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World Ship Society - ANNOUNCEMENTS - Obituaries

This section lists obituaries of noted Society members, from 1979, many of which have been published by the World Ship Society in our monthly magazine, Marine News, or in various branch publications. 

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BEDFORD, John G.  It was a great shock to all the members and friends of the Belfast Branch to learn of the death of John on 3rd October. [1998]  John was a founder member of the Branch and had served on the Committee as a Secretary for many years.  He was also a former Chief Naval Architect of Harland & Wolff, Belfast.  His interest in and knowledge of ship design was something he was always willing to share with branch members, especially when he would bring along some ship plans to a branch meeting.  He had a part in the design of many vessels from that great shipbuilding yard, including the CANBERRA.  An interview which he had given to B.B.C. radio for a programme on the building of CANBERRA had been re-broadcast recently.  At our branch meeting on the 14th October, John was to have brought the second part of an illustrated talk on ‘Cross Channel Ferry Services’.  However, this was not to be.  John was a humble, kindly gentleman and it was a pleasure on our part to have known him.  We express our deepest sympathy to his daughter Hilary and son Paul at this time.  [MN52-1,page9] [ [Fred Rainey]

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BISHOP, Alan.  It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Alan Bishop at the premature age of 66. Alan was a larger than life character with an ability to throw himself wholeheartedly into everything he touched, attempted and achieved. He was blessed with a great intelligence and there was hardly a subject he could not comment on without knowledge and conviction. His company was always welcome and whether at work or play he always gave 100%.

Alan was born on 30th November 1946 in Littlehampton and enjoyed a happy
childhood playing along the river Arun and visiting the various boatyards where
his nautical interest first manifested itself. After junior school he attended
Chichester High School for Boys from 1958-1965, but sadly, lost his mother when
only 14, leaving his sister Audrey to bring him up.

It was in the early 1960s that he started visiting places such as Portsmouth
and Southampton and honing his interest in ships and boats. Between 1965 and
1970 he was an Auxiliary Coastguard at Littlehampton.  Alan joined the World Ship Society in 1961 and became the chairman of the South Coast Branch in 1977, a role he performed until 1990, also producing the branch magazine South Coast Log for many years. In 1999 he joined the main committee of the World Ship Society where he became advertising manager until 2011.

Alan started his career in public transport with Southdown Motor Services in 1965 rising from a trainee to higher management. He transferred to Stagecoach (South) in 1990 as divisional manager, and then moved from Sussex to Yorkshire where he joined Yorkshire Traction (Huddersfield) as manager 1991. He later moved to Metro (West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive) in 1998 but finally retired at the end of November 2009 on health grounds.  In addition to shipping his interests were many and varied: all forms of transport, R.N.L.I. lifeboats, music etc, and he was a member of the R.N.L.I. Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society, the Solent Maritime Society, the WSS small Craft Group, and the Yorkshire Ship Enthusiasts.  Sadly Alan was plagued with serious health issues for the past 15 years, which caused him mobility difficulties as time progressed, but despite the pain and discomfort he always tried to attend AGMs and other events as much as possible, and he was fortunate in having a group of close friends who always helped out with transport and companionship.  Alan lived life to the full, enjoying food, Stella Artois (and other beverages) and especially friendships. He was immensely proud of his family and was so pleased when Grandson Harvey was born.

Alan will be sadly missed by his:- Son Michael & his Fiancée Shirley, Daughter Mary, Son in Law Tim, and Grandson Harvey, Sister Audrey, Brother in Law Tony, Nephew Mark and Niece Glenys  Former Wife June, All of his Friends and Colleagues  [MN67, No.5]

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BLACKHURST, Derek.  Derek Blackhurst passed away sadly on 13th February 2005 after a long illness.  He was the former Honorary Treasurer of the World Ship Society, a task that he carried out with charm, ability and great aplomb.  He was a staunch supporter of the Plymouth Branch of the World Ship Society and a close friend and helper to all their members – despite a two hour round trip drive there from his home.  HE often entertained the branch at his “office” and at home with Margaret and they shared many happy occasions with them both over the years.  His guidance, support and presence will be sadly missed.  He was also a founder member of the South West Maritime Historical Society and served on the committee for a number of years.  His help and knowledge was also invaluable in setting up the Small Craft Group of the WSS and his assistance with the research for the various projects of the SCG was welcomed and appreciated.  Derek ran his own engineering company in Cheshire but had a holiday home in Salcombe and on his retirement he and Margaret moved there permanently.  His great collection of books, photographs, artefacts and paintings soon filled the house and thus his “office” was found on the waterfront at Salcombe to house his collection.  His great passions were for Fisher & Co of Barrow and Philip & Sons of Dartmouth and his book on the latter was a testimony to his meticulous research and a truly magnificent volume.  I will always remember the assistance he gave me with my many queries and know he will be sadly missed by all who knew him.  [MN59-9,Page520] [PS] 09.2005]

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BONSOR, Noel R.P.  It is with great regret that we record the death during April [1985] of our Vice-President, Mr. Noel Bonsor.  Internationally renowned as a shipping historian, the first edition of his “North Atlantic Seaway” set a new standard of scholarship on the subject when it appeared in 1955.  He was an indefatigable researcher and over the years built up a unique archive of material relating particularly to the passenger ships of the North and South Atlantic and members will share our feelings of pride and gratitude that in his will, Mr. Bonsor has left this books and written records to the Central Record of the World Ship Society, of which he became a Vice-President in 1981.  [MN39-6.page313]

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BOWDEN, Bob.   Bob Bowden, who passed away on 26 February 2011 aged 76 after a short illness, had been a member of the World Ship Society and of Merseyside Branch for over fifty years.  He was well-known as the printer of our programmes, dinner menus, calendars and any other documents needed, a task he also undertook for a number of WSS branches in the UK for many years. He also made an excellent job of binding members’ shipping magazines and producing postcard albums. His last special job was the production of the fine dinner menus for the WSS AGM hosted by Merseyside Branch in May 2010.

Bob lived his whole life in Wallasey. He served his time as a bookbinder in one of the large printers in Liverpool but also took a keen interest in printing itself, so much so that in the late 1960s he set up his own jobbing printing business in Borough Road, Seacombe, acquiring redundant presses and ancillary equipment, all of which he maintained in excellent working order over the coming decades.

As far as shipping was concerned, Bob’s “patch” was Birkenhead Docks where from a very young age he would go aboard the variety of traditional cargo vessels that abounded there until the 1970s. He always asked for an impression of the ship’s stamp to go into his self-produced albums and amassed a considerable collection over the years. He was particularly interested in Chinese ships and made some remarkable friendships with individual crew members whom he would invite home for meals and shows them around Merseyside.

Apart from his active participation in branch activities, Bob was very keen on making model ships, being an active member of the New Brighton Model Boat Society. Being a very practical person, he produced some fine models and fellow members would gather at his house on a Friday evening discussing ships and modelling until the early hours. Bob’s funeral at Landican was attended by a large number of his ship and model enthusiast friends including branch members. We send to his family our sincere condolences on their loss.

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BROCK, Rear Admiral P.W.,   C.B., D.S.O.  It is with deep regreat that we record the death during October [1988] of the Society’s Vice-President, Rear-Admiral Brock.  A Trustee of the National Maritime Museum, Admiral Brock had been a Vice-President for 20 years.  During his service career he was awarded the D.S.O. for services during the Korean War and subsequently served as Flag Officer, Middle East from 1954 to 1956, in which year he was appointed a C.B.  [MN42-12,page698]

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BROWN, David Keith, MEng, CEng, FRINA, RCNC.   The name of David Brown, who died in Bath on 15 April 2008, will be well known to every reader of Warships and every member of the World Ship Society, for his contributions to the naval interests of the Society.  He spent his entire career as a naval architect with the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors, and after retirement in 1988 wrote extensively on every aspect of British warships and their design.  Born in 1928, his interest in warships developed in his schooldays in Leeds, where he and Geoffrey Hudson would follow wartime news of British warships, build models of them and take every opportunity to see them.  Good at maths and science, he took a first class honours degree in naval acrchitecture from Liverpool University in 1949, shortly before the course there closed.  He spent a short period with Vickers-Armstrong's shipyard at Barrow before being selected to join the RCNC.  As part of the well planned RCNC training, he spent time with the RN to gain first hand experience of warship operation, valuable for every ship designer, where awareness of operational issues is paramount.  He had short attachments to a variety of warships, including the carrier GLORY in the Med in 1953, where he was horrified at the accident rate of Fleet Air Arm pilots in those days before angled decks, mirror landing sights and steam catapults.  Other vessels included cruise EURYALUS, a Loch class frigate and a T class submarine.

He completed the Constructors course at the RN College at Greenwich with high marks — his later analysis showed that high marks there were a good predictor to rising to high rank in the profession.  As a young Assistant Constructor, his second posting in 1954 was to the small office in Whitehall - the bulk of the RCNC had moved to Bath in 1940.  Here he was involved in the royal yacht BRITANNIA and early studies for the Tribal class frigates.  It was during this period that we first met, both being members of the Naval Photograph Club.  Although most of the Club's activities centred around the circulation by mail of batches of photographs, prints of which could then be ordered, it held occasional meetings in a room above a restaurant opposite Victoria station in London.  Here photos could be exchanged and the Club's surplus prints sold off at prices of 2d and 3d (1p today!)

David's subsequent career postings reflected the RCNC philosophy of moving staff around to broaden their experience.  Although his primary interest was in ship design and secondarily in hydrodynamics, he held a variety of other posts mainly in the Bath area, including attending the Senior Officers War Course in 1973.  He retained a lifelong interest in rallying and motor racing, and latterly in industrial archaeology.  He married relatively late in life, having met teacher Avis Pritchard in London while teaching at Greenwich 1967-70.  Katharine was born in 1969, now a successful lawyer and Richard in 1971, now an officer in the Royal Engineers.  He was always proud of their achievements, and pleased to become a grandfather in 2006.  By that time he was divorced from Avis, although remaining on good terms with her.

As with any professional engineer (or Chartered Engineer or Eur Ing as he was happy to style himself) he had to write many official reports.  While some were classified, he was sometimes able to persuade the authorities to let him publish technical papers based on them, for example in the Transactions of Royal Institution of Naval Architects (e.g. evaluation of the hyrdofoil SPEEDY in 1981).  Articles on purely historical aspects of warship design were less constrained, so from about 1980 a steady stream of such appeared including a series on Attack and Defence in the quarterly Warships.  These drew not only his knowledge of technical aspects and foreign warships but an awareness of the relevant political and economic backgrounds.  For example he challenged the belief of superior French warship design during the Napoleonic era, pointing out that it was 'horses for courses', so while French ships sometimes showed superier speed, the balance of advantage lay with British designs needing good seakeeping and endurance for blockading roles.

He was one of the first members of the Ship News Club that became the World Ship Society, so was a member for over 60 years.  He encouraged the warship enthusiasts — always a minority — becoming a member of the Naval (Sub) Committee when it was formed in the 1960s.  He was a keen supporter of the annual naval meeting at Bristol, making a contribution at nearly every one.  Shortish articles appeared in Warships (Supplement) although his 'meatier' papers tended to be published by RINA or in journals such as Mariners Mirror (e.g. form and speed of sailing warships in 1998) and Warship International (e.g. submarine diving depths in 1987).  These covered a broad range, not only in time covering 19th and 20th centuries, but also topics ranging from the introduction of steel to speed trials.

He rose to the position of Deputy Chief Naval Architect in the MInistry of Defence in 1982.  By that time his beloved RCNC (whose centenary history he wrote in 1983) had lost its pre-eminent role in warship procurement, becoming more of a technical adviser to administrative civil servants, accountants and systems analysts, who had little awareness of the complexities of warship design.  However he was proud of the Castle class offshore patrol vessel design, which drew on his knowledge of performance of WW2 escorts, insisting on a length of at least 250ft (80m) for seakindliness.

Although not really ready for retirement at the civil service age of 60, it did provide the opportunity for him to write much more prolifically, helped by the acquisition of an Amstrad word processor in 1986.  That enabled him to send out drafts to colleagues for comment, but more importantly easiest to decipher.  It was gratifying to see his readiness to accept suggestions and to acknowledge them publicly.  At this time, the Head of the Naval Historical Branch was another David Brown, ex Fleet Air Arm, but they were usually disitiguished by their initials DK and JD.

He will be best remembered for his five volumes series on the development of British warship design from 1815 ("Before the Ironclad" 1990) to the 1990s ("Rebuilding the Royal Navy" 2003 with co-author George Moore). In these, he drew on the breadth and depth of his knowledge and experience, so they will stand for all time as his legacy.  The extensive appendices provide detailed information on specific topics ranging from ship stability to construction costs.  These topics had often previously been the subject of articles in Warhsips (at first a quarterly then an annual), Warship International, Mariners Mirror and Journal of Naval Engineering (a publication of MoD).  He wrote many book reviews, especially for the latter journal — a good way to build up his personal library.  His reputation with editors and publishers was such that they welcomed his contributions, often supported by photos from his extensive collection.  However when he wrote a biography of one of his heroes, William Froude pioneer of scientific ship model testing, with some associated industrial archaeology, it took him 15 years to find a publisher; limited market, they said.

Like any good professional, he was keen to learn from mistakes.  His investigations into the deficient stability of the Type I Hunt class escort destroyers identified the unchecked calculation errors that reduced their performance.  His note on the subject identified not only the source of the error but the individuals concerned, but by code only despite the events having occurred 60 years previously, although when pressed, he did tell me their names.

He was always ready to help others and share his experience, for example when he heard of my interest in tank landing craft, he sent me a wad of notes on WW2 LCT designs.  He was always willing to express a technical opnion, whether on his favourite design (the WW1 V and W destroyers) or a design issue such as the risks of longitudinal subdivision in damaged warships.  Indeed he was happiest writing on subjects that drew together his wide experience, for example 'History as a Design Tool' (RINA 1992).  He was always complimentary about others' writing where they had done original research, less so when they were repetitive 'pot-boilers' or contained avoidable techincal errors.  He was kind enough to say that my 'Big Gun Monitors' was the best of its type, although sadly did not live to see the (improved) second edition.  Although happy to give talks and make presentations, his delivery was somewhat hesitant for such an authority in his field, but he was always willing to answer questions with further information and insight.

He became first a Vice President of WSS, then President in 2000.  He was elected a Vice President of the much larger RINA, always willing to serve on its committees or chair meetings.

David was one of those fortunate people where profession and hobby were virtually indistinguishable.  Most of his career was spent during the time that professional engineers were highly regarded and nurtured in Ministry of Defence circles.  The variety of ship related posts expanded his experience, so enabling him (and his colleagues) to make a full contribution to the demanding art and science of warship design.   Sadly such opportunities have all but disappeared in today's UK government and industrial organisations, with fragmented procurement processes and corporate knowledge, experience and continuity.  But David's legacy will last, contributing to and chronicling the golden decades of the Royal Navy's warship design, construction and operation.

[report by Dr. Ian Buxton, Vice President, World Ship Society, was published in Issue 159 of the World Ship Society's publication "Warships"]

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BROWN, David K.  1928 - 2008. Members will be saddened to learn of the unexpected death of David K. Brown on 15th April, 2008.  David was one of the half dozen or so founder members of Michael Crowdy's Ship News Club in 1946 and went on to become President of the World Ship Society in 2001 and was a Vice-President at the time of his death.  He became Chairman of the Society's Naval Sub Committee in 1990 and served with distinction in that role for more than a decade.  After graduating in 1949 with a First Class Honors degree in Naval Architecture, David joined the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors and subsequently played a major role in the design and development of many of the Royal Navy's warships until he retired as the Deputy Chief Naval Architect in 1988.  He served as a Member of the Council and as Vice-President of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, President and later Vice-President of the Naval Photographic Club and was keenly interested in motor sport proving to be a successful rally navigator.

