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Naval Related Obituaries

Topstop

War Hero
RIP Vice Admiral "Beastie" Biggs.

Vice-Admiral Sir Geoffrey Biggs - Telegraph

[h=1]Vice-Admiral Sir Geoffrey Biggs[/h]


12:10AM BST 03 Jul 2002
Comment



Vice-Admiral Sir Geoffrey Biggs, who has died aged 63, was a leading Cold War submariner responsible, as captain of the nuclear-powered submarine Superb, for helping to check Soviet presumptions to dominance in the Arctic.

His patrolling of the Barents Sea, above Norway, in the late 1970s provided vital intelligence which cemented the close relationship of the American and British navies, and drew praise at the highest level on both sides of the Atlantic.

It led later, when Superb was under the command of another officer, to a photograph showing her with two American submarines at the North Pole, which was deemed a classic example of what the naval strategist Sir James Cable described as "naval diplomacy".

During "Beastie" Biggs's command in the late 1970s Superb, which was specially equipped with the most advanced technology, came to be universally recognised as one of the most successful of all peace-time submarines.

Biggs's achievement was all the more remarkable for the fact that he was at the same time bringing up three young sons with the help of his mother; he would cook Sunday lunch for them in Hampshire before driving to Devonport to lick his inexperienced crew into shape.

Geoffrey William Roger Biggs was born on November 23 1938, the son of Admiral Sir Hilary Worthington Biggs, C-in-C, East Indies. He went to Charterhouse, where he was nicknamed "Shag", a reference to his distinct lack of sartorial elegance; later one of his confidential reports complained that Biggs was "a tailor's nightmare, if ever he was acquainted with that profession"; and when he was promoted Flag Officer, Submarines, it was stated that he now had no excuse for failing to buy a new uniform.
Passing out of Dartmouth in 1958, Biggs had two short appointments in the aircraft carrier Eagle and the cruiser Belfast, before joining the Submarine Service in 1960. As a junior officer, Biggs enjoyed an unusually full social life, being the only officer on his lieutenants' course at Greenwich to have his own box at Ascot.
However senior the other passengers in the coach back to Greenwich from the races, the drivers always insisted on waiting for Lieutenant Biggs to finish his champagne - a practice which did not enhance his popularity.
Biggs's name appeared so frequently in the society pages that he was warned that he was damaging his career in the "silent service"; as a result, when he was spotted with a glamorous girl on his arm by a photographer and reporter from Tatler, he agreed to a picture being taken only on condition that his name was given as "A N Anon".
Biggs served in a number of diesel-powered submarines - Ambush, Teredo, Artful and Orpheus - before undertaking the commanding officers' qualifying course, known as the "Perisher" because so many officers' careers perished on it. After passing with flying colours, he commanded the submarine Otus and then, unusually, attended the Army Staff Course at Camberley before being appointed to the staff of Captain, 3rd Submarine Squadron.
In 1973, Biggs became executive officer of the nuclear-powered Swiftsure, then "Teacher", the officer commanding "Perisher". This enabled him to demonstrate his sound judgment of character, proving he had "a nice blend of iron and humour in his counsel and direction", according to another senior officer. Although Biggs did not suffer fools gladly he never showed his displeasure by belittling the object of his ire.
At sea he read paperback novels voraciously, but, when called, would spring into the control room or on to the bridge with a complete tactical picture in his mind of what was going on around his ship or submarine.
Unsurprisingly, his crews retained total confidence in him, seeing through the bluffness, hard living, love of a party and clouds of cigarette smoke to the considerate man within. Between senior appointments at the Ministry of Defence in the 1980s, Biggs commanded the Type 22 frigates Brilliant and Broadsword, where he inspired his ships and squadron with great flair and dash as well as contributing markedly to their operational efficiency.
Promoted Rear Admiral in 1990, Biggs became Flag Officer, Gibraltar, where he introduced a new joint service command, dressing his officers in purple pullovers, the uniform of the soldiers under him as Commander British Forces. One high spot of this period was when Frankie Howerd came to Gibraltar; when the Telegraph columnist Peterborough rang to ask about the comedian's supposed resemblance to Biggs, Biggs bellowed down the phone: "Who told you about my looking like Frankie Howerd? My adjutant, wasn't it?"
In 1992, Biggs was promoted Vice-Admiral to become Deputy Commander Fleet at Northwood. There he used his experience gained at Gibraltar to convince others of his vision of a Permanent Joint Force Headquarters, which has since become the command and control centre of all deployed British forces.
Biggs could have gone on to enjoy further senior appointments in the Navy, but he chose to retire in 1995, when he was immediately employed by International Computers Limited.
Joining the company's defence strategy board, he was not content merely to open doors for ICL, but became deeply involved in its sales and business campaigns; he helped to transform its relationship with the Ministry of Defence, and also turned one disastrous computer project into a success.
Geoffrey Biggs, who died on June 29, was appointed KCB in 1993.
In 1967 he married Marcia Leask, with whom he had three sons. After the marriage was dissolved in 1978, he married in 1981 Caroline Kerr (nee Daly) with whom he had a daughter. He is survived by his wife, all his children and two stepsons from his second



