is one of the few remaining descendants of the men who died in the Royal Navy aircraft carrier explosion in 1943.

She told the Herald: “We’ve got 366 bodies, where are they?

“We need to know before the rest of us are dead.

“I feel quite tearful, its quite upsetting, dreadful.”

Dame Richardson’s father was the ship’s butcher, George Habgood.

She said: “I remember VE-Day, I remember everyone having parties.

“But my mother, my sister and I were indoors crying because my father would never be back.”

March 27 marks the 77th anniversary of the sinking of HMS Dasher.

The annual memorial service is cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic but Dame Richardson does not want it forgotten.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: 76th anniversary in Ardrossan of the sinking of the HMS Dasher76th anniversary in Ardrossan of the sinking of the HMS Dasher

Instead, she wants something to be done, in particular for there to be answers about where the bodies of those that perished are buried.

She said: “The question of how it blew up and why has never been fully resolved, but that doesn’t matter to me.

“What does matter is all 379 men who went down.

“Loads were washed to shore, they rolled up on the quay and the tennis courts.

“There are 13 graves. But where are the other 366 bodies?

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Credit Hampton, J A (Lt) Royal Navy official photographer.Credit Hampton, J A (Lt) Royal Navy official photographer.

Dame Richardson said the way these men have been treated along with her father is appalling and she wants the question raised in Parliament.

However, there is a rule prohibiting questions about events that occurred more than 30 years ago without direct relevance to current issues.

Dame Richardson said: “We are not allowed to ask where our own father is buried. It’s unbelievable.

“When is the government going to respond before the last of the children are dead?

“Where is my father?”

Dame Richardson is determined to locate the bodies and give them an honourable military funeral at last.

She hopes by speaking up about the plight of families left behind that a question will be raised in the House of Lords and finally she will have an answer as to where her father’s remains have lain unrecognised for 77 years.

The former headteacher’s mother, Anna, passed away in 1979 and like so many bereaved wives she was never given the official truth of her husband’s death at the time of the disaster.

Instead, a friend of George travelled down to Lancashire, compelled to tell Anna despite there being a strict ban on talking of the event.

Dame Richardson told the Herald: “The friend was a bit of a rebel, and he came down to see my mother, to tell her.

“My mother said isn’t it tragic that George drowned when that was the death he was most afraid of.

“The friend said, ‘he didn’t drown, he was burnt to death’.”

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: George Arthur Habgood, Butcher First ClassGeorge Arthur Habgood, Butcher First Class