David was also a keen naval historian and was eidely recognised as a leading expert on British warships from 1815.  From 1982 onwards he was a regular attendee at the Society's Annual Naval Meeting in Bristol giving his name to the Annual Savid K Brown lecture in 2007.  Warship enthusiasts will best know David for his outstanding series of books entitled "Before the Ironclad", "Warrior to Dreadnought", "The Grand Fleet", "Nelson to Vanguard" and "Rebuilding the Royal Navy" in which he explored the design, technical and performance history of British warships during the last 150 plus years.  He had the happy knack of making this intellectually demanding subject accessible to the layman and in so doing brought a huge amount of pleasure to all interested in warships.  In conversation with him the day before he died, he seemed instictively to know that the recently published "Atlantic Escorts, Ships Weapons & Tactics in World War II" would be his last book.  He was scheduled to give a talk entitled "Capsize, the loss of destroyers in bad weather" at the Annual Naval Meeting on 31st May - fortunately his script was submitted in early March and will be presented on the day as he would have wished.  I was always impressed by the breadth and depth of his technical and historical knowledge which shone through in his books.  David was always keen to share his knowledge with other enthusiasts and he will be sorely missed.    [MN62-06,page327] [report by Dr. Richard Osborne, WSS Chairman] [06.2008]

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BROWN, J. David.  Members will be saddened to read of the death of former World Ship Society Vice President David Brown on 11th August, 2001, at the age of 63, after a long illness.  David Brown served in the Royal Navy from 1957-69 before joining the Naval Historical Branch of the Ministry of Defence, of which he became Head in 1977.  He published a number of books and monographs and will be remembered particularly for Carrier Operations of World War II, The Seafire and The Royal Navy and the Falklands War.  David was an enthusiastic naval historian and supported the research work being undertaken by many WSS members at the Naval Historical Branch.  His efforts were recognised in 1983 when he was invited to become a Vice President of the Society but ill-health forced him to resign just a few years later.  He will be particularly missed by all those who knew him for his drive, enthusiasm and sense of fun. [RO] [MN55-10,page583] [10.2001]

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BROWN, John.  In December 2007, members of the Dorset Branch were very saddened on hearing the news of John's death after a long battle against pancretic cancer.  John was a Life member of the Society and a staunch member of the Dorset Branch since it was founded twenty one years ago. He has frequently held office and for many years has been Branch Vice Chairman.  Members have had the privilege of listening to many of John's excellent talks.  He was a very keen QE2 "cruiser" and had been due to sail on the Christmas cruise.  Our condolences go to John's two sons and their families.  We shall all miss him.

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BRUNTON, Jim.  It is with sadness that we have to report that Jim Brunton died on 13th August after a short illness.  Jim joined the newly formed mid-Essex branch shortly after moving from Liverpool to London with Ellerman Lines in 1973 and became their first Chairman.  Five years ago, having moved back north, he became Mutual Interests secretary, deriving great pleasure from being able to bridge the gap between hundreds of members in all parts of the world.  We extend our sympathies to his widow, Ella.  [MN46-40,page597]

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BRYAN, John.  Our good friend and long-term member of the Firth of Forth Branch, John Bryan, passed away suddenly in January 2003.  Around 10 members attended his funeral and we extend our very sincere condolences to his family and many friends.  John made many good friends in the branch and his presence and good nature will be sadly missed. [MN57-6,page328] [06.2003]

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BURT, Dennis. Captain Dennis Gordon Burt was born on Denman Island, British Columbia, on January 14, 1948 and grew up on Gabriola Island.  At 18 he left for sea, working on deep-sea vessels around the world, moving up the ranks, until he became one of the youngest Master Mariners in Canada, at the age of 31.  A gentleman to the end!  His wry sense of humour and intelligent curiousity were his trademark.  Dennis lived his life to the fullest.  He stood on the North Pole, traversed the Kyber Pass, and rounded the Cape Horn.  His life at sea granted him tremendous opportunities and he shied sway from none of them.  At 30 he returned home fo Gabriola Island on leave and met his wife to be and later with two sons Dennis now decided to settle in North Vancouver, where he worked for Transport Canada, at the Port of Vancouver for 24 years where he worked as a ship inspector.  Dennis took a keen interest in community programs and served as President of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 118, President of the World Ship Society-Vancouver Branch, President of the Navy League-BC Mainland Division and was a member of the Union Club and a former Director of the Plimsoll Club of Vancouver.  Dennis passed away on April 13, 2007 after a long battle with cancer.  Dennis will be missed by all of those who experienced his presence.  [MN61-06,page327] [06.2007]

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BYASS, Keith. - Society Photographer and Printer.
We were very saddened to hear in early November 2009 of the death of Keith Byass who passed away peacefully at home in his sleep.  Keith for over twenty years handled the printing side of the Society's print offers producing photographs from negatives held in the WSS/WSPL Archive and spent many hours in the dark room.  Keith had a large collection of his own photographs and If on occassion he found a negative did not match up to his expectations and he had a better one himself , he would substitute it so that WSS members got a better photograph. If a mistake occurred with ordering, a word with Keith and he would go back to his dark room and within a day or so matters were put right, nothing was too much trouble.  He also supplied photographs for the Society's and  other publications and his work graces many books.  Keith  was a member of West Riding Branch WSS for many years and  a judge at their annual slide competition.  He took an increasing interest in the painting of ships at which he also excelled and a number of Society members are proud owners of his work.  Despite reaching an age of 88 Keith continued to supply images for other ship enthusiasts to enjoy and will be greatly missed.  Our condolences to his wife Cynthia and his son and two daughters.   [02.2010]

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CALLIS, John G.  It is with great regret that we record the death of John G. Callis, well-known photographer and long term member of the Society.  He went to sea with Ellermans during the war whilst still in his teens, being sunk once, and for most of the 1950s served on Trinity House light vessels around the Thames Estuary, building up a unique photographic record of ships underway in all weathers.  He came ashore in 1960 and until he retired in the mid-1980s, served with HM Coastguard in the Dover Strait area.  His son Stephen intends in due course to market his father’s collection in his memory.  [MN50-7,page394]

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CARTER, CRAIG.  We regret to announce the passing of one of the longstanding members of the Society. Craig was quite influential in the early days of the Society (his membership number was 150). He was active in the Merseyside Branch but was probably better known to many members through his journalist prowess with Charles Birchall Ltd., publishers of the Journal of Commerce and Sea Breezes. He also acted as Assistant Editor of the Society's journal, MARINE NEWS, for a period of time.

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CHARLES, Winifred.  Her many friends will be sad to know that Winifred Charles died suddenly after a short illness, on the 9th July [1993].  Winifred, with her husband Desmond, were long time members and active supporters of the Society especially the West Midlands Branch of which she was Secretary.  She had many interests and was secretary to other Societies and organisations and will be sadly missed by all who knew her.  Our sympathies go to her husband Desmond.  [MN48-2,page74]

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CHESTERTON, Douglas Ridley.  It is with great regret that we record the death of the Revd. Douglas Ridley Chesterton on 29th March [1979].  He was in Antwerp at the time, representing the World Ship Society at a conference — the sort of task at which he excelled.  An unassuming person, he was nonetheless an outstanding leader among men and those of us who had the good fortune to work closely with him always felt refreshed and revitalised by his company.  He became closely associated with the affairs of the Society in 1971 when he joined the committee and his wise counsel has played a considerable part in the development of the Society meantime.  His particular interest  was the World Ship Photo Library and it was his vision that this should become the world’s leading ‘private’ source of negative material.  Increasingly, his time had been directed towards persuading people to ensure the preservation of their life’s work by bequeathing their collections to the Society and the World Ship Photo Library will be a living, and increasingly valuable, memorial to his work.  Members everywhere, and especially those who had had the privilege of knowing Douglas Chesterton, will join us in extending our sympathies to his widow, daughter and son, whose loss we share.  Donations in his memory can be sent either to the United Society for Christian Literature or the Baptist Missionary Society.  [MN33-5,page223]

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CHISHOLM, Malcolm M.B.E.  We sadly report the passing this month of Malcolm Chisholm, who had been a stalwart member of the Branch since August 1981.  Certainly a good record, and he served for several years as [Port Natal. South Africa] Branch Chairman.  Ever helpful, a true English Gentleman in all ways, Malcolm hailed from Southampton.  He served as a deck officer with Union-Castle Line.  During the Second World War he was at sea aboard the cargo vessel RICHMOND CASTLE and, when torpedoed, Malcolm spent over a week in an open lifeboat with his compatriots.  For his service in this regard, he was later awarded the MBE.

After the war, he lived in Rhodesia, Nyasaland and then South Africa.  He returned to the sea for a short while, still with Union-Castle, aboard the diminutive coastal vessel ROVUMA along the East African coast.  He married the late Elva, whom we also remember fondly.  We are very grateful to have known him (and Elva) during their Durban years.  He loved ship watching from his verandah at the flat at Rocca Marina, North Beach, with its excellent view.  Malcolm did not miss much.

In his last few years, especially when not enjoying the best of health, he met Emmie de Billot, who watched over him wonderfully.  They even did a cruise with MSC and enjoyed much happiness during this time.  Emmie, we salute you, too!  Malcolm reached 87 years of age, had lived an illustrious life, and was a true friend to many.  He will be greatly missed.  [Port Natal Bluff Signal, Mar 2013]

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CLARKE, John.  We record with regret the death of Mr. John Clarke of Margate, one of the Society’s most senior members, at Canterbury on 9th March [1981].  A kind and unassuming person, he was a most popular member of the East Kent Branch who now mourn a well-loved friend.  [MN35-5,page202]

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COLEMAN, Bob.  One of the earliest members and compiler of Naval Craft notes in Marine News since 1966, died on 21 January 2009 aged 86.  His interest in warships started as a teenager with visits to Navy Week at Chatham and Portsmouth in the late 1930s.  He built up a network of correspondents which added to his own information for the Naval Craft notes.  Early retirement gave him more time for ship visits, especially Portsmouth with its harbour boat trips, taking notes but not photographs.  Although not a researcher himself, he was always happy to share the information he gathered.  He relished being Marine News representtive liaising with navy public relations departments, especially for warship official visits, where he would always leave a copy of Marine News.  The cheerful presence of this good friend will be sadly missed in warship circles.  [03.2009]

COLEMAN, Bob. 1924-2009
Bob Coleman, one of the World Ship Society’s earliest members and compiler of the Naval Craft notes in Marine News crossed the bar on 21 January 2009. His interest in warships started as a teenager with visits to what were then known as Navy Weeks in 1936 when he went to Portsmouth and then Chatham in 1937 and 1938.  Navy Weeks in 1939 were cancelled but he went to Weymouth in August of that year for the Reserve Fleet Review. Apart from a couple of boat trips at Portsmouth in 1939 he did not visit there again until August 1944 when unsurprisingly there were no boat trips. He regretted that as a schoolboy he was not taken to 1935 Silver Jubilee or 1937 Coronation Reviews.

Bob rarely missed a Navy Day (as they became) postwar, visiting also Devonport, Portland and Rosyth. In the 1950s, the main dockyards would hold them at Easter and August Bank Holidays so there might be eight in a year. His house in Croydon held a large collection of ND programmes. He was a member of Warship Record Club in the 1960s which circulated lists about naval vessels, out of which grew this magazine as a Supplement to Marine News. He built up a network of correspondents that added to his own information for the Naval Craft notes.

Early retirement from the Personnel Department of North Thames Gas Board in 1977 gave him more time for ship visits, especially Portsmouth with its harbour boat trips. Reminiscent of Fred T Jane, he made extensive notes of what he saw taking notes but not photographs. Although not a researcher himself, he was always happy to share the information he collected. He relished being the Marine News representative liaising with navy public relations departments, especially for warship official visits, where he would always leave a copy of Marine News. Surprisingly for one who enjoyed visits to the UK by non-RN warships, he never travelled abroad to see them in home waters. Briefly married in the 1950s but with no children, he always took an interest in his friends’ families. The cheerful presence of this good friend will be sadly missed in warship circles.  [05.2009]

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COLLEDGE, Jim.  The name Jim Colledge is known the world over to warship buffs for his authoritative works on Royal and Commonwealth Navy ships.  Sadly Jim died on 26th April  [1997] aged 89, maintaining his interest and correspondence to the end.  Jim’s two-volume Ships of the Royal Navy, his Warships of World Wart II (with Trevor Lenton) and his British Warships 1914-19 (with Fred Dittmar) are the three most thumbed books on any warship enthusiast’s shelves.  The information in them forms a uniquely valuable compendium, compiled from years of meticulous research, recorded in very neat handwriting.  As a teacher, he was able to get to the Naval Library during school holidays and consult official volumes such as Pink and Blue Lists, maintaining his regular visits after retirement.  Jim was born in Chatham, so not surprisingly started work in the dockyard, where he became a keen observer of the ships themselves.  His training as a draughtsman enabled him to get a job as a craft and drawing teacher during the slump of the 1930s.  Marrying his wife Rena in 1940, they settled in Walthamstow, later moving to Wanstead.  Jim was always willing to share the information he had gathered, to follow up obscure inquiries and to help younger members.  He was greatly pleased when his definitive books were first published in the 1960s, standard works used for reference everywhere.

His work for the Society was equally unstinting, having become a member in the late 1940s.  He was Editor of Warships (Supplement) from its start in 1966 to 1988, a main Committee member in the 1970s, a key member of Central Record Team, and a member of the Naval Sub-Committee.  Overall his contribution helped establish the Society in the field of warships just as firmly as in merchant ships.  We offer our condolences to Rena, his two sons and two daughters and six grandchildren; he will be sadly missed by all. [MN51-6,page328] [ILB]

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COLLINS, Bob.  We have to report, with much sadness, the passing of Bob Collins at the age of 90. Bob died peacefully on Sunday 1st of December in hospital. He was the Secretary of the Torbay and East Devon Branch for the last 10 years. We offer our condolences to his family.

COLLINS, Bob.  (1923-2013)

I first met Bob at Shaldon beach around about 1995 as both of us were admiring an old coaster leaving Teignmouth. I remarked how nice it was to see a ship still with the old wooden hatch covers, and he replied that he owed his life to one of them. Bob was a great raconteur, and it wasn’t long before I heard the full story of how, on 27th May 1942, in perpetual daylight near the pack ice of the North Pole on an Arctic convoy, as an 19 yr.-old DEMS gunner, he was thrown from his station at the stern of the CAM ship Empire Lawrence  when Ju. 88 bombers blew his ammunition-laden vessel to smithereens.  He spent a desperate 20 minutes in the Arctic waters clinging to a hatch cover before miraculously being picked up by the rescue trawler Lady Madeleine. He was later transferred to a destroyer as convoy PQ 16 continued towards Murmansk, but on arrival there his troubles were only beginning. The way ordinary Russians helped these leaderless and distressed British seamen, despite the horrors of daily bombing and starvation rations, left an indelible memory for Bob and he harboured a soft spot for the Russians, and even Communism, for all his life.  Bobs wartime travails were far from over; he lost a brother on HMS Arethusa and even at the end of the war he had to suffer the terrifying kamikaze attacks in the Pacific on board HMS Illustrious when he was a radar operator. To his great credit he survived all this, remaining completely humble and modest about his experiences, and was able to raise a family to be proud of while working first with the Southern Region of BR in the workshops at Nine Elms and later for the American firm, Foxboro Yoxall, whose pension enabled him to live a comfortable life in retirement near Newton Abbot, with his family nearby.