 

instinct

Lantern Swinger
Lt-Cdr Kenneth Kempsell - obituary

Lt-Cdr Kenneth Kempsell - obituary - Telegraph

Lieutenant-Commander Kenneth Kempsell, who has died aged 83, was an outspoken leader of the Royal Navy’s elite band of mine clearance divers.

On August 15 1963 a torpedo exploded in the armoury at RAF Kinloss, killing two men, severely damaging the building, and bringing down the 19-ton armoured roof on to 24 other torpedoes. Fruitless attempts were made to move the torpedoes, from which acid was leaking on to the floor; Kempsell and the Navy’s Scotland and Northern Ireland Disposal Team were duly summoned.



Kempsell arrived at 1am on August 17 and quickly established that the type of torpedo was new to him — and that the only man who could brief him was one of the dead. Several of the torpedoes were too hot to touch, and he could hear their batteries hissing and bubbling. He estimated that there was about two-and-a-half tons of explosive ready to blow at any second and suggested detonating the unstable weapons. There was little he could do in the dark, however, so he went to bed and slept like a log.

At 7.30am, dressed in an asbestos suit, Kempsell crawled into the 20-inch gap between the fallen roof and the torpedoes on which it was resting. For 71 minutes he worked to place 16 charges around the weapons, while the acid ate at his suit. When he had finished, Kempsell crept out and sauntered to a safe distance. “It would have looked bad to run,” he noted later, before confessing: “I have never been so scared in my life.”

[h=2]Related Articles[/h]


Three hundred yards away he lay down behind a hummock and pressed the plunger to set off the charges and produce “a lovely big bang” – which broke windows a mile away.
Kempsell was awarded the George Medal .
Kenneth Douglas Kempsell was born in Glasgow on January 6 1931, and educated at Spiers School in Beith, Ayrshire. He joined the Navy on November 18 1946 as a 15-year-old Boy 2nd Class at the training establishment HMS Ganges, at Shotley, Suffolk.
He served in the frigate Black Swan during the Malayan campaign in 1948 and the Yangtze Incident in 1949, and saw service as a sonar operator during the Korean War. After two years on the America and West Indies station, in Sparrow, and a spell as a petty officer in the Training Squadron at Portland, he was commissioned in 1956. He qualified as a mine warfare and clearance diving officer in 1961.
While on the staff of the Flag Officer Scotland, in 1963 Kempsell boarded an Aberdeen trawler, where a fisherman had been trapped by a wartime mine which the nets had brought in. Kempsell wrestled for three hours in heavy seas to make the mine safe; the next day crowds lined the shore to watch him blow it up at sea.
Kempsell was chosen to be the first lieutenant of the Royal Navy’s first operational minehunter, Kirkliston; he then served on the staff of Britannia Royal Naval College before being appointed first lieutenant of the newly commissioned mine countermeasures command and support ship Abdiel; in 1969 he commanded the minehunter Nurton.