Bob’s love of ships went back to his early days growing up near Greenwich, and soon after meeting, Bob and I decided to join the local branch of the WSS (in my case re-join).  After the previous major domo of the Torbay and East Devon branch, Ron Baker, left the area he took over as Secretary in 2002. Since then Bob has been an ever-present at Branch meetings, on trips to Southampton and on Bernard McCall’s Coastal Shipping trips to Europe, and more recently Solent Maritime’s Terneuzen trips. He even accompanied me with my students on a visit to Barcelona! Wherever he went Bob made friends and captivated people with his humour, occasionally forthright views and positive attitude to life. Until very recently Bob was still determinedly driving the successor to his famous Reliant Robin to Shaldon and sending us all the photos he took. He was very proud when, thanks to the tardiness of the government in distributing the Arctic Star medals, Roland Whaite and Jimmy Poole arranged for Bob to receive the WSS Long Service medal, and he also lived long enough to finally get the Arctic Star medal itself. I came to value his friendship enormously despite a big age gap- he was 90 earlier in 2013-  and the whole world, as well as both his families- of relatives and shiplovers, will be the poorer place for his passing. [12.2013 - Dave Eeles]

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CONDON, Percy.  It is with sadness that we mourn the loss of long-time Vancouver Branch member Percy Condon, who died on March 5, 2001.  Percy was an “expert” on hospital ships and the operations of U-Boats, and had an unbelievable amount of data collected on virtually every submarine in the world.  [MN55-6,page329]

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CONWAY, Jane.   It is with great sadness that we report that Mrs Jane Conway, who served on the Bristol Branch Committee for 40 years, passed away on 29th January, 2007.  [MN61-3,page135] [03.2007]

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COURT, Miriam.  It is with sadness we report the passing of Branch Secretary Miriam Court who passed away on 30th September 2012 in the Royal Hobart Hospital from illness.  Miriam was a regular attendee at the Branch meetings even after her car accident which left her wheel chair bound.  It is truly very sad to have lost Miriam with this being the 3rd member of our branch to have passed away this year.  Miriam had been part of our Branch, along with her husband Bill who died in 1998, since the mid 1970s.  She took over as Hon Secretary in 1998 and maintained her full WSS membership right to the end.  Her involvement with St. George's Church enabled us to meet there for over a decade.  The move to the Maritime Museum was a nostalgic one for her, as she had worked in the record library, then situated in the Carnegie Building, while studying at the Uni of Tas in the late 1960s / early 1970s. [Hobart Branch newsletter, October 2012]

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CREHAN, Terry.  We are sad to have to report the death on 29th January [1987] of Terry Crehan of Ongar, Essex.  For a number of years Terry looked after the sales of old W.S.S. publications and back numbers of Marine News, and was known to many members around the world.  [MN41-4,page193]

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CROSSLEY, Harley.  It is with deep regret we announce the death of this gifted maritime artist at home near Sherborne in Dorset on 23 August 2013 aged 77 years.  Born in Southampton, he was evacuated to Yorkshire, before returning to work as a messenger in Southampton Docks, where he started to sketch ships and sell his work to crew and passengers.  In the 1970’s, he became a full-time artist using oils and just two palette knives, specialising in ships and maritime scenes, but also landscapes, townscapes and canals.  Since the late 1990’s, he travelled round the world as ‘resident artist’ on many different cruise ships, accompanied by his wife Barbara, demonstrating and talking about his technique.  His superb commissioned ship portraits adorned many boardrooms and liners, including the new Queen Elizabeth, while his canal fantasy series with a submarine periscope in a canal basin and a Concorde nose poking from a canal-side garden shed will continue to bring a smile to many faces. [10.2013]

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DAKRES, J.M.  His many friends will be saddened to learn of the death of Jack Dakres on 31st  October. [1995]  He was formerly chairman of the Lancaster Branch and his diplomacy saw it through a difficult period in its history a number of years ago.  Subsequently he wrote The Last Tide, the history of the Port of Preston, of which he was Liquidator, and then the Society – published History of Lytham Shipbuilding.  His diligence and flair for research resulted in a remarkably comprehensive and well-illustrated history of this long-defunct yard.  Working with him on the project was pure enjoyment and it strengthened what became an increasingly close personal friendship.  We extend our sympathies to his wife Dorothy at this time.  [MN49-12,page716]

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DALTON, Les.    Gloucester Branch announces with regret that their long serving member Les Dalton died on 6 June 2012 at his home in Hucclecote, less than a quarter-of-a-mile away from their regular meeting place. Les was born in November 1920 and grew up in Sheffield; at the outbreak of the Second World War, he was studying history at Sheffield University and was allowed to finish his degree studies. He signed on at Devonport Dockyard to the Royal Navy in 1941 and trained as a coder at Tortworth Court , near Bristol. Assigned as a signalman to the aircraft carrier HMS EAGLE, it was not long before he found himself sailing into the Mediterranean as part of Operation Pedestal, mounted by the Admiralty in an attempt to force a 14-ship convoy of supply vessels through to the beleaguered island of Malta in August 1942. EAGLE was to the south of Majorca when she was hit by torpedoes from U-73 and sank within 4 minutes; in this defining moment for Les, he was at action stations and was picked up from the water by an escorting destroyer, thus escaping the fate of some 160 fellow crew members. Later in the war, he was to be based in Egypt and in Sicily but the interest in nautical matters had been aroused.

In peacetime, Les joined the London County Council as a trainee surveyor, subsequently moving to Stafford in 1954 and to Gloucester in 1963 where he continued to work for the County Council as a land agent and valuer until he retired in 1985. Married in 1950, he and his wife Valerie had four children by the time they arrived in Gloucester. Whilst in Stafford, Les joined the World Ship Society and became a member of the West Midlands Branch, travelling by train to attend meetings in Birmingham. He also became deeply involved with the Naval Photographic Club which led to him amassing an extensive collection of immaculately catalogued prints of Royal Navy vessels. In 1977, he was a founder member of WSS Gloucester Branch and was one of those Branch members who presented the Ships Crest to HMS GLOUCESTER (D96) in 1985.

Sadly, Valerie had died in 1981 but Les used his retirement to good effect, travelling widely, eg to India, China, Jordan, Iran and Albania, using ships as often as possible and taking to cruising, quite often with fellow Gloucester member Bill Wragge as a companion. And he did finally get to Malta, firstly on a Mediterranean cruise, but more significantly as a guest of the Maltese Government in 2002, when the island paid for over one hundred Pedestal survivors to attend a week of  commemoration and pageantry in recognition of the tremendous contribution and sacrifice which had been made 60 years previously. Les was immensely proud to be present, accompanied by his younger son, Robert.

Les was an excellent photographer who made use of medium format equipment so that his slide shows were visual treats, and always enhanced from his keen interest in history coupled with the maritime knowledge he had built up over the years. In effect, he became an ambassador for the World Ship Society since he was a regular presenter of his shipping shows to many local interest groups,  in addition to WSS Branches. At the age of 90. he was still giving shows on HMS WARRIOR, the various previous warships named GLOUCESTER,  and the liner CANBERRA, in addition to his exposition on the Malta convoy and the commemoration events.   

Somehow, Les also found the time over 25 years to be a governor for two local schools and to manage a  large and beautifully laid out garden at his home which was to become known to his ten grandchildren. Getting a little frailer in recent years, he was still fit enough to be present at Gloucester Cathedral in July 2011 when the GLOUCESTER Crest was returned, to be driving around and giving shows a couple of months before he died and was so mentally alert that he was discussing plans with his gardener only a few hours beforehand.

Les was not slow to give his opinion if he felt that someone had got their facts wrong but always managed it in a gentlemanly way; it was a real privilege to spend time with him and to benefit from the undoubted experience he had built up and was always willing to share with others. He will be missed and remembered not only by his family but by the many other groups and individuals he had touched with his activities.  [RW] [07.2012]

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DELANGE, Robert.  Robert did not have any maritime background other than being passionate about ships and shipping.  He decided not to go to sea as family life was more important to him.  As a young boy his father used to take him to the harbour and onto the ships.  Since then he started collecting pictures and postcards of ships.  Over the sixty or so years he has amassed thousands of postcards and photographs.  Many he inherited from other collectors when they passed on.  (He was 69 when he died.)  He also has a large collection of ship memorabilia as well as "things" bought from the "Oranjeland" shipwreck.  These "things" I will donate to our museum.  The basement of our house is housing all the paraphenalia at the moment!

Robert did serve on the citizen force of the SA Navy for many years.  He loved the Navy and everything about it.  His father had a close association with the Navy as he was Mayor of the city for seven years. The Navy was treated like Royalty in East London.  A lot of the entertaining was done in our homes!  He sailed with them whenever he had the chance, including the Chilean Navy on the Esmeralda!

From his young days he started sailing on the Union Castle ships.  Now, in his later years we did many cruises.  The last one was on the QM2 from Hong Kong to Dubai in March/April this year.  It was his dream trip but unfortunately he was not well.  In Oct/Nov last year we sailed from Rome to CT on the Sinfonia ... he was well!   [Hobart Branch newsletter, October 2012, from notes provided by Ann De Lange]

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DUNN, Laurence.  [December 15 2006 — Lloyds List]   Many readers will be saddened by the death of well-known marine artist and writer Laurence Dunn in his 97th year. A man of encylopedic knowledge, he began his lifelong love of ships in Brixham, where he meticulously recorded passing traffic with the exquisitly accurate line drawings which later became something of a trademark.  While studying at London's Central School of Art his work was noticed by the Southern Railway, which commissioned profiles of its fleet, and this in turn led to work for Orient Line, where he also desined the well-known corn-coloured hull, and later Thorneycroft, where he helped with shaping draft plans for a new royal yacht.  During the second world was he worked for naval intelligence at the Admiralty, where his technigue did much to improve recognition standards, and greatly expanded his shipping clientele, becoming personally known to many chairmen.  As well as the shipping press he worked for mainstream publications such as Everybody's, Sphere and the upmarket comic Eagle. Through his many contacts he enjoyed going to sea in a great variety of ships from aircraft carriers to colliers.  Laurence wrote several books, starting with ship recognition titles which introduced new standards of layout, but his best known work was probably Passenger Liners, which was widely taken up by the travel trade.  His love of Greece, where he was an ealy publicist of island cruising, let to involvement in reshaping various passenger liners beginning with Greek Line's OLYMPIA.  In later life he designed several sets of shipping stamps for the Crown Agents, produced photographic volumes on Thames and Mediterranean shipping and still found time to enjoy the passing Thames traffic.  Our sympathies go to his wife Jennifer, who provided succour to the many ship lovers who beat a path to the welcoming door of their Gravesend home.     [12.2006]

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EAMES, Aled.  The noted Welsh maritime historian, Aled Eames, passed away on 8th March 1996, having suffered a long illness.  Members of the World Ship[ Society will doubtless recall him as the guest speaker at the 1991 A.G.M. held at Llandudno, the town in which Aled was born in 1921.  Having taken a first in history at University College, Bangor, he then saw war service in the Royal Navy, commanding an LCT at the D-Day landings.  Returning to lecture at his old colledge in the 1950s, he began to research the maritime history of north Wales and the area’s strong links with the port of Liverpool, publishing his findings in a series of scholarly, yet easily-read volumes.  He was one of the co-founders of the journal Maritime Wales in 1976, a publication that has received world-wide acclaim.  Having retired in 1982, he turned his talents to presenting a number of television series on maritime themes – ‘Trade Winds’, ‘Colliers out of Cardiff’ and ‘Halen yn y Gwaed’ – for BBC2 and S4C.  His conviviality, kindness and ready encouragement of others embarking on maritime research will long be remembered in Wales and far beyond.  [MN50-5,page264] [DJ]

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EASTON, Alan H. (Lieutenant-Commander DSC)  1902-2001.  Alan Easton, who died on 21st September 2001, was the first President of the Montreal Branch of the World Ship Society, and was greatly loved and respected by Branch members, who recall him as a rare and unusual gentleman.  He was born in Ireland, where his father’s work took him, and at 14 years of age he went to the Merchant Navy training ship CONWAY.  He served with several British shipping companies, including Canadian Pacific.  After coming ashore he worked with the Bell Telephone Company of Canada, but when war was declared in 1939 he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy.  His first naval ship was the corvette HMCS BADDECK, and this was followed by HMCS SACKVILLE and the frigate HMCS MATANE, and finally the destroyer HMCS SASKATCHEWAN.  He was distinguished as the Canadian commander with the longest sea time, spending most of the war on the North Atlantic.  He was mentioned in despatches, and received a DSC when HMCS SACKVILLE was credited with sinking three German submarines.  Alan Easton wrote five books, the most important being his first, 50 North, which gave a vivid description of life on the North Atlantic.  In his forward to this book, Rear Admiral K.L. Dryer wrote:      “Alan Easton has told us his story with a depth of feeling, modesty and factual accuracy which we, who know him, would expect.  However, even for those of us who are his friends, it is with astonishment that one concludes this account, realizing from all that is left unsaid, what amazing power of endurance and fortitude he possessed.  There were not many who had a record comparable to his or who commanded continuously at sea in corvette, frigate and destroyer over those four wearying years.”  [MN56-2,page 72] [Annette Wolff, Montreal] [02.2002]

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FIELDGATE, Bill.  We are sad to report the death, on 9th January [1994], of Bristol Branch member Bill Fieldgate who passed away peacefully in his sleep.  Bill had served on the Branch Committee for many years before ill health forced him to retire eighteen years ago.  However, he continued to attend Branch functions as well as Society Annual General Meetings.  We extend our sympathies to his widow Gladys and his family.  [MN48-3,page140]

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FLEWITT, Richard.  Members who knew Richard Flewitt will be saddened to learn that he dies peacefully in a nursing home near Bath on Monday 18th July [1988].  He was best known for the slide shows he presented personally at many branches over the country, Richard was a member firstly of the East Midlands Branch from the 1950’s to the early 1970’s when it was based in Nottingham where he held posts as both Secretary and Chairman at different times.  Subsequently he became a member of West Midlands Branch and also West Riding Branch where he served a term as Secretary.  Richard had no maritime background but was enthusiastically interested in passenger and cruise liners on which he travelled extensively whenever he could.  He was introduced to cruising with P&O at an early age and became a great admirer of this company’s ships.  Fittingly, his last trip was on the Maiden Voyage of ROYAL PRINCESS in November 1984.

Coupled with his interest in photography he was able to put together some comprehensive and fascinating slide shows illustrating voyages few of us could hope to make.  Right up to the last he insisted on attending the A.G.M. at Edinburgh in May.  Latterly he had no close relatives and said that his friends in the World Ship Society were “his relatives”.  His enthusiasm, wit and sense of fun will be sadly missed by his many friends in the Society.  [MN42-9,page514]

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FRANCIS, Allan. It is with deep regret that members are advised of the passing of Allan Francis on 20 January 2009, at the age of 76.  Allan first went to sea in 1948 as a Galley Boy, and served in the galley of numerous Australian coastal ships up to 1964, rising to the position of Chief Cook.  For many years Allan provided information and pictures from Newcastle for the Newsletter, and whenever a member visited Allan at his home he was always a gracious and interesting host.  Allan also had a long volunteer involvement with the Newcastle Maritime Museum, and his presence there will be greatly missed.   [03.2009 Br]

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FREESTONE, John.  The death of John Freestone on 11th June 2005 whilst on holiday in Croatia is reported with deep regret.  He was 65 years old and had been associated with ships and shipping from boyhood.  Before taking early retirement due to bad health, John worked for Lloyd’s Register of Shipping and was deeply involved with preparations for the computerisation of Lloyd’s Register, much of the present format being the result of his planning.  He was for many years a naval representative on the Society’s Central Committee, had been long associated with London & Home Counties Branch and was on the committee of East Kent Branch, helping with their Newsletter.  In more recent years he worked in the Chatham archives where his skills as a librarian came into good effect.  John’s meticulous records were legendary and will become of great value to future researchers.  He was a great friend of many members around the world and was always ready to give practical help in any way required.  Our sincere condolences are sent to his widow Eddy and daughters Hanna and Heidi. [08.2005] [MN59-8,Page 455]

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GABRIEL, Colonel Robert.  It is with great regret that we record the death of Colonel Robert Gabriel, long term member of the Society.  His career in the Royal Engineers, culminating in his appointment as Officer Commanding Transportation at Longmoor and Marchwood, took him to many postings abroad – in particular the Suez Canal, Aden and Singapore – where he was able to indulge in his other passion to the full.  He became an expert on the history of shipping East of Suez, about which he wrote many articles as well as a lengthy unpublished manuscript, and provided considerable help on a number of the Society’s publications, most recently British India Steam Navigation Co.  [MN50-7,page394]

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GARNETT, Reg.  It is with very much regret that we record the recent death of one of our founder members – Reg Garnett of Bursledon, Southampton (membership No. 102).  He was the first Chairman of the Southampton Branch of the Society when it was formed in 1950.  [MN50-5,page264] [BM]

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GILBERT, Arthur.  Arthur Gilbert, a member of the Society for over 40 years, sadly died last month.  [August 2004]  Until recently he was Treasurer of the London Branch, having served the branch as a committee member for over 20 years and also was a regular attendee at the North Surrey Branch and was a recipient of the Society’s Long Service Medal.  Though he had an interest in all aspects of shipping his particular expertise was in warships and tugs.  He was a keen ship lover and photographer and travelled around Britain and Europe photographing ships.  Indeed his death followed a fall on return to London after a day in Portsmouth with the Thames Ship Society.  Arthur was well known to many Society members, not just in Britain but also beyond, as he regularly exchanged slides and photos with members abroad.  He will be missed by many.  [MN58-9,page519] [09.2004]

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GRAY, Leonard.  It is with deep regret that we record the death on 22nd December 1980 of Len Gray who, for many years, was a member of the Central Record Team until he had to retire because of poor health.  His knowledge, especially of British ships’ histories was encyclopaedic and he will be remembered also for his history of D.D.G. “Hansa”.  Always glad to help, he will be sadly missed and we know that his many friends will join us in extending sympathy to his widow and family.  [MN35-2,page58]

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GRIFFIN, Roy.  Members will be saddened to learn that Roy Griffin died during March [1998]. Roy was best known as the compiler of annual indexes to Marine News, a job he undertook on behalf of members with customary dedication and obvious enjoyment.  Anyone who used this magazine as a research source will know what a debt we owe him for this monumental work.  This was only a part of Roy’s work for the Society, however.  He also served as Committee Member responsible for the World Ship Photo Library, managing it with skill and charm when the negative collection was, perhaps, growing at its fastest during the late 1970s and 1980s.  Roy’s indexing extended to photographs and for many years he provided a very valuable service in answering queries about photographs available from non-Society sources.

Roy’s own interest in ships dated from his boyhood in Dorset, and he had a particular affection for the coasters and colliers that visited his dome port of Poole between the wars.  This interest was reflected in the history and fleet list of Richard Hughes & Co. He researched and published in Marine News in 1955, an extended version of which he co-authored for a recent Society publication.  Roy will be remembered with affection as a gentleman who worked unselfishly for other members and took delight in what they achieved through his tools.  As an early member of the Society—his membership number was 86—it was most fitting that, despite his final illness and considerable difficulty travelling, he came with Lynne to the 50th AGM in Liverpool.  His Marine News indexes, which he has ensured will continue to be available to members, will remain as a fitting memorial to a member who reflected the true spirit of a society.  Our deepest sympathies are extended to Lynne and his son Richard.  [MN52-6,page328]

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HACKMAN, Rowan M.B.H.  1915-2001.  It is with sadness that we have to record the passing of Rowan Hackman.  He was a leading maritime historian who not only researched ships and company histories for himself but also for many other people.  He had articles published in Marine News as well as other publications.  Rowan hailed from Rye in Sussex and had always taken a keen interest in ships although he made his career in teaching history in secondary schools.  Rowan was a founder member of the World Ship Society in 1947 and remained a member to the end.  Whenever he could he was to be found at the Society’s AGMs.  He spent much of his life researching the ships of the East India Company and his work is due to be published later this year.  It will be a lasting memorial for all those who knew Rowan and were given help by him.  Many Society publications benefited from Rowan’s painstaking work on launch dates and yard numbers, work he was always willing to share with others.  Our condolences are extended to Eva, his widow and to his children and grandchildren, to whom he was devoted.  [MN55-7,page392]

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HARRISON, Austen.  His many friends throughout the country will be saddened to know that Austen Harrison died on the 3rd September [1991].  His health had been failing for a while but he died after only a brief illness.  Austen was a major figure in the affairs of the Society for a considerable number of years – early on in the development of the West Midlands Branch, of which he was Secretary, later as the Society’s General Secretary – a task which he discharged with great diligence – and more recently, following his retirement, in the Dorset Branch where it was a pleasure to see him at the 1990 A.G.M.  He was a good friend who will be sadly missed and our sympathies go to his widow, Peggy.  [MN45-10,page596]

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HARROWER, John.  1919-2001.  A longstanding and well-known member of the Society, John Harrower, died on 14th March 2001.  Born in Hull, and later living in Liverpool and Northern Ireland, John’s lifelong interest in shipping arose from his father’s position as Chief Engineer with the Ellerman Line.  He never lost his interest in the ‘City’ ships, but he was prevailed upon to extend his field of study to the Wilson Line, and his book on the company was published by the Society in 1998.  This was the fulfilment of a promise made to his wife Lottie, who died in 1987.  John’s many other activities included the Territorial Army (he served as a Regimental Sergeant Major in the Royal Artillery during the Second World War), a charity which organised holidays for children across the community in Northern Ireland, and local government – he remained a governor of several schools in Northern Ireland until his death.  However, his main interest was his ‘Ellermania’ which continued unabated throughout his life.  Despite having to travel from Northern Ireland, John was a regular attender at AGMs, and it was a particular pleasure to see him at the Hove AGM in 2000.  He was also involved in re-establishing the Belfast Branch of the WSS in the 1970s.  John had three sons, one daughter and four grand children.  We extend our sympathies to his family.  [MN55-9,page520]

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HAVERS, JOHN SOMERSET (1920 – 2011)  It is with great sadness that the Southampton Branch reports the death of John Havers at the age of 91, who passed away peacefully on 15th October [2011] in Cardiff.  John loved ships and one of his early diaries records more than ten major liners being visited in just four months at the start of 1935.  Serving in the RNVR during the War, he was based in Colombo, Suez and Crete, as well as Southampton, Tilbury, Liverpool and South Wales ports.  After the War, John joined Union-Castle and became purser on Carnarvon Castle from 1946 until 1960, a ship he had first visited when new in 1926!

John was Vice-Chairman of the WSS Southampton Branch from 1972-74 and Chairman of the Branch from October 1974 until October 1985.  The Branch was privileged that John was able to attend the Branch Diamond Jubilee lunch on P&O’s Oceana in October 2010.  John was also a founder-member of the Solent Maritime Society, immediately becoming Vice-Chairman and in 1970 became Chairman, a position he held until the end of 1999.  [11.2011]

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HODGSON, Alan.  Alan Hodgson, who formed a short-lived branch in the Sheffield area some years ago, has passed away in early 2011, at the age of 84.  He was a keen photographer who chronicled shipping events at Workington Docks over the last 60 years.

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HORNER, Richard.  In January 2008, we were very sorry to learn of the sudden death of Richard due to a massive stroke.  Richard has been a loyal, highly respected member of the Dorset Branch for over twenty years.  Although spending part of the year in Spain, he attended meetings whenever possible.  Our thoughts are with his wife Thelma and her family.  We shall all miss Richard.  [MN62-03,page135] [03.2008]

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HOWARD, J Leslie.  Merseyside Branch has been greatly saddened by the death of Les Howard, one of its longest serving members, on 25th March 2011 just short of his 70th birthday.  He actively supported the Branch for over forty years being Chairman in 1988/89 and again in 1998/2001. Les served a plumbing apprenticeship at Cammell Laird (including working on the construction of “Windsor Castle”) and thereafter trained others at the yard before becoming a lecturer and head of department at Hugh Baird College, Bootle. After retirement in 1994, he and his wife Heather enjoyed many cruises and were regular attendees at WSS AGM weekends, making friends throughout the Society.  Les maintained a lifelong interest in Cammell Laird ships,  the Mersey shipping scene and was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable collector of ships on stamps.  He was also very active in his local church in Birkenhead where many Branch members attended his packed funeral. We send to Heather and his family our sincere condolences.

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HUMBLE, Jean.  Jean Humble, wife of Ken Humble the chairman of the North West Kent Branch, died on Saturday July 14th. [2001]  Many will know her from Society A.G.M.s and Jimmy Poole’s trips.  Jean was one of the unsung stalwarts of the Society rely missing a Branch meeting or event and was a mainstay with the catering for Inter-Branch activities for both North West Kent and Medway.  The expression ‘and refreshments were provided by the ladies of the Branch’ did not do her justice.  She will be sadly missed.  [MN55-9,page519]

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ISHERWOOD, J.H.  It is with great regret that we record the death on 7th October [1989] of Mr. J.H. Isherwood.  Known and admired throughout the world for his superb drawings of ships, which graced numerous publications – notably North Atlantic Seaway – he was a major shipping historian in his own right and contributed a regular feature to Sea Breezes for many years.  A good friend of the World Ship Society, Mr. Isherwood was always glad to make his knowledge available to us.  Indeed, at the time of his death his collection of photographs of British India ships was on loan to the Society for reference and possible use in a book on this Company which is currently in preparation.  With his death the world has lost a gentleman whose drawings were a joy to behold and who set standards of accuracy which are an example for us all to strive to follow.  To his wife and family we extend our heartfelt sympathy.  [MN43-11,page634]

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KAY, Len.  His many friends will be saddened to learn of the passing of Len Kay on 23rd August, 2011, at the age of 97.  He shared a birthday date with Lord Nelson of which he was proud  A Society member for over 40 years, holder of the long service award, he had spent the last year in a care home in Milton Keynes.  In reality, he never recovered from the death of his beloved Muriel two years ago, to whom he was devoted.  Retirement from Barclay's Bank, whilst living at Leigh-on-Sea, coincided with the formation of Southend Branch where he subsequently served as Vice-Chairman, Chairman and Committee member until moving to Milton Keynes to be closer to his family.  He then became part of Bedford Branch, although still considering himself a Southend member, until failing health prevented attendance at meetings.  We, in Southend, have a fund of memories of this wonderful man who, with Muriel, attended so many Branch and Society events at home and abroad.  His slide shows were a regular feature of the Southend programme.  One was given to Melbourne Branch during a family visit to Australia.  We are grateful to Beford Branch for representing the Society at his funeral.  R.I.P. dear friend.  We treasure your memory.   [RP  09.2011]

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KILK, Andrew.  Andrew was born in Estonia and spent his early years escaping from the Russians and then the Germans before emigrating to the United States.  His father was a doctor and set up a practice on St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. It was here that Andrew’s interest in ships began. He saw liners that were cruising and he started visiting them as well as photographing them. In later years he started writing articles on passenger ships and many of his photographs were published in Sea Breezes, Ships Monthly, Steamboat Bill and MARINE NEWS. He eventually settled in Oakland, California. 

For many years Andrew was the representative of the Society in the United States and was thus known to many members. His pictures will, however, remain as his legacy. Andrew passed away on 12th February, 2014 after a long illness.

ANDREW KILK, MARITIME PHOTOGRAPHER, 1940 – 2014
Andrew “Andy” Kilk, long-time World Ship Society member, its U.S. representative for many years and long-time friend of many ship enthusiasts all over the world, died in Oakland, California on February 12th [2014] after a long illness. He was 73. Born in Estonia at the outbreak of WWII, his family (including an older brother) decided to flee the Russian advance on Tallin at war’s end. They made their way down to the port with what possessions they could carry, and at the gangway of a refugee ship, Andy’s father, a physician, offered his services if the captain would give passage to his family. They were admitted aboard, and eventually, the Kilks made their way to the U.S. Virgin Islands where his father set up a practice.  A few weeks ago, a high school friend, Kirsten Pedersen, who had gotten my telephone number from Andy some time ago, called me out of the blue to ask about Andy. During our conversation, she said that at first Andy hated St. Thomas - until he discovered ships, visiting as many as he could and taking photographs. That started a love for ships that carried on through his entire life.  He eventually became an engineer and worked for the State of California, pursuing his shipping interests when he had free time from his home in Oakland. When he retired, he created ship travel itineraries that would last a couple of months at a time, taking hundreds and hundreds of slides that he shared so generously not only with his friends but with maritime publications in the U.S. and U.K.  The editor of Cruise Travel magazine recently told me he had about one thousand of Andy’s slides on hand. Andy never went digital.

I first met Andy aboard the S.S. Canberra in November 1983 off the Central American coast, when he came forward following one of my lectures. We became friends on the spot. With his mother living in New York at the time, he came east and stayed with my wife and me any number of times. When she died, I attended her funeral, conducted in Estonian at an Estonian church on the Upper East Side. Other than the two priests, Andy and I were the only ones present.  I visited Andy in Oakland when on visits to my brother‘s family. What a collection he had, and so well organized. Every slide was labeled with relevant information and the date. It is my understanding that the family will see that his collection finds a good home.  His last cruise was to Alaska a couple of years ago, after which his declining health pretty much confined him to his apartment. Then around Christmas, he went into the hospital, followed by a nursing home.  According to Kirsten Pedersen, his wish was to have his ashes taken by a favorite San Francisco tug and scattered under the Golden Gate Bridge.

[Ted Scull — WSS PONY Branch]

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KINGHORN, Douglas.  Members living in the north-east of England and subscribers to Warships will know the name of Douglas Kinghorn, and be saddened to learn that he dies on 13 September 1996 aged 69.  Doug had been interested in ships for over forty years, having joined the Society in the 1950s.  He was also active in the Ship Recognition Corps, in the days when the Tyne was full of ships.  He started the Warships Record Club from his home in Cullercoats to collate information on naval vessels.  He was instrumental in establishing the Tyneside Branch, becoming its first Secretary in 1960, later becoming Vice-Chairman and Chairman.  When production of the then Warships Supplement moved to Tyneside in 1979, Doug became the Business Manager.  Subscription records and finances were kept in immaculate order, as befitted a bank manager by profession.