[SUP]Kenneth Kempsell about to make safe a mine[/SUP]
In 1973 Kempsell was lent to the Royal Australian Navy as diving training officer, and was commended by the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board for disposing of hazardous explosive ordnance at Cairns in Queensland.
From 1975 to 1979 he commanded the deep trials diving ship Reclaim, then became staff officer to Tay and Clyde Divisions RNR, during which time he commanded the divisions’ training ships Montrose, Petrel, Walkerton and Hodgeston.
In 1980 he was appointed Resident Naval Officer, Invergordon, and, in 1982, Queen’s Harbour Master, Cromarty Firth. When the latter was made a civilian post, Kempsell won his own job in an open competition, and when the Ministry of Defence put his official residence on the market, he acquired that too. He retired in 1986.
Kempsell was a forthright character, and was never known to shed a tear. His decisiveness no doubt proved essential in the disposal of mines and bombs, but may have prevented him gaining further promotion. He loved dogs, particularly Cairn terriers.
Kenneth Kempsell married, in 1955, Doreen Fluker, who survives him with their two sons. In 2008 Kempsell attended the passing-out parade of his grandson, James, at HMS Raleigh, where James’s father was serving as a lieutenant-commander.
Lt-Cdr Kenneth Kempsell, born January 6 1931, died April 19 2014


Had the pleasure of knowing him and his lovely wife in the last few years. A great shame as he will be missed. :salute:



 
Commander Roger Guy, born Dec 22 1935, died July 19 2018

Commander Roger Guy was a naval apprentice who rose from the ranks to become an outstanding nuclear submarine engineer during the Cold War.

In 1975/78 Guy was engineer officer of the nuclear-powered submarine Swiftsure, when she spent most of her time carrying out covert patrols in the Barents Sea, monitoring the Soviet Northern Fleet including the aircraft carrier Kiev.

The need for absolute reliability of all equipment was paramount, and Guy provided deeply researched and practical solutions to whatever problems arose, delivering advice with confidence and, despite his gruff exterior, flashes of humour.

When the nuclear reactor needed to be shut down, his calmness and professional knowledge ensured that the submarine spent the minimum time at periscope depth using her diesels and batteries and was able to resume her patrol without being detected. He was appointed MBE.

Roger Noel Guy was born in Penzance on December 22 1935 and was brought up by his seamstress mother after his father died when he was four. A sea cadet, his first seagoing jaunt was an unsupervised, ill-equipped, eight-hour row from Newlyn to Port Leven and back. He was educated at Penzance County Grammar School, but his family was too poor for university to be an option, so he joined the Royal Navy as a shipwright apprentice aged 16.

He was top apprentice in his entry at the engineering school, HMS Caledonia, and went to sea in the aircraft carrier Ark Royal, where his qualities were soon recognised and he became an upper yardman, passing out of the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, as a sub-lieutenant in 1960.

After serving in the carrier Hermes and the destroyer Finisterre, Guy was sent to study at the Royal Naval Engineering College, Manadon, and sit for the exams of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, before specialising as a submarine engineer.

From 1966 to 1968 Guy was engineer officer of the diesel-powered submarines Astute and Oberon, but while in Singapore he was transferred to Rorqual to supervise extensive repairs when she arrived after a poor refit in Britain and a very difficult eastward passage, involving a fatality in the engine room.

Roger Guy on board the submarine Rorqual


Guy returned to school to qualify in nuclear engineering and from 1969 to 1972 was assistant engineer of the nuclear-powered, conventionally armed submarine Conqueror, overseeing her building and introduction into service.

He quickly showed himself to be the ideal submariner – reserved, respected and effective, and a good companion to his shipmates. From 1972 to 1975 he was naval operations overseer at the naval test reactor at Dounreay.

After Swiftsure, Guy’s next challenge was Valiant, known, after a series of technical incidents in her first two commissions, as the “black pig”, where he confirmed his reputation for sorting out a whole set of very persistent problems which had plagued Britain’s older nuclear submarines. After promotion to commander he was Squadron Engineer Officer, from 1982 to 1985, of the 3rd Submarine Squadron based at Faslane.

A particular problem required the redesign of seawater coolers essential to the functioning of the propulsion systems – an extreme challenge in the confined spaces of a submarine, and one to which Guy contributed his initiative and experience. He was appointed OBE in 1985.

Next he was head of submarine commissioning as a serving officer with Babcock Engineering at Rosyth Royal Dockyard, and chairman of the Reactor Test Group there.

When the dockyard was taken over by Babcock in 1987, he remained initially on loan from the Navy and then as an employee of Babcock until his retirement in 1998.

Guy, who spoke with a soft Cornish accent, was the model of the West Country pirate-submariner, with a swarthy complexion, black hair and bushy beard. Nevertheless, he fought tirelessly for Rosyth, rather than Devonport, to be given the Trident submarine refit facility.