 Always smartly dressed, he loved after retirement to take his wife of 45 years Maureen on drives along the coast or to the Lake District or to Edinburgh where his son Tony lives.  In recent years, he became the Central Record member responsible for Royal Navy ships from 1919 to 1960, drawing on his large collection of books and notes to answer queries.  Warships No. 124 was the last he was able to see through to final despatch before the lately diagnosed cancer made him too weak to continue.  Local members were out in force for the funeral in Whitely Bay.  Doug will long be remembered for his willingness to contribute wholeheartedly to making a success of all the organisations and people who shared his interests.  [MN50-11,page650] [ILB]

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KISSACK, Fred. 1931-2011. It is with great sorrow that we have to report the passing on the 22nd June, 2011, of Fred Kissack, a very long-standing member of both the main body of the W.S.S. and the Isle of Man branch.   If not a founder member of the I.O.M. branch, he was on its committee for most of its existence and his input and ready willingness to help out in times of crisis were immeasurable.  He also served for a number of years as the Mutual Interests Seretary for the W.S.S. and he always made every effort to attend the A.G.M., wherever it might be held.  Fred had a multitude of friends, both on and off his island home, and his passing will be sorely felt throughout the W.S.S. and beyond.  For many years he kept a diary of shipping movements around the Isle of Man which was published in each week's local weekend newspaper, which gave the branch much welcomed publicity.  We send our sincere condolences to his loyal wife, Iris, and all his family who supported him so well during his life.  Good sailing Fred, we shall all miss you greatly.  [Malcom Magee] [08.2011]

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LANGMUIR, Graham E.  It is with great regret that we record this month the death of Mr Graham Langmuir, who was the fifth of the original founding members of the Ship News Club (from which the World Ship Society subsequently developed), the others being Tom O’Driscoll, Dennis Drury, Geoffrey Grimshaw and myself. [Michael Crowdy]  An immensely knowledgeable gentleman, G.E.L.’s kindly handling of a keen but unthinking teenager who asked for far too much taught that teenager – me – something that stood me in good stead over the years: Enthusiasm is a tender plant which can so easily be crushed by impatience or patronism, but if nurtured can achieve much.  He was a very good friend. [MN49-3,page138] [MC]

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LAXON, W.A. (Bill).  It is with regret that the World Ship Society marks the death of long-time member, Bill Laxon.  The Society offers deep condolences to his many friends, associates and family.  W.A. (Bill) Laxon of New Zealand, a member of the Society since early days, sadly died at his home near Auckland, New Zealand, after a long illness, on Friday 15th October 2004. Born in Auckland in 1936 he pursued a career as a lawyer involving marine litigation. No doubt influenced by the fact that his grandfather was a marine engineer, he became involved in research into the development of steamships, and built up an extensive collection of shipping books and photographs. In the course of his researches he came into contact with researchers in many parts of the world, and was always to be found in the National Archives, Kew, Surrey, on his visits to the United Kingdom. He was especially interested in the steamers that operated around the coastline of New Zealand, and his first book published in 1966, dealt with these early coastal services. In later years he became known for his detailed research into British companies, which sailed between the United Kingdom and Australasia. The best known of these books were "The British India Steam Navigation Company" which was published in 1994, and "Crossed Flags", a history of the New Zealand Shipping Company published in 1997. His latest book, "The Straits Steamship Fleets" was published in the summer of 2004. He was a Deputy Chairman of the New Zealand National Maritime Museum, Auckland, and was awarded the MBE for his services to the community in 1988.  Because of his professional background, the Central Committee of the Society often sought his advice and guidance in legal matters, and his services will now be sadly missed. Our condolences go to his widow, Lorna, and their three adult children.     [MN58-12,page711] [12.2004]

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LEACH, Roy.  It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our faithful member Roy Leach.  Roy was our oldest member and at 86 had been an active and regular member of the branch for many years.  Roy, through various sources, managed to supply the branch with copies of Lloyds List until they all but ceased "hard copy" publication. Roy also treated us to slide shows of his trips and cruises, his last being in January 2007, "Through the Kiel Canal" on Boudicca. He was also a regular competitor in the annual slide competition. Roy's last meeting at Ingatestone was November last year and we believed his non attendance over the winter months was due to the poor winter weather conditions. However, six weeks ago he was diagnosed with lung cancer and sadly died of a heart attack following surgery. Roy also devoted a lot of his spare time to the "New Ships" list at the back of Marine News. His expertise in this field will be hard to replace. 

We at the Mid Essex Branch will miss his friendliness, his sharp wit and his extensive knowledge and send our deep sympathies to his wife Joyce and all the family. 

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LILLIMAN, S.A.  1922-2002.  Sid Lilliman, Chairman of the Bedford Branch for many years until standing down in March this year, sadly passed away on Friday 5th April after a short illness.  Sid was a man of very wide interests but his first love was for the Royal Navy in which he served during World War II, and he was particularly proud of having served in HMS CARDIFF, the ship that led the German High Seas Fleet into the Firth of Forth for internment in 1918, although he did maintain that he was not on board at the time.  He has been a regular attendee at the Bristol Naval meetings, to my knowledge missing only one since they started over twenty years ago.  It is not too much to say that Sid has been the mainspring in maintaining the spirit of the Bedford Branch, and his enormous enthusiasm has been an inspiration to many members (and others) over the years.  He will be greatly missed by us all.  We extend our deepest sympathy to his family and friends.  The Society was well represented at this funeral on Tuesday 16th April 2002. [MN56-6,page327] [06.2002]

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MABER, John.  It is with great regret that we record the death of John Maber who had been a member of the Ship News Club since 1947.  John, who was extremely knowledgeable in many aspects of maritime history, was always willing to assist other members with their researches.  He was renowned for his appreciation of technical matters and had amassed an enormous amount of information.  In addition, he was an enthusiastic collector of warship photographs and had become one of the Society’s experts regarding photographic sources and interpretation.  John will be sorely missed by his many friends and acquaintances in the World Ship Society.  [MN49-5,page268] [DKB]

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MacARTHUR, Keith.  Keith MacArthur, who died in early October [2011] aged 85, had been a member  of the World Ship Society and of Merseyside Branch for over fifty years. He was Chairman of the Branch on three occasions, in 1964/65, 1973/74 and 1989/90 and also served on the branch committee for many years. After being chairman for the first time, Keith proposed that the branch should start its own magazine and volunteered to be its first editor. So Mersey Log was born and Keith continued in that role for thirty years, preparing and printing four issues a year without missing a single one Keith did much to promote the WSS and Merseyside Branch over many years and was a regular attender on ship visits, although his regular attendance at branch meetings was curtailed after he suffered a stroke a few years ago. His long-term shipping interest was in tracking the careers of the many and varied small ships that became static bar and restaurant ships in the UK and Europe. He had accumulated considerable material on the subject and was continuing active research until his unexpected death.

Keith's funeral was attended by a number of branch members and we send
to his family our sincere condolences. He will be greatly missed. [11.2011]

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MacKELLAR, Norman.  It is with sorrow that we record the death on 22nd September [1985] of Norman MacKellar, the doyen of the maritime historical field in Australia.  In the very early days of the World Ship Society he was one of the kindred spirits who worked with the late Mr. A.L. Bland to lay the foundation of the Central Record and he also played a major role in establishing the Society in Australia.  [MN39-12,page681]

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McGREGOR, A. Murray.  Honorary Life President of the South African Section and Life Member of the World Ship Society passed away recently in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Murray was well into his nineties but will be remembered by many members of the Society.  He established the South African section of the World Ship Society in 1952 and held this position with pride, honour and dignity until 1979.  We salute the passing of a grand gentleman. [MN57-6,page328] [06.2003]

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McMILLAN, Alwyn.  1933-2001.  It is with sorrow we record the passing of Dunedin-based member Alwyn McMillan.  Well known in shipping circles Alwyn joined the NZ Ship & Marine Society when it was established in 1949, and retained his membership until his sudden death on 1st April this year [2001] in his sixty-eighth year.  Born in Ohau, Southland, Alwyn moved Dunedin when he was a young lad, and spent the rest of his life there.  He had a lifetime interest in ships.  From his family home in Highgate he could see the shipping in the upper harbour as well as ships passing up the coast.  His interest was further stimulated in 1949 when he joined Dunedin-based Tapley Swift Shipping Agencies, spending the next 42 years with that company.  In the mid 1950s Alwyn took charge of the coastal shipping department, looking after the cargo and calls of the Canterbury Steam coasters.  When the service finished in 1969 he then handled all Tapley’s ship agency work.  With a reputation for efficiency, attention to detail and total reliability he was well known and respected.  Shipping however was his primary interest and hobby.  He was the first New Zealander to join the Ship News Club now the World Ship Society, was a founder member of the Otago Maritime Society in 1963, and of the Nautical Association of Australia in 1969.  He built up a huge written resource on shipping and exchanged information and shipping slides with people all around the world.  He was highly respected for his knowledge of war-time built standard ships.  The consuming element in his hobby was photographing ships, initially in black and white, and latterly colour transparencies.  To supplement the limited number os ships he could photograph in Otago Harbour, he travelled overseas, going to Rotterdam in 1975 but thereafter mainly to Singapore.  There, he and his friends would hire a bumboat and photograph 600 or more different ships during the 20 days he stayed.  Happily known as “Singapore Sam”, Alwyn made some 20 annual visits to Singapore, the last being in July 2000.  Alwyn is survived by his wife Elizabeth, and his two adult stepdaughters Margaret and Susan.  [MN55-9,page520]

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McNIFF, Tom.  It is with deep sadness that we report the death of Tom McNiff, who died on Thursday 19th July [2001] of a heart attack following a short illness.  Tom was a former Chairman and stalwart of the Firth of Forth Branch and he will be sadly missed.  Our thoughts are with his wife Anna.  [MN55-9,page519]

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McROBERTS, John.  Well known in shipping circles as an expert of shipping history and a collector of shipping photographs, Mr. John McRoberts, a former member of the Journal of Commerce Shipping department, has died.  He was 80 years of age and died in hospital after being in failing health for some time.  Mr. McRoberts was a photographer and during his life he built up a collection of over 28,000 photographs of ships, with another 25,000 transparencies.  His intimate knowledge of the shipping industry was always of great value to the department.  Mr. McRoberts, a bachelor, lived in Wallasey.  He was a member of the World Ship Society and of the Wallasey Historical Society.  [MN36-10,page510]

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MILLER, Stanley J.F.  Members around the world will share our sorrow in learning that Stanley Miller has died.  He passed away peacefully in his sleep on the night 13th/14th April. [1996]  Stanley was one of that sadly diminishing number of members who played a major role in the development of the World Ship Society during the first thirty years when its reputation was being established and consolidated.  He first ‘came to notice’ as the highly energetic Secretary of the South Coast Branch and, in addition to being a frequent contributor to this magazine [Marine News], as in turn the Society’s Publicity Officer and General Secretary before becoming a Vice-President in 1993.  I shall miss him above all as a friend and I hope that at the forthcoming A.G.M. arrangements will be made for some permanent form of “memorial” to him.  [MN50-5,page263] [MC]

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MILLS, Audrey.  Sad news was received in December 2010 of the recent death of former member Audrey Mills. Audrey, along with her late husband Gordon, were both members of our branch through the 1960s to 1980s. They lived in Haywards Heath and used to travel in to Hove with either Stanley Miller or Eric Baldwin. They were regulars aboard WSS cruises, and attended numerous WSS functions and AGMs. Audrey is remembered as a very nice lady, always polite, jolly, very sociable and a great supporter of our branch. Our sincere condolences go to her only daughter, Nicola, who was also a South Coast member and who accompanied her parents on the cruises – and who made a school-ship cruise as a teeenager - and to other family members and friends. (This news was received from Nicola by close friends Sheila and Alan Watt.)   [01.2011]

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MILSOM, C.H.  We record with regret the death of Mr. C. H. (Harry) Milsom, editor of the monthly shipping magazine Sea Breezes.  After seagoing service as a radio operator with Alfred Holt’s Blue Funnel Line, Harry came ashore in the early 1950s and joined the daily Journal of Commerce and Shipping Telegraph in Liverpool.  He served first in the shipping movements department, but soon transferred to the editorial side of the paper, and became chief sub-editor, a position he held until its closure in May 1985.  In August 1986 he was appointed editor of Sea Breezes, and was involved in the transfer of the magazine to new owners in the Isle of Man shortly before his death.  [MN50-3,page141]

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MITCHELL, W.D. (Bill).  Bill Mitchell passed away very suddenly on 26th October 2003, a few days short of his 83rd birthday.  Bill was a founder member of the Society and his many friends will long remember his freely shared extensive knowledge of ships over the years and his marvellous miniature draughtsmanship that illustrated those ships.  They will also fondly remember his enthusiasm for his Scottish nation and support of Celtic FC.  Bill, however, remained a very private and modest person and only his funeral eulogy revealed his colourful wartime career.  Parachuted into Yugoslavia as a Royal Marine commando, eventually captured and then imprisoned across Europe, he completed his odyssey by escaping and fighting alongside the Polish Resistance.  The World Ship Society extends its sincere condolences to his widow, Joyce and his son, Billy and family.  But the Society is equally pleased to report that Bill Mitchell’s generosity in leaving his records to the Society’s Merchant Ship Library and Archive means that his work will be preserved at Chatham and will continue to delight and inform his fellow shiplovers, a suitable memorial to a very generous man.  [MN58-7,page391] [07.2004]

MITCHELL, William (Bill).  Many members will be extremely sorry to learn of the death of William (Bill) Mitchell on the 19th June [1996] after suffering a very long illness.  He was one of the early members of the Southampton Branch in 1950, and after spending some years with East African Railways and Harbours Administration returned to Southampton.  From 1963 to 1970 Bill was Chairman of the Southampton Branch, and afterwards was a very successful editor for many years of Black Jack, the Branch quarterly newsletter.  There are many members, no doubt, who only knew Bill Mitchell through the numerous books which he had written in conjunction with Len Sawyer, including From America to United States (in four parts), The Liberty Ships, Victory Ships & Tankers, The cape Run, Sailing Ship to Supertanker, Empire Ships of World War II, The Oceans, the Forts and the Parks and British Standard Ships of World War I.  Our condolences go to his wife, Joyce, who had done everything possible to nurse Bill through his very long illness.  [MN50-8,page460]

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MOLL, Frits.  We are very sorry to record the death on 7th January [1984] of Mr Frits Moll, age 85, who passed away in his sleep.  He was a most enthusiastic research  worker and possessed and extensive maritime library.  He had been our Dutch representative from 1953 to 1971 and during that time had much success in building up our membership in Holland, until handing over the task to Mr Kees de Haas.  Frits had also been a member of the Society Committee since 1968.  He will be greatly missed by all his many friends in the Society.  [MN38-3,page130]  [SM]

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MOORE, George.  Members will be saddened to learn of the death of George Moore, a long standing member of the World Ship Society.  He will be remembered particularly by regulars at the annual Bristol Naval meeting which he attended for the last 25 years.  His best known work is Building for Victory which details wartime building programmes for the Royal Navy and the numerous changes made to them.  This book well-illustrated George’s determination to get ALL of the facts.  Thus, in addition to numerous visits to the Public Record Office and the National Maritime Museum, he even visited Windsor Castle because the King had to agree to all ship’s names.  This superb book is supplemented by the important monograph Admiralty Job Numbers 1939-1945 which lists all the formal order numbers.  George was co-author of Rebuilding the Royal Navy, a survey of the designs of RN ships post World War 2.  He was also the author of numerous articles in Warships, Warship International and the annual Warship in addition to presenting his research work to WSS Branches and the annual Naval Meeting.  George, who was also a member of the Society’s Naval Committee, was very willing to help others and spent many hours answering questions from members.  We shall miss him.  [MN59-7,page392] [DKB] [07.2005]