In retirement, he and his wife devoted much time to local politics. He served five years as a Conservative councillor in Fife. He was chairman of the North East Fife Conservative and Unionist Association and of the How of Fife Rotary.

He read widely in history and biography, with a particular interest in other cultures and religions, loved classical ballet and opera, and was a much sought-after partner at Scottish country dancing.

Guy married Jeanette Paris in 1958. She survives him with their son and daughter. Another son predeceased him.


https://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2018/09/10/commander-roger-guy-submarine-engineer-obituary/

Edited to add photograph
 
Last edited:

Sumo

War Hero
Commander Roger Guy, born Dec 22 1935, died July 19 2018

Commander Roger Guy was a naval apprentice who rose from the ranks to become an outstanding nuclear submarine engineer during the Cold War.

In 1975/78 Guy was engineer officer of the nuclear-powered submarine Swiftsure, when she spent most of her time carrying out covert patrols in the Barents Sea, monitoring the Soviet Northern Fleet including the aircraft carrier Kiev.

The need for absolute reliability of all equipment was paramount, and Guy provided deeply researched and practical solutions to whatever problems arose, delivering advice with confidence and, despite his gruff exterior, flashes of humour.

When the nuclear reactor needed to be shut down, his calmness and professional knowledge ensured that the submarine spent the minimum time at periscope depth using her diesels and batteries and was able to resume her patrol without being detected. He was appointed MBE.

Roger Noel Guy was born in Penzance on December 22 1935 and was brought up by his seamstress mother after his father died when he was four. A sea cadet, his first seagoing jaunt was an unsupervised, ill-equipped, eight-hour row from Newlyn to Port Leven and back. He was educated at Penzance County Grammar School, but his family was too poor for university to be an option, so he joined the Royal Navy as a shipwright apprentice aged 16.

He was top apprentice in his entry at the engineering school, HMS Caledonia, and went to sea in the aircraft carrier Ark Royal, where his qualities were soon recognised and he became an upper yardman, passing out of the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, as a sub-lieutenant in 1960.

After serving in the carrier Hermes and the destroyer Finisterre, Guy was sent to study at the Royal Naval Engineering College, Manadon, and sit for the exams of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, before specialising as a submarine engineer.

From 1966 to 1968 Guy was engineer officer of the diesel-powered submarines Astute and Oberon, but while in Singapore he was transferred to Rorqual to supervise extensive repairs when she arrived after a poor refit in Britain and a very difficult eastward passage, involving a fatality in the engine room.

Roger Guy on board the submarine Rorqual


Guy returned to school to qualify in nuclear engineering and from 1969 to 1972 was assistant engineer of the nuclear-powered, conventionally armed submarine Conqueror, overseeing her building and introduction into service.

He quickly showed himself to be the ideal submariner – reserved, respected and effective, and a good companion to his shipmates. From 1972 to 1975 he was naval operations overseer at the naval test reactor at Dounreay.

After Swiftsure, Guy’s next challenge was Valiant, known, after a series of technical incidents in her first two commissions, as the “black pig”, where he confirmed his reputation for sorting out a whole set of very persistent problems which had plagued Britain’s older nuclear submarines. After promotion to commander he was Squadron Engineer Officer, from 1982 to 1985, of the 3rd Submarine Squadron based at Faslane.

A particular problem required the redesign of seawater coolers essential to the functioning of the propulsion systems – an extreme challenge in the confined spaces of a submarine, and one to which Guy contributed his initiative and experience. He was appointed OBE in 1985.

Next he was head of submarine commissioning as a serving officer with Babcock Engineering at Rosyth Royal Dockyard, and chairman of the Reactor Test Group there.

When the dockyard was taken over by Babcock in 1987, he remained initially on loan from the Navy and then as an employee of Babcock until his retirement in 1998.

Guy, who spoke with a soft Cornish accent, was the model of the West Country pirate-submariner, with a swarthy complexion, black hair and bushy beard. Nevertheless, he fought tirelessly for Rosyth, rather than Devonport, to be given the Trident submarine refit facility.

In retirement, he and his wife devoted much time to local politics. He served five years as a Conservative councillor in Fife. He was chairman of the North East Fife Conservative and Unionist Association and of the How of Fife Rotary.

He read widely in history and biography, with a particular interest in other cultures and religions, loved classical ballet and opera, and was a much sought-after partner at Scottish country dancing.

Guy married Jeanette Paris in 1958. She survives him with their son and daughter. Another son predeceased him.


https://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2018/09/10/commander-roger-guy-submarine-engineer-obituary/

Edited to add photograph
@WreckerL did you know him?
 
Formerly of the RM & SBS - Jeremy John Durham (Paddy) Ashdown,
Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, CH, GCMG, KBE, PC
27 February 1941 – 22 December 2018.

Diagnosed with "serious" bladder cancer in October 2018. he died on 22 December 2018.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paddy_Ashdown

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46662546

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/nov/02/paddy-ashdown-reveals-he-has-bladder-cancer

https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/PaddyAshdown

'Of medium height & build' nevertheless Sir Paddy was larger than life and hugely popular.

RIP & Resurgam, Sir.
 

barny006

War Hero
My mate Mick D'Arcy on 10 Jan ,sad loss one of the best Shipmates you could ever meet. R.I.P Mick I will miss you.
 
Lieut. Commander Doug TAYLOR RIP (5th May 1929 - 12th March 2019)

From 'pay-walled' Dee Tee Obit of 4 April 2019

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2019/04/04/lieutenant-commander-doug-taylor-naval-engineer-whose-ski-jump/


<<...The ski-jump would change the shape of the Royal Navy’s carrier fleet and play a decisive role in winning the Falklands War. Later ski-jumps were to be fitted in many other navies’ carriers.

Taylor’s rewards were the bronze medal of the James Clayton Memorial Prize of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Royal Aeronautical Society and the James Martin gold medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators, the MBE, and an interim payment of £25,000 by the Ministry of Defence. A full payment was never made... etc etc ...He took up flying in his late seventies and flew solo for a decade, and self-published his naval memoir, A Runway in the Sky, in 2015....>>
 
Commander John Lorimer DSO Royal Navy [1] (9th July 9 1922 - 1 December 2019)


From the 'pay-walled' Daily Telegraph of 23rd December 2019

Commander John Lorimer, who has died aged 97, was a sailor who in his midget submarine helped to put a mighty German battleship out of action; his war was 18 months of training, two weeks of operations and two years as a prisoner of war, including six months of solitary confinement.
His two weeks’ operations were in X-6, a midget submarine commanded by Lieutenant Donald Cameron and crewed by Lorimer, Sub-Lieutenant Dick Kendall and Engine Room Artificer Edmund Goddard, who set out on a suicidal mission to sink the pride of the Germany navy.
Operation Source, as it was known, began on September 11 1943, when six large submarines, each with an X-craft in tow, crept out of Loch Cairnbawn and headed for Kaafjord in Arctic Norway: their target was the German battleship Tirpitz, which was threatening the convoys to Russia.
Lorimer had joined the RNVR as soon as he could, and – “young, 19, and stupid” – he volunteered for special and hazardous duty without knowing that this involved an arduous training programme. Besides learning how to operate the four-man midget submarines, known as X-craft, he also had to train to trek great distances, in case he had to take the mountainous trail to Sweden after the operation.

“There was an awful lot we didn’t know, such as the dangers of diving to 100ft with pure oxygen, which kills you in half a minute,” he recalled. “This all had to be discovered by experimentation, and there were casualties. But that’s war.”

One in four of his fellow volunteers died, including Lorimer’s best friend, Paddy Kearon, who perished with his crew when a towrope broke and his submarine plunged to the depths. “Cast yourself back to the age of 21,” said Lorimer. “You’re in a war where everyone’s united. You drink like tomorrow we die, yet you feel immortal. One lost a lot of chums, but otherwise one enjoyed one’s war. I find this country so much more depressing today. We’re no longer united, and all anyone cares about is money.”

On the night of September 21/22, having penetrated deep into the fjord, Lorimer caught his first sight of Tirpitz. “It was surreal, lit up like a Christmas tree. My first thought was that she was so pretty, it seemed an awful shame to have to blow her up.”
Each X-craft had aboard a specialist diver trained to use bolt cutters on the thick steel underwater netting. However, X-6’s captain, Cameron, had a better idea, when through a leaking periscope he spotted a trawler carrying German sailors from shore leave, passing through a gate in the outer ring of nets.