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NELSON, Captain Jim.  Members, and especially those who have used the Mutual Interests Scheme, will be saddened to learn of the death of Captain Jim Nelson.  Jim died on Sunday 16th August  [1987] after a long illness which had lasted almost since his retirement.  Jim spent his entire working life afloat, much of it on Manchester Ship Canal tugs.  Those privileged to have seen him at work soon realised that here was someone with the ability to manage both his craft and his men with great skill.  He brought his love of small craft and his considerable creative gifts first to the Manchester Branch and later to the Society as a whole.  Despite his modest claim that he was ‘just a simple tugman’, Jim could write evocatively about his experiences, as his delightful articles in Marine News proved.  He was also an active contributor to the tug magazine Lekko and a talented modelmaker.  But most of us will remember Jim as a Mutual Interests Secretary who brought a tremendous warmth and energy to the job; attending A.G.M.’s and other events whenever possible to get to know his customers better.  In this he was helped tremendously by his wife Rita and, in turn, Jim shared her involvement in the Salvation Army.  Jim was one of those people whose life helped to make the world a better place, and it goes without saying that he will be deeply missed, in the Society and far beyond it.  Our deepest sympathy is extended to Rita, to Jim’s children Margaret and John, and to his mother.  The Society ha made a donation to cancer research in memory of Jim, and individual members who knew him may wish to do the same.  [MN41-10,page587]

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NICHOLSON, John.  John sadly passed away after a severe stroke in September 2003.  Unfortunately, John had lost his wife Marian only five months previously.  He had been a member of the World Ship Society since the early 1950’s and had served for several years on the Society Committee.  As well a being known by many W.S.S. members, John was widely known both in this country and overseas, through his exceptional talent with brushes in producing fine marine paintings of steamers and ocean liners.  Family holidays as a child in the Isle of Man, New Brighton and on the Firth of Clyde stimulated his interest in ships and he spent the winter months developing his drawing skills completing watercolours of Clyde steamers.  Painting ships became a lifetime hobby.  He was never happier than when chatting about or working on a picture of Clyde steamer or one of the Isle of Man Steam Packet vessels.  John made friends with many of the Steam Packet captains and his long association with the company included commissions for paintings to be used in their offices.  His paintings included Cunard liners and ships of many other companies worldwide.  A number of these appeared in Marine News and other publications.  Postcards, posters, book-jackets and even postage stamps featured his paintings.  John was a founder member in the late 1950’s of the now defunct West Riding Branch.  During the ensuing years he served as treasurer, secretary, and other roles on the committee, doing much valuable work with enthusiasm.  John will surely be missed by both his family and his many friends far and wide.  [MN58-6,page327-8] [06.2004]

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NORBURY-WILLIAMS, Lawrence.  Members will be sad to learn that Lawrence Norbury-Williams died on 10th April [1994] after a short illness.  Lawrence was Chairman of the Dorset Branch when it hosted the Society Annual General Meeting at Bournemouth in 1990.  His service at sea during World War II focused his interest in Mercantile Navy matters and the use of nets to protect merchantmen from torpedo attacks.  He was the driving force in producing a slide show depicting the Port of Poole, and only completed the tape to accompany the slides just last month.  It will be a lasting tribute to his interest in the local shipping scene.  {mn48-6,page332]

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NOVELLI, Albert (Bert).  Very many WSS & branch members have been greatly saddened at the unexpected death of Bert Novelli, who passed away on 22 December 2009 aged 72.   Bert was a good and generous friend to many shipping enthusiasts and was a prolific photographer who amassed an extensive collection recording the great post-war days of traditional shipping before it vanished with containerisation.

Bert started his working life as a van boy for a Liverpool confectionery wholesaler delivering produce throughout the North West. As a ship lover, his favourite deliveries were the ones along Liverpool Dock Road and around the Birkenhead Docks, where lunchtime breaks were taken in cafes overlooking docks filled with ships from many long-gone shipping companies.

Bert first went to sea in 1954 joining the Merchant Navy as a junior steward. Over the next ten years he served aboard several Cunard passenger vessels and on cargo-passenger liners of Furness Withy and Blue Funnel Line. In his early days he completed many voyages to the Mediterranean in the 1928-built coal-fired Bothnia moving  to Ascania, and later to Franconia, finally serving on the Queens on the regular New York-Southampton run.  Whilst on Franconia  he  met fellow steward John Prescott when they shared adjoining tables in the ship's Tourist Dining Room. They remained lifelong friends.

Returning to Liverpool wearing the latest American fashions, Albert and his fellow stewards were known as 'Cunard Yanks' by the young ladies in Merseyside dance halls of the 1950s. In the days of UK post-war austerity, many seafarers serving on the transatlantic liners lived the high life in New York during their six day stopovers, a stark contrast to the long working hours and hard living conditions they experienced on board ship.

In 1964, after a period working aboard Blue Funnel ships, and as the passenger liners were disappearing in the face of airline competition, Bert left the sea and took to the skies with B. E. A (later to become British Airways) initially as a cabin steward but being promoted to a Cabin Services Director on 747s, well respected and much liked by his crews. Never without his camera, Bert's first port of call was always to the nearest dock to photograph ships, and over the years he amassed a huge collection of thousands of slides and digital images which he was always willing to share and exchange with his world-wide network of friends.  After retirement he continued his photography from the decks of many cruise ships.

Bert was a very enthusiastic member of the World Ship Society, where he was an active member of both Manchester and Merseyside Branches, and also of the Blue Funnel Association. Many audiences of both societies enjoyed his excellent slide, and latterly digital, presentations at meetings extending well beyond the north-west of England. As well as being a talented ship photographer he was an excellent raconteur and his shows were punctuated with many amusing anecdotes and comments. It was fitting that his last talk was to a group on a Ships Monthly cruise aboard Fred Olsen’s Balmoral just two weeks before his death.

Bert will be greatly missed by his very many friends but the memory of his presentations will be long treasured by those who had the pleasure and privilege of being present.

Our sincere condolences go to his wife Ruth, his children Alan and Carol and to the other members of his family. His funeral at the Unitarian Chapel in Macclesfield on 7 January 2010, attended by a large group of members, most appropriately included the songs ‘Sailing’ and ‘My Heart will go on’ (from the film Titanic).

                                                                           
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Many messages have been received from friends of Bert, and I hope Captain Tony Breach will not mind me copying his e-mail as I think it sums up perfectly what I am sure we all think and is expressed in such a charming way

“Dear Friends,
I first met Bert at Manchester early this year & was completely taken with his friendliness, knowledge, photographic prowess, sense of humour and just plain being a great WSS ambassador. We met again at the AGM in Cartagena when he greeted me as a long lost friend amongst many senior members that I had never met. Just a few short weeks ago I was privileged to see him at a presentation that I gave at Liverpool and at which he again gave his enthusiastic and genuine support and kindly offered to introduce me to his many friends in Spain. I cannot compare my sadness to that of his nearest and dearest to whom I offer my deepest condolences. His passing is a great loss.

Bert, sleep peacefully my friend. You have flown your way and I too shall fly with the albatross when I go: may we meet again.”
Tony 

Appropriately the photograph of Bert with camera in hand was taken aboard a recent WSS visit to the cruise ship SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE. What better name could sum up Bert’s life than the name of this vessel, for as many of us know Bert had a life of adventure and was kind enough to share many of those adventures with us in the shows and talks he gave.

(Photo by Ted Roskell)      [04.2010]

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O’DONOGHUE, Kevin. 1948-2013. It is with great regret that we inform members of the death in hospital of Kevin O’Donoghue on 7th June 2013. Kevin had been undergoing chemotherapy, but the cause of death was pneumonia.

Kevin had been a stalwart of the World Ship Society since at least 1978, when he took over as Custodian of the Central Record for the period 1931 to 1954. This led to his close involvement in the Society’s output of merchant ship publications, and he not only contributed to checking other author’s work, but was himself co-author of books on Blue Star, Hain and Kaye. His major role was his immaculate research into the details and careers of the ships in the fleet lists. Kevin’s most significant contribution to the World Ship Society was his taking over the Chairmanship from Society founder Michael Crowdy in May 1993. As well as other aspects of the Society’s work, he faced the major challenge of continuing production of MARINE NEWS from January 1997 when Michael stood down after fifty years at the helm. Whilst building on the team that was already responsible for individual sections of the magazine, Kevin very much led from the front in taking on a joint role as co-ordinating editor. He also compiled the sections listing casualties, demolitions, orders and launches, as well as assembling the back half of the magazine, including curating and selecting photographs for inclusion. He was involved in the introduction of colour photographs into the text of MARINE NEWS, and the change of the magazine cover from the hitherto traditional blue to yellow in January 1998. During the late 1990s Kevin also played an important role in the establishment of the Society’s library and archive inside Chatham Historic Dockyard.

After standing down as Chairman in May 2000, Kevin continued his MARINE NEWS work, now in conjunction with Harold Appleyard. He did so until illness necessitated him relinquishing part of the work following the preparation of the January 2013 edition, the 193rd edition on which he had worked. Kevin and the Council members fervently hoped that he would be able to resume his full role, but sadly this was not to be. Kevin’s interest in shipping was very much centred on tramps and other older ships, especially those owned and built in the north east of England. He also had an interest in other industries, especially mining and again particularly in the north east, which was in some ways his spiritual home, despite his being born in the south of England. Professionally, he was a career customs officer until his retirement in 2010, being very much hands-on in
investigation work, which he relished.

The Society will profoundly miss Kevin’s input, and we send our very sincere  condolences to Kath, and to children Siobhan and Matthew.

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OAKDEN, Alan.  The Lancashire branch paid tribute at a recent meeting to the memory of Mr Alan Oakden, a founder member and Vice-Chairman of the Branch, and acknowledged their gratitude for his help over a period of many year.  He is greatly missed.  [MN35-1,page11]

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OSBON, George.  It is with real sorrow that we record the death towards the end of August [1983] of Mr. G.A. Osbon.  George, as he was known to his many friends, had been in poor health since his retirement from the National Maritime Museum where his work on the Photograph Collection will be a lasting memorial.  He is survived by his sister Dorothy, to whom we extend our sympathies.  [MN37-10,page530]

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OUTERBRIDGE, Bert.  Herbert (Bert) Hoadley Outerbridge was one of the early members who helped establish the World Ship Society in 1947.  His membership was number 97.  Bert was born July 17, 1928, and was raised in Bermuda.  He was active in a branch of the Society in Bermuda, before its demise.  Bert later moved to Salt Spring Island, British Columbia to be with his family, but unfortunately Bert was afflicted with Alzheimer's and was living in Greenwoods, an elder care facility on the island, where he died on June 12, 2007.  Bert had many connections in the maritime world over the years and loved to write letters of enormous length to anyone who would reciprocate.  Many former members of the Montréal Branch will remember his visits to that branch on occasion.  Our condolences go out to Bert's wife, Ruth and sons, daughters and grandchildren.     [09.2007]

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OWEN, John.  WE have just learned of the death of John Owen who has been handling “Multiple Orders” for members overseas.  He was taken ill last year and although he had rallied and was to have chaired the Photo Library subcommittee, he died on 21st May [1986].  To his wife Jackie and his family we extend our heartfelt sympathy.  [MN40-6,page321]

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PAGAN, Richard.  During the Autumn of 2008, I was saddened to learn of the death of Richard Pagan who had been one of the founders of the Society's Naval Committee in 1975.  Richard, who was born on 31.01.48, was an ardent naval enthusiast.  He was a gently-spoken, well-educated and intelligent man with whom one could always have an interesting conversation on a range of subjects.  After retiring in 2006 he moved to the Isle of Man two years before his untimely death on 3rd January 2008 and will be missed by his wife Sue, his daughters Catherine and Sarah and his family and friends. [MN63-01,page7] [RHO] [10.2008]

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PARSONS, Cliff.  Many friends in all parts of the world will be saddened to learn that Cliff Parsons died on June 28th [1997] following a brief illness.  Cliff was one of the earliest members of the Ship News Club, and from the start played an important role in providing information for Maine News, for which he produced indexes for the firs 25 years.  He was also a photographer of the first rank and his collection of negatives, taken from the 1940s onwards, forms an invaluable part of the merchant ship section of the World Ship Photo Library, of which he had been in charge for the past 25 years.  Its excellence of quality and accessibility is a tribute to his care and meticulous record-keeping and the service which he provided to members through the monthly “Offers”, and the supply of prints to meet specific requests – from members, museums, publishers and other people throughout the world – was incomparable and a further tribute to his dedication.  He was the kindest of gentlemen, and his dry humour added to the pleasure of his company.  The Photo Library will be his living memorial.  [MN51-8,page455]

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PEARSON, Malcolm.  The Cornwall Branch was greatly saddened at the sudden death in April [1980] of Malcolm Pearson.  Malcolm had been a Branch Secretary or 20 years and had, in fact, helped to create it out of the original Tre-Pol-Pen Shiplover’s Society.  Despite his long service to the Cornwall Branch however, it was not the only one with which he had been associated, having been, in earlier days a member of the Leeds Branch.  Malcolm’s long connection with the sea began with his service in Ellerman’s Wilson Line out of Hull, with which company he got his Chief Engineer’s ticket.  He also served with P and O and General Steam and taught marine engineering at Kingston-upon-Hull Technical College.  In Cornwall, he was a member of the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service.  During all his service to the Cornwall Branch, Malcolm Pearson ran its affairs efficiently and with great good humour.  He will be sorely missed and the Branch will never be quite the same again.  [MN34-7,page266]

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PERRY, Fred.  It is with sadness that we record the death of Dr. F.W. Perry on 25th June [1993].  A meticulous research worker and ever-willing to assist his many friends in their researches, he co-authored the recent Society history of the Nourse Line and was co-ordinating research into the history of the New Zealand Shipping Company.  His last major undertaking was to select the illustrations and prepare the lay-out of the forthcoming history of the British India Steam Navigation Company, a task which he has completed just weeks before he died.  Members will join us in extending our sympathies to his widow, Hilary and his family.  [MN47-8,page466]

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PILLING, F.W.  It is with sadness that we record the death during August of Fred Pilling, of Southport, following a short illness.  Troubled by arthritis in recent years, he was one of the earliest members of the Society and a keen enthusiast who had many friends.  In his will be bequeathed his collection of shipping books and photographs to the World Ship Society and it is already apparent that they are going to be of considerable benefit to the Central Record.  [MN40-10,page560]

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PORTEOUS, Captain John (Rtd).  Firth of Forth Branch was deeply saddened by the death of Captain John Porteous in early January 2011.  His career started in 1942 as an ordinary seaman, but he subsequently obtained his Master's "ticket" and saw service with Bank Line, getting his first command in 1959, followed in 1970 by a spell as Marine Superintendent at Calcutta, before he joined Sir William Reardon Smith & Sons Ltd, Cardiff.  On their demise in the 1970s, he then joined Transpartacion Maritima Mexicana serving as master on three of their fleet before retiring to Edinburgh in the 1980s and becoming a regular member at Branch meetings.  John will be sorely missed.