Impetuously, Cameron followed just 10 feet behind in the boat’s wake. “We could see the sailors’ faces quite clearly, but they were too pie-eyed to notice us.” Astonishingly, they repeated the trick by following a small boat through the inner torpedo netting. “Then disaster struck,” Lorimer recalled. “We hit an uncharted rock. Our periscope caught fire. The boat broke surface at 45 degrees.”
Somehow Cameron managed to dive again, but the submarine was now blind, filling with noxious fumes and all but uncontrollable. “Right,” Cameron grimaced, “we’ll just have to ram the bloody Tirpitz.” X-6 dropped each of its two-ton Amatol explosive charges under the Tirpitz’s keel, before surfacing amid a hail of bullets and grenades. They were captured, and as they were herded aboard Tirpitz, Lorimer asked Cameron: “Skipper, shall we salute the quarterdeck?” “Why, of course,” answered Cameron – and this they did, to the consternation of the Germans.

At first the Germans were rough, but when their admiral arrived, evidently from a hunting trip ashore, he treated them more gentlemanly. At first, they held their silence, but when the German made to send divers down, “we were very British and said: ‘Don’t send those poor buggers down because in an hour they’ll be mashed potato.’  However, when the timed explosives did blow and Tirpitz was bodily lifted upwards, the Germans became very hostile and lined up their prisoners as though to shoot them. Lorimer remembered thinking that he wouldn’t give a sixpence for his life – “but mainly I was bloody furious that the ship was still floating.” However, Tirpitz was mortally damaged and never saw service afterwards.

“Good show! Good show!” said George VI when after the war he awarded the survivors two VCs, three DSOs and a CGM. The official despatch described the attack as one of the most courageous acts of all time.
When the raid was re-created in the film Above Us the Waves (1955), Donald Sinden borrowed Lorimer’s pipe as a prop.

John Thornton Lorimer was born on July 9 1922 at Kelso in the Scottish Borders, where his parents were doctors; his father was a naval surgeon in both world wars. Young John was educated at the United Services College in North Devon. Released from an initial “softening-up” spell in solitary, Lorimer found prisoner-of-war camp “just like public school” and joined various attempts to escape. One failed when heavy rain caused the collapse of a tunnel he was helping to dig; when Albert RN (a collapsible, life-sized dummy) was used to trick the German’s head count, Lorimer carried Albert’s left leg.

When taken prisoner, Lorimer had been engaged to a Wren, Judy Hughes-Onslow, one of the four daughters of Sir Geoffrey Hughes-Onslow. For the first six months of his imprisonment she did not know whether Lorimer was dead or alive, and when the camp was relieved, her soldier cousin, Tony Lithgow, came looking for Lorimer, and he was returned to Scotland in a flying boat.

Judy, sent to collect the mail from the boat, was surprised to find Lorimer crammed into the back. Asked how she felt, she said: “Oh, it was the same old John. Dull as ever.” They married in 1945. Postwar, Lorimer asked to stay in the Navy, and when this was refused, he was a rowdy and rumbustious, older undergraduate at Edinburgh, reading forestry. He joined the Ayrshire sawmill and timber company of Adam Wilson before setting up a forestry consultancy with Michael Barn, working until he was 85. Lorimer was a countryman who loved messing about in boats, and was Deputy Lieutenant of Ayrshire and Aran.
Lorimer havered when invited to join a reunion of Tirpitz’s crew, but returned from Germany full of good humour.

Judy predeceased him and he is survived by their son and daughter.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Source



[1] The heading of this piece was amended by this c/s to reflect credit where it is due - The Obituary's anonymous author having neglected to include the subject's correct post-nominals; "DSO Royal Navy".

PS Some sleuthing by the Command WO resulted in Lt Cdr Lorimer's attendance as Guest of Honour at the S/M Service Annual Dinner in 2017:


RIP Sir & Resurgam
 
Relevant to the Post above ^^

From Glasgow Evening Times of Weds 13th November just:

<<... AMBULANCE chiefs are to apologise to a 97-year-old war hero who waited more than three hours in pain for help to arrive after breaking his hip.