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PORTER, Cliff.  It is with great regret that we record the death on 30th November [1985] of Cliff Porter, who, with Mrs. Porter, had been in charge of the Society’s Photographic Print Library for a number of years.  He was taken ill while attending a meeting of the Committee in London, and died shortly afterwards in hospital.  The Committee were discussing the future development of the Photo Library, which is playing an increasingly important role in the Society, and minutes before he was taken ill, Mr. Porter has been making a valuable contribution to the discussion.  He will be greatly missed by his many friends throughout the world, but we believe that these friends – and members generally – will be happy to know that Mrs. Porter will continue to maintain and develop the Photo Archive which Cliff had done so much to establish and bring to its current invaluable state.  The family request was “no flowers” but members who wish to do so are invited to send donations in favour of “Falkirk Lifeboat Fund” to Mr. S. Brimelow, Hon. Treasurer North Surrey Branch.  [MN40-1,page8]

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PORTEOUS, Captain John (rtd).  Firth of Forth Branch was deeply saddened by the death of Captain John Porteous in early January, 2011. His career started in 1942 as an ordinary seaman, but he subsequently obtained his Master's "ticket" and saw service with Bank Line , getting his first command in 1959, followed in 1970 by a spell as Marine Superintendent at Calcutta, before he joined Sir William Reardon Smith & Sons Ltd, Cardiff. On their demise in the 1970s, he then joined Transpartacion Maritima Mexicana serving as master on three of their fleet before retiring to Edinburgh in the 1980s and becoming a regular member at Branch Meetings. John will be sorely missed.   [01.2011]

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PRYDE, Dick (1934 - 2013)  HAVEN Ports Branch regrets to announce the death of our Chairman, Dick Pryde on 29th August 2013 in Felixstowe .

Dick had a lifelong interest in shipping, starting in the late 1940's in Cardiff and the South Wales ports, becoming firstly a member of the South Wales Branch and later a full member of the Society.  He was part of the Central Record team in the 1960's, and joined Lloyd's Register in 1969 remaining with them until he retired in 1996.  He continued as a consultant to Lloyd’s Register and Fairplay until 2010.

Dick, who had been Haven Ports Chairman for the past four years, was always ready to help enthusiasts with his depth of knowledge, particularly about Eastern European shipping, which was his special interest.  He will be sadly missed. [09.2013]

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PROUD, John Henderson. The 6th October 2008 was a sad day when we learnt of the death of Teesside Branch member John Proud.  He had bravely fought an illness, which eventually overtook, and beat him.  He spent much of his younger days at Seaton Carew, where he attended the village C of E school before moving on to the West Hartlepool Grammar School.  John was also a chorister at the Seaton Church, where he later became one of the church sides-men.  It was in his days at Seaton Carew that another one of his passions developed, railways, and the steam locomotives which thundered along the tracks south of the then West Hartlepool.  His first job on leaving school was at the Zinc Works on the North Gare, adjacent to the mouth of the River Tees.  This is probably when his interest in shipping began and in particular the numerous tugs that operated on the River.  He later joined I.C.I. as a Design Engineer, where he stayed until his retirement.

John joined many societies, one of which was the Teesside Ship Society.  In 1980 he became the Branch Treasurer, progressing to Branch Chairman in 1985, a position he held for ten years.  John designed the cover for the branch journal 'Tees Packet' in 1981, it is still being used, with some minor changes, by the current journal editor.  With a strong interest in tugs he also became a member of the North East Tug Society.  Another interest was in aviation, and he joined the 'Friends of RAF Leeming'.  He was also the driver, platelayer and builder of a model railway which he had set up in a spare room in his house.

On his retirement he took up writing and had produced several books including the history of the Tees tugs entitled 'Seahorses of the Tees', forming a good friendship with Richard Crossthwaite, a director of the tug firm, during his research.  Another book was on the history of the Tyne tugs '150 Years of the Maltese Cross'.  Other books followed on the histories from around our region, from railways, docks and ironworks.

John will be deeply missed and our sympathies go out to his wife Win, and to his family.  [re-printed from the February 2009 edition of the "Tees Packet"]

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PROUD, John H.   It is with deep sadness that we learnt of the death of long time member John Proud, who passed away during the night of the 5th / 6th October 2008. John had served the Teesside Branch well, over many years, holding various official postions including Branch Chairman and Treasurer.         John authored at least two books — the first being "150 Years of the Maltese Cross: The Story of Tyne, Blyth and Wear Tug Companies".  The second book was entitled "The History of Middlesbrough Dock: 1842-2000, as seen from the perspective of the owning railway companies". Details of both books can be found on the WSS website under "PUBLICATIONS - Member A-C / D-H".

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RAPER, John.  Members will be saddened to learn of John Raper’s death from cancer on 1 August 1995 in hospital in Leicester, aged 72.  John developed his interest in ships in the 1950s, stemming from his upbringing on Teesside service in Coastal Command of the RAF and his making of model ships and aircraft.  Interested in the ships he was modelling, he began collating lists of ships built by each shipyard, initially from Lloyds Registers, but expanded by material supplied by shipyards, many no longer in business now, and an extensive correspondence.  From the early 1960s, he was a member of the World Ship Society Central Record team, until his work as an electrical engineer with the Nuclear Power Company frequently took him away from home to work on site.

Gradually the back bedroom at his home in Cosby, Leicester filled with reference books and storage cabinets (which he built himself) for his extensive card index.  With one ‘ship slip’ per vessel built, British and foreign, John prepared over 200,000 cards containing details of each ship, tonnage, dimensions, builder, machinery, name changes etc.  Upon retirement in 1983, he explored the possibility of creating a computer database to record all this information.  This needed not only careful planning but a deep knowledge of the shipbuilding industry, requiring unique codes for every one of Britain’s 5,000 shipbuilding companies.  His small computer was soon overwhelmed by the scale of the task, so when Kevin O’Donoghue heard about it, he told Ian Buxton.  The British Shipbuilding History Project was just being launched, so Ian was able to raise funds in 1990 to get John what was then a very powerful computer.  There was no stopping John for the next few years, inputting details of some 28,000 ships out of the 100,000 total of British built ships.  Regular parcels of print-outs would arrive at Newcastle University timed at 0230!  Receipt of a new-found shipyard or engine builder contract list delighted John, enabling him to fill gaps and check his accuracy.

But failing health forced him to give up input work, but he was keen to discuss how the database could be extended.  Ian Buxton is at present seeking to continue the task, since the database when completed will be a most important and valuable resource for maritime historians and enthusiasts; a lasting legacy to one man’s determination, enthusiasm and industry.  Throughout John was supported by his wife Joan.  They had met during John’s war service, after he had been grounded by the RAF following a plane crash, but not until he had participated in the sinking of U-705.  They married in 1945, but regrettably John died less than a month short of their golden wedding anniversary, but that occasion on 26 August was used as a thanksgiving service at Cosby, attended by John’s family and friends.  The many Society members who knew John also send Joan, their children Rosalie, Susan, Robin, Wendy and Martin, and eleven grandchildren their sincere condolences.  [MN49-10,page588] [ILB]

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RAYNER, Tom.  The Isle of Wight Branch has lost a valuable member in the sudden death of Tom Rayner, on the very evening that his slide show “Island Piers” was shown to the Branch.  One of the earliest members of the W.S.S., he was a founder member of the Island Branch in 1948.  Widely renowned as an expert marine photographer, at one time it was a rare occurance to open a shipping reference book that did not contain a Tom Rayner photograph.  Sadly in his latter years, failing health and immodbility have curtailed his photographic opportunities, but he would still capture ships passing East Cowes whenever possible.  His knowledge and friendly comments on many shipping matters will be hard to replace, and he will be sorely missed, not only by the Branch members, but by all of his many colleagues and friends throughout the W.S.S.  [MN50-7,page394] [JKC]

RAYNER, Tom.  All those who knew Tom Rayner, either personally or through his photographic work, will be deeply saddened to learn of his sudden death on April 26th. [1996]  He had suffered with immense courage a long debilitating illness for over two decades which curtained his earlier enthusiastic excursions to London, Liverpool and Southampton to photograph ships.  He built a world wide correspondence with friends who eagerly sought prints from his vast collection and there are several photographers who appreciate his patience in passing on his printing skills.  In later years he turned to colour slides and enjoyed lecturing on various subjects.  Tom, who was a founder member of the Society and lived on the Isle of Wight, will be greatly missed by us all.  Our sympathy goes out to his wife Isobel and daughter Helen.  [MN50-6,page328] [RS]

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REBBECK, Dr. Denis.  It is with a keen sense of loss that we record the death on 10th May of Dr. Denis Rebbeck, one of the Society’s most senior Vie-Presidents and for three years its President.  His name was synonymous with Harland & Wolff and in an unobtrusive way he gave the Society considerable assistance; he was also a most stimulating person with whom to work.  [MN48-7,page393]

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REILLY, Mrs. Ruby.  We are sad to report the death of Mrs. Ruby Reilly in June 1980.  Ruby was at one time Chairman, and later Treasurer of the South Coast Branch.  Always an enthusiastic supporter of the Society, we have lost a good friend.  [MN34-10,page385]

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RING, T.L.  It was with deep sense of regret that his many friends learned at the end of August [1983] of the death of ‘Les’ Ring of Cardiff, following a short illness.  Les was a keen photographer, as many members discovered annually, when he would quietly walk away with the prizes one by one, at the Branch’s Christmas Competitions!  He was a familiar figure on many of the P.S. WAVERLEY cruises around Britain, and for two or three weeks each year along the new Waterway, making new friends on each occasion.  Over the years he built up a great collection of colour transparencies, and had the foresight and patience to ‘research’ and record all the relevant details for each vessel in the collection up to the time of his illness, and still managed to find the time and energy to provide ready assistance for anyone else in need of information.

A quiet man by nature, his interests extended beyond shipping and the sea, from railways, radio and old pillar boxes to the countryside and travel, and was therefore able to converse with virtually anyone he encountered.  To the keener members, young and old alike, his home near Llandaff Fields was a regular venue for slide shows during the darker days of winder, giving his friends the opportunity of meeting up and exchanging new and views, and planning trips for the new season ahead.  I am sure that ‘Les’ will be much missed by all of us who knew him, and will be remembered for his enthusiasm and encouragement at all times. [John Wiltshire] [MN38-4,page186]

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ROBERTS, Peter, 1920 – 2010.  The South Coast Branch lost its longest serving member in November with the death, in his 91st year, of Peter Roberts. Peter was a gentleman and an active member of the WSS from its early days and before the founding of the branch. From his youth he had been an extremely keen passenger ship enthusiast and photographer. He came from a Merchant Navy family and had a passion for the liners of prewar days. During WW2 and after training at HMS King Alfred, he held a commission and took command of landing craft. The Branch was represented at his funeral amongst a gathering of his family, colleagues and friends to whom we send our sincere condolences.  [12.2010]

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ROBERTSON, Donald.  Sadly we record the death of long term Firth of Clyde Branch member Donald Robertson who passed away on 28th March 2003.  Donald was to be seen on many Society outings and was a regular to the AGM weekends. [MN57-6,page328] [06.2003]

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ROBERTSON, Douglas Keith.  It is with deep regret we record the sudden passing of Mr. Douglas K. Robertson in Melbourne on 7 January 1984.  Doug was one of the earliest World Ship Society members in Australia and worked tirelessly for the benefit of members of the Victorian Branch, their families and for the Society generally.  He assisted greatly to establish the Society in Australia and was instrumental in the formation of the Victoria Branch in the 1950s.  As a continuous committee member over the years he almost single handedly edited and produced the Branch newsletter and more recently co-authored the Society’s publication on The Australian National Line.  His friendship and contribution will be sadly missed.  We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Jean and her family. [MN38-4,page186]

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ROBINSON, David.  Norwich & West Norfolk Branch are sad to announce the sudden death, on January 5th 2005, of long term member David Robinson.  David was born on the day the GRAF SPEE was scuttled, and rapidly developed an intense interest in shipping, especially warships and the Royal Navy.  Sadly, he proved to be suffering from a degenerative eyesight problem from an early age, and this hampered his ambitions, but he nonetheless became an enthusiastic member of the Royal Navy Auxiliary Service.  He joined the WSS over 40 years ago, at the East Anglican Branch, and in 1982 became Secretary of the newly formed Norwich & West Norfolk Branch, an office he occupied over a period of 20 years, during which he exercised indefatigable enthusiasm and an immense amount of hard work.  Sadly, he was seriously injured in a road accident some years ago, which resulted in his early retirement ass a Chemist at the Institute of Food Research, and this accident and his eyesight problems considerably inhibited his activities.  Nonetheless he used his retirement to master the intricacies of the computer and the internet and maintained regular correspondence with his many friends.  Norwich Branch were represented by three Committee members at his well-attended funeral, and send their condolences to his widow Barbara and his family.  He will be sadly missed.   [MN59-5,Page264] [05.2005]

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ROBINSON, Leonard.   Leonard Robinson, one of the original members of the Cornwall Branch, died on 13th August, 2007.  Len came to live in Truro near the riverside in 1963, and kept detailed records of the regular coaster traffic which called in the tidal port a that time and became a founder member of the Cornwall Branch.  He served as Branch Secretary from 1980 to 1992, during which time the Branch hosted the Society AGM in 1986.  From 1992 to 2000 Len was Branch Chairman, and he was still a committee member in 2004 when the Society AGM returned to Falmouth, at which time he was presented with the Society Long Service Medal.  Throughout over forty years of active membership Len has contributed much to the branch, attending meetings regularly, consistently supporting visits and social events, and continuing to serve on the committee where his wise counsel will be sadly missed.  [MN61-12,page712]  [09.2007]

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ROBINSON, Nicholas J.  His many friends throughout the world will share our sorrow at the death recently of Mr Nicholas Robinson, Vice-President and several times President, of the Society.  He will be sadly missed, but will be remembered always by those who worked closely with him as a most careful guide, a wise counsellor and, above all, as a very good friend.  [MN47-12,page713]

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ROOKE, Ivor.  A relative early member of our society, Ivor had held a wartime commission in the Royal Sussex Regiment after which he resumed his career in the world of banking.  He was a talented marine artist specilising in pen and ink drawings of cargo ships, coasters and short sea shipping, providing many illustrations for various publications as well as our original South Coast Log.  He was very knowledgeable concerning the Baltic trade and Shoreham Harbour in particular – he built a scale model of the harbour as well as producing many fine small-scale ship models.  He was 85 years of age when he passed away in November [2006], and unfortunately had been unable to attend our meetings for several years.  Our condolences are offered to his family and friends.   [MN61-4,page199] [04.2007]

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ROULLET, Pierrick. It is with great sadness that the Paris Branch reports the death of Pierrick Roullet at the age of 76, who passed away after several months of ill health on 30th July 2013 in Paris.
Pierrick was a retired naval officer who had travelled all over the world. At one time he was also the proud owner of the "Duc de Normandie", a small passenger ship he bought in Sweden. Older British W.S.S. members should certainly
remember the trip between Le Havre and Rouen they made on his ship during the spring of 1973.We send our sincere condolences to his wife and children. [09.2013]

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SANDHAM, Geoffrey.  It is with deep regret that we have to record the death in March [1996] of Geoff Sandham of Bradford.  Geoff, an early member of the World Ship Society, was a “back room boy” who carried out much work for the W.S.P.L. mainly in identifying old ships.  This work was greatly appreciated by those who immediately benefited but did not come to the notice of the general membership, as is so often the case.  He was always willing to help with any shipping query.  Geoff was a kind man and he will be sorely missed.  Our condolences go to his wife and family.  [MN50-5,page264] [CP]

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SARTIN, Mike.  We record with deep regret the death of Michael John Sartin, who died recently aged 48.  Mike was a staunch supporter of the Society and his local branch East Kent.  Mike worked for H.M. Customs and Excise for over 25 years, the last 15 at Dover.  [MN52-1,page9]

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SAWYER, Len.  With the death of Len Sawyer on 10th August [1996], the Society lost yet another longstanding and knowledgeable member.  Although he had been in poor health for several years Len still pursued his shipping interests with great enthusiasm and he died shortly after being taken ill on the journey home from a photographic expedition to the Continent.  He will be particularly missed by the London and Home Counties Branch where he had regularly attended meetings for more than forty years. Len knew ships from many aspects, from his war service in the engine room of an LST (3) to the Lloyd’s insurance market.  He was a thorough researcher of considerable scholarship setting new standards in the compiling of shipping and shipbuilding history.  His books written in conjunction with the late Bill Mitchell include the series on the standard ships and other merchant ships built in both world wars which are regarded on both sides of the Atlantic as the definitive work on the subject.  Other books by them include Cruising Ships, The Cape Run and a history of the British side of Esso tankers.  He was a photographer of exacting standards.  Above all Len will be remembered as a kindly, generous and thoughtful person and a good friend to many people.  [MN50-11,page650] [JF]

SAWYER, L.A.  I was saddened to learn of the death of Len Sawyer, a good friend of many years’ standing.  His meticulous attention to detail made him a pleasure to work with, and his visits to Kendal when we worked together on the lay-outs of the four volumes of FROM AMERICA TO UNITED STATES were highly instructive and immensely enjoyable.  [MN50-10,page585] [MC]

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SAYERS, Tim.  Miss I.B.M. Sayers, known to her many friends as Tim, passed away on 15th April aboard PRINCE OF SCANDINAVIA shortly after leaving Esbjerg.  For many years Tim had been so-ordinator of the tape/slide show presentations, a job she performed with great conscientiousness.  Despite the handicap of her stick she was a most enthusiastic supporter of Society events and will be greatly missed.  [MN50-6,page329] [IW]

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SCOTT, Frank.   Frank was one of the early members of the Costa Blanca Branch and in his early years served on the MAURETANIA and QUEEN ELIZABETH.  The Branch offers condolences to his friends and family. [MN61-10,page583] [06.2007]

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SCRIMALI, Antonio.  Sadly died November the 12th, 2004 at an age of 57 years in Pianezza (Turin).  He was born in Palermo and in this town graduated to nautical school as naval constructor.  He was married to Grace and had two sons, Maurizio and little Alberto.  For many years he was an ESSO (EXXON) officer in the field of merchant tankers.  He was scheduled to retire from his work at the end of the current November!

Antonio had a great interest in all aspects of shipping: his particular expertise was in passengers, ferries and Ro-Ro ships.  Was also an expert and lucky photographer: in his many voyages was able to picture any kind of ship.  Antonio’s pictures had been published in a great number of magazines and books.  He was well known to many ship lovers as he exchanged – and often presented – pictures and negatives.

Antonio was Italian representative of the World Ship Society and privately printed during many years the bulletin “Latest news from Mediterranean”, sent via e-mail to many ship lovers.  [MN59-2,Page71] [02.2005]

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SLADDEN, Dickson. It is with great sadness that we report the death on May 23, 2008, of a very active Vancouver Branch member.  Dick was our Branch Librarian and was ever so helpful at monthly meetings, helping out in any way he could.  We will all miss his unique laugh, which was heard repeatedly. Dick was also an active volunteer for the Vancouver Maritime Museum, cataloguing photographs, as well as donating time at the Missions to Seafarers at Robert's Bank.  Dick was 84 years of age.  Condolences to his daughter Tish and family.   [06.2008]

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SOMNER, Graeme H.  It is with deep regret that we inform you of the passing on Sunday April 29th, 2012, of one of the early members of the World Ship Society, Graeme Somner.  Graeme was a Life member of the Society and held membership number 90.  He was also well-known for a number of publications he authored, including subjects such as The Aberdeen Steam Navigation Company, The Ben Line: Fleet List, and A.F. Henry & MacGregor. Bland Gibraltar, History of Christian Salvesen, DP&L and George Gibson & Company, among others.

Our condolences go out to Graeme’s family and friends.  [05.2012]

SOMNER, Graeme H.  1921-2012
The Dorset Branch regretfully announces the peaceful passing away of the second of its three founding fathers on Sunday 29th April 2012, at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.  Graeme’s membership of the W.S.S. goes back far longer than the existence of the Dorset Branch as his membership  number was No.18. This puts Graeme’s long and faithful service to the Society to over sixty years and his knowledge and research capabilities will be sorely missed. Indeed, his published work will forever be an epitaph to him, for he spent years on research and was virtually a permanent ‘resident’ at Kew Public Records Office.  After a full career with B.O.A.C. (later to become B.A.) in management of the Air Freight/Air Cargo side of the business and living in West London, close to Heathrow, Graeme and his wife, Hazel, relocated to Mudeford in  Hampshire. Here he was able to spend more time on his research of Scottish shipping, particularly of the East coast of Scotland, becoming undoubtedly the supreme expert and having his work published.  In the mid eighties he was very much to the fore in the foundation of the Dorset Branch and until recently seldom missed a meeting and served on the committee in various positions throughout that time and very successfully steered the Branch through its first society A.G.M. in 1990. Indeed he very seldom missed any A.G.M. of the Society and was greatly respected for his manner and attention to detail.  Ill health and family connections caused Graeme and Hazel to relocate to Edinburgh to be closer to their son. Regretably, Hazel had to be admitted to a Nursing Home in Edinburgh and Graeme followed late in 2011. It was from here that he was transferred to hospital earlier this year suffering from bacterial pneumonia, peacefully ‘dropping anchor’ with his family by his side.  Our sincere condolences go to his wife, Hazel, and to his son, Ian and his partner in this time of grief. Most certainly in Dorset his memory will last forever. It was fantastic to know Graeme over so many years: a true friend.  [07.2012]

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SPRAKE, Ray.  It is with great regret that we record the death recently of Ray Sprake, one of the most senior of the Society’s members, author of London & Overseas Freighters and the Isla of Wight Branch Newsletter for over thirty years.  He was a good friend who will be missed by many people, both in the Isle of Wight and elsewhere.  [MN44-7,page394]

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STARKE, Tony.  It is with great sadness that we report the death of Tony Stark at Gawler, South Australia in March 2013 at the age of 87.  Tony will be remembered by all members of the Society that have a leaning towards research into ships’ histories. The name Starke-Schell Registers appears in the bibliography of many books and have become the standard reference source for the histories of ships. Tony started the compilation of his registers in 1957 with an edition for 1932 wherein every merchant ship over a certain size was entered together with its history. The Society became involved in 1998 with the publication of Tony’s registers together with those compiled by Bill Schell. Eventually Tony retired from the compilation and he was replaced by Rodger Howarth. Thus Tony’s name will always be on the tip of the tongue of researchers for any ship built in the world between 1870 and 1999.  Not only that, but Tony initiated the Yard List Project, in which a group of researchers compiled details of the output of many hundreds of shipyards, a project which the WSS later took over.  Quite an epitaph.

Tony is survived by his wife, Sheila, his sons and their families.  [RF]

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TALBOT-BOOTH, Lt. Cdr. E.C.  Lt. Cdr. Eric C. Talbot-Booth died in hospital at Canterbury early on December 9th, 1989.  An early member of the World Ship Society, he was world renowned for his pioneering ship identification/recognition system.  Since the early 1930s he was single-handedly persevering with the naval authorities to get systematic ship recognition taught in the Royal Navy – in this he was repeatedly successful; repeatedly because the lesson had to be re-learnt by each new ‘class’ of senior ranks and fund-holders in Whitehall; with the Air Force perhaps there was less success as records of attacks by ‘friendly aircraft’ bear out.  S ship-lovers we owe Talbot-Booth a great debt – not only for his system and the Ship Recognition Corps that was his creation – but for “Merchant Ships”, his own “Jane” of the merchant shipping world, which set quite new standards for ship books in the 1930s and through the War into the 1960s.  Complete with gloss paper, photographs and fleet lists as well as the Commander’s own drawings these books are now rare treasures.

Post-War Merchant Ships runs to thousands of scale profile drawings of some 20,000 current sea-going merchant ships arranged by the T-B system sequence, with essential data appended; especially valuable for tracing sisterships as well as identifying profiles; even identifying ill-reported casualties from the obscure beaches in the Far East (as I did for Lloyd’s Register).

Merchant Ships has continued under the Commander’s direction until his death, edited by David Greenman at Canterbury, as one of many Ship Recognition Corps publications, with various publishers, latterly Janes.  The nation as a whole may be unaware that it has lost a true patriot and a gentleman of the old school, with a deep Christian faith, who dedicated his life to his cause for his country’s good and security.  May we respect the memory of a distinguished man whose contribution to the study and recording of ships was immeasurable.  Hew would have been 86 at the end of the year.  [MN44-3,page138-9]

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TELFORD, Peter.  It is with great sadness that we record the passing on 1st July 2007 of Peter Telford, following a period of illness.  A long serving member of the Society, Peter was a former seafarer originating from Port Glasgow.  In addition to authoring "Clyde Shipping" and the WSS publication "Donaldson Line", Peter was one of the Society's numerous background activists, being the mainstay in handling trade sales of Society publications, packing, dispatching and invoicing, etc.  Our thoughts are with his wife and family.    [07.2007]

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THOMAS, Len.  We are very sad to have to report the death of Len Thomas, who died on 21st October [1993] at Mildura, Victoria, whilst on holiday in Australia.  Len, ably assisted by his wife Daphne, had looked after our overseas membership for nearly ten years and during that time had made many friends around the world.  A calm, courteous man, always willing to help others, he will be greatly missed.  [MN47-12,page713]

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THOMPSON, Roger.  1944-2005.  Roger was a loving husband to Valerie, a proud father to Lara, a loyal workmate and a good friend.  He had a passion for ships and the sea and was an obsessive collector!  He went to Sea School at Warsash on the River Hamble then joined Royal Mail’s liner ANDES.  Roger was a keen ambassador for his later employers – the Shoreham Port Authority.  He worked all around the harbour and its community as a Shipwright then Storekeeper.  He joined the World Ship Society from the early days of the South Coast Branch and was at all times a staunch supporter.  He was Assistant Secretary then over the last 28 years, Deputy Chairman and Chairman.  Roger put enormous enthusiasm into his shipping hobby and was always at the centre of things at meetings, quizzes, competitions, AGMs and trips abroad endearing himself to all those he met.  The World Ship Society has lost a valiant and loyal supporter and us all a good friend.  [MN59-6,Page327] [AB] [06.2005]

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TIBBETTS, Les.  Many members will have known Les not just as the Gloucester Branch Secretary between 1984 and 2003, or as the man behind the Society Shop throughout the whole of the 1990's, but even more as a stalwart supporter of AGM's and Society outings over the years.  They will therefore share our regret that when his death on September 20th, 2007 was announced, we all felt that we had lost a friend.  Les joined the Royal Navy in 1940 and seved mainly in a supply role, which led to him being on Gold Beach a few days after D-Day.  He joined the Society in the 1950's, firstly being associated with the South Wales Branch in Cardiff, and then being a founder member at Gloucester, whilst becoming a keen collector of models and postcards.  With his wife Mary, Les was well-known as a frequent traveller with several shipping enthusiast groups, and they celebrated at least one milepost anniversary on board ship.  Increasing infirmity limited his activities in recent years, although Les was still playing his part on the Branch Committtee.  Les had his wish, dying peacefully at their home 'Framfield' (named after the ship which had rescued his father during the First World War).  All in the Society extend their sympathies to Mary, to their children Graham and Lesley, and to the rest of the family.  [MN61-12,page711]  [11.2007]

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TODD, Brian.  The beginning of February [2009] brought the sad news that the Hull & District Branch President had passed away.  Brian had been a WSS member since 1965 and had held most of the committee posts at one time or another.  Despite poor health in the past few years, Brian still managed to get along to most of the meetings, until recently.  [MN63-4,page213]

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VARNS, Ralph E.J.    Ralph Varns, a long time member of the Victoria Branch and a Life Member of the WSS in the UK, passed away on Wednesday 6th August, 2008, aged 85 years, after a long struggle with Parkinson's Disease.

Ralph entered the Royal Navy in 1939 and had some remarkable experiences during his Naval career.  As a lookout aboard King George V, Ralph witnessed the demise of the German Battleship Bismarck in WWII.  He was later drafted to the Far East where he worked on maintenance and refitment of ships at Simonstown Dockyard in South Africa.  Following a motor accident in South Africa, in which he was seriously injured, Ralph met and later married his wife Yos, who was a nurse at the hospital.

He was a keen WSS member prior to migrating to Australia in 1963 where he soon joined the Committee of the Victoria Branch.  Ralph amassed a large ship photo collection and sold many photos over the years. He worked for the Melbourne Harbour Trust for many years and was duty officer at the Port Control Tower until his retirement.  Ralph was one of nature's gentlemen. He is survived by his wife Yos, daughter Margaret and son Ken.  A private cremation was held and his ashes will be scattered over the water at a later date.   [MN63-5,page263] [03.2009 BR]

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VISCOUNT LEATHERS.  It is with a very real sense of personal loss that we record this month the death on 21st January [1996] of Lord Leathers, the Senior Vice-President of the Society.  He became a Vice-President in June 1956 and subsequently served a number of terms as the Society President.  He was always available to give good advice and although not enamoured of public speaking, his presence at an Annual General Meeting always added to the occasion and to the pleasure of those attending.  [MN50-3,page141]

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WALDER, Clifford John (Cliff).  Cliff, a long term Committee Member of the South Coast Branch, died after a short illness on Saturday March 20, 2010, aged 89 years. Beloved husband of the late Daphne, and father, grandfather and great grandfather to his loving family.

Will be sadly missed by his family and wide circle of friends, all of whom are invited to a celebration of his life at Worthing Crematorium, Findon on Wednesday March 31, at 1pm.Family flowers only, but donations if desired in his memory to RNLI Shoreham Appeal, c/o A & F Pilbeam Ltd, 81 Underdown Road, Southwick BN42 4HA.




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WILLEY, Ted (1941  -  2012)

The Plymouth Branch regretfully announces the "crossing the bar", of our senior member Ted Willey on the 29th October 2012 at The Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske after a short illness. Ted entered HM Dockyard Devonport as an apprentice electrical fitter at the age of 15 and spent all his working life in the Dockyard working on mostly Frigates and Carriers, rising to Charge Hand and retiring in 1994. Ted's lifelong interest was in shipping; many family holidays over the years were taken in the vicinity of a port so that Ted could indulge himself. In retirement Ted & Eileen found great pleasure in cruising. Ted's other hobbies included building model ships and model railways.

Not only was Ted a former Plymouth Branch Secretary and recipient of a long service medal from the Society in 2006, he was a great friend and raconteur who will be much missed by the Branch. 

Our sincere condolences go to his wife Eileen and to his son David and daughter Elizabeth.

(compiled by Plymouth Branch Secretary, Ian Denton).

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WRIGHT, Martin.  I am sorry to have to tell you that another well-known character, in both the WSS and even more so the Thames Ship Society, has died. Martin suffered a thrombosis and immediately fatal cardiac arrest whilst at home on Friday February 21st, 2014.  

The suddenness of this occurrence has shocked all those who knew him since Martin was active in all sorts of activity, until recently a consultant in the international airline industry having spent much of his working life with aviation regulators, and currently also involved in the governance of a local health board.

I first met Martin when he was one of my successors as Chairman of North Surrey Branch of the WSS in the early 1990s but he soon became  a luminary figure in the TSS; Martin and his wife Ann have been stalwarts on most of their domestic and international trips. Martin has always been willing to share his enthusiasm and knowledge of shipping with other enthusiasts whilst maintaining his own photographic archive.

Many of you will have seen his photos reproduced for example in WSS ‘Marine News’, the TSS ‘Log’, ‘Coastal Shipping’  magazine and in ‘Ships in Focus’ titles.

Most importantly, Martin was a really nice person who I feel privileged to have known, and we can only imagine how devastated Ann must be.        [Roland Whaite]