Commander John Lorimer, thought to be the last survivor of one of the most courageous raids of the second world war (X Craft Vs Tirpitz), is understood to have suffered a fall at his home on Saturday. (that would be Sat 9th Nov 2019 then)

However it was three and a half hours before the ambulance turned up to take the great grandfather to hospital. The Royal Navy Veteran is said to have undergone emergency surgery on his hip on Monday. (Which would be Mon 11th November)...>>




Mmmm - That DT Obituary above gave his date of Death (Sunday,1st Dec) but without referring to the above 'incident'... Sadly the time between his Hip Op (reportedly planned for Mon 11th Nov.) and his death was a mere 21 Days.

Closer to home, but in N London, my younger brother (former skimmer Pinkie, bless 'im) broke his hip just a week ago and he spent two hours on the cold pavement. An Ambulance was called ATT but the one that did attend was 'coincidentally, just passing by, happened to see his plight & whipped him straight into the nearest A & E, cancelling the original. still outstanding 999 call'.

Luckily for him an emergency op. for plates & screws was carried out two days later and he was finally returned to his S London home by hospital txport very late last night, Christmas Eve.

Message for NHS Scotland & England, in particular?

Splash out - Buy more Ambulances & crew 'em up Two-Six. Grrr.
 
From the DT

Captain 'Spiv' Leahy, who died on Boxing Day aged 94, was one of the outstanding aviators of his age.

1582689895379.png


He ditched in the sea, made an emergency landing with a damaged wing, was set upon by MiG fighters and won a DSC

In 1952-53, during the conflict in Korea, Leahy was air weapons officer of 801 Naval Air Squadron flying the Hawker Sea Fury. On September 10 1952 while testing the carrier Glory’s rocket-assisted take-off gear, the gear failed and Leahy’s plane toppled over the bows, sinking quickly.
Leahy was trapped in his cockpit just long enough to miss the ship’s propellers and struggled with his straps until he heard the carrier pass over him before bobbing to the surface in Glory’s wake, choking because his oxygen mask tube was under water. He was picked up by a destroyer and returned by jackstay – grinning, unhurt, and subsequently fortified by a tot of rum.
801 Squadron flew an average of 61 sorties per day from Glory off Korea. On December 18 1952, after a premature explosion in his wing-mounted 20mm cannons, which left a gaping hole in his port wing, Leahy nursed his damaged plane to an emergency airstrip on the Allied-held island of Paengyong-do. The next day he was flying again.
Two months later Leahy was leading a flight of four Sea Furies returning from a mission over Hanchon, when he was jumped by a section of MiG-15 jets. The MiGs came in from very high and astern but after some aggressive manoeuvring, no damage was done. Leahy was awarded the DSC for courage, leadership and determination.

Alan John Leahy was born in Glasgow on May 17 1925. His father was a Dubliner, his mother from Colonsay. He was educated at Glasgow High and volunteered for the Fleet Air Arm in 1943.
He learnt to fly with the US Navy at Grosse Isle, Michigan, and Pensacola, Florida; his instructors were so amazed by his skills, that they used to draw lots to fly with him. But after VJ-Day there was a glut of young, redundant pilots: Leahy fought to stay in the Navy and was appointed to a ferry squadron, giving him the opportunity to fly many different types of aircraft over the next two years.
In May 1947 he joined a Sea Hornet squadron at Ford, Sussex, commanded by Dickie Law who, looking at Leahy’s wide lapels and colourful ties bought back from the US, remarked: “You look like a spiv.” The name stuck.
Leahy mastered the twin-engined de Havilland Sea Hornet. Once, when his port undercarriage failed to lower, he performed a one-wheel landing so faultlessly that the aircraft was soon repaired and flying again. .
In 1949 at St Merryn, Cornwall, Leahy qualified as an air weapons officer. From 1950 to 1952 he taught at the Naval Fighter School, Culdrose.
In early 1952 he had a break from flying when he trained the Fleet Air Arm field gun crew. Next, Leahy joined the newly-formed 800 Sea Hawk squadron as senior pilot, under the future Admiral Ray Lygo, in the carrier Ark Royal, displaying superb airmanship when, after his single-engined Sea Hawk jet suffered a flame-out during a low-level inverted run over Culdrose, he coolly made an engine-off landing.
Leahy then commanded 738 Squadron, the Sea Hawk training squadron, where his skills as a formation leader and display pilot were apparent. On a blustery day in 1956, at the presentation of the Queen’s Colour at Lee-on-Solent, Leahy was leading 80 jets five miles away on the final run-in when he was told to delay by seven minutes. Allowing for the strong wind, he determined a smooth 360º turn and arrived on schedule with his formation intact.

1582690083825.png
In 1957 Leahy formed an aerobatic team for the Farnborough Airshow. He had five Sea Hawks painted red with “Royal Navy” in large, white letters under the wings, while his engineers modified the aircraft to produce coloured smoke, and entertained the crowds to stunning displays.
Leahy was appointed MBE for his outstanding leadership and organisation.

In 1961, as commanding officer of 700Z squadron Leahy introduced the low-level Buccaneer bomber into service, and went on to serve as Commander (Air) in the carrier Hermes (1963-64). His captain, the future Admiral Sir Bill O’Brien, described him later as “a short, square, flat-faced, pug-nosed Scot... immensely popular within the Fleet Air Arm and admired by his peers for his skills as an aviator, who handled his men with great tact.”

As Director of Naval Air Warfare (1973-75), he campaigned for the Navy to acquire Sea Harrier jets and Lynx helicopters. In 1975 he was Commodore, Clyde, where his common sense and humour were invaluable in managing labour disputes. He was appointed CBE on his retirement in 1978.

Leahy flew more than 35 types of aircraft with a total flying time of 4,545hrs, including 444 catapult launches and 670 deck landings.

After the Navy, Leahy was a director of Bristow Helicopters and managing director of Helicopter Rentals, Bermuda. He wrote two books: From the Cockpit – Sea Hornet and From the Cockpit – Sea Fury.
In 1959 Leahy married Lena Svensson, who survives him with their daughter, and a son who was a submariner.

Captain A J Leahy, born May 17 1925, died December 26 2019

 
Vice-Admiral Sir Toby Frere, born June 4 1938, died March 5 2020

[Shared from the 'pay-walled' Daily Telegraph of 5.03 pm Thurs 9th Apr 2020.

A full and most interesting career (with oodles of 'Wow, I never knew thats'). When a Commander Toby Frere was known & respected as a VG egg by both crews of HMS Revenge* during my time on port crew under Cdr Paul Hoddinott, his opposite number.]


Vice-Admiral Sir Toby Frere, who has died aged 81, was an eminent Cold War submariner and logistician.

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His first boat, Astute (1961-62), was on loan to the Royal Canadian Navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and part of the 6th Submarine Squadron, when it deployed for war and formed a barrier on the Grand Banks to watch for the approach of Soviet submarines. Canadian rates of pay enabled Frere to buy a gull-wing Mercedes-Benz 300SL on his return to Britain.

He joined the submarine Ocelot while it was being built in Chatham and participated in trials of new torpedoes in the Mediterranean, but Frere had a taste for service overseas and, it is said, he slipped into the office where the forthcoming appointments were kept on a chalk board, and changed his next appointment from Scotland to Australia. In 1966-67 he was based in Sydney, whence he returned home in Taciturn across the Pacific.

In 1960, after Frere and his future brother-in-law passed the “perisher”, the submarine commanding officers’ qualifying course, he commanded the submarine Andrew in Singapore, returning to Britain via Australia, Fiji, Tahiti, Pitcairn, Cartagena and Barbados. His new wife sold his Lotus Elan in order to be able to follow Andrew across the Pacific.

In 1970-71 Frere was a divisional officer at Dartmouth, where he took Prince Charles under his wing. After two years teaching navigation and submarines he was appointed to Odin, taking her out to Australia to join the newly formed Australian 1st Submarine Squadron.

Within weeks of his wife and first-born arriving in Sydney, Frere was promoted commander, served in the Australian Navy Office and then studied at the Joint Services Staff Course.

Frere was chosen in 1975 to be “teacher” on the “perisher”. He was always calm, never shouted and let students make mistakes during dummy attacks, after which he would invite each individual to critique his own performance. In this way he produced several classes of good submarine commanders.

In 1976 he gained a diploma in nuclear engineering at Greenwich before commanding the *starboard* crew of the Polaris-firing Revenge, based in Faslane where, during a strike at the armament depot and on the orders of Prime Minister Jim Callaghan, his crew loaded missiles from the depot.

Frere was promoted chief of staff (1986-87) to the Flag Officer Submarines when Soviet submarines were challenging the superiority of their British and American counterparts in the Atlantic and Barents Sea.

He succeeded to be Flag Officer Submarines in 1991 at a difficult time, when the flotilla was coping with long-running technical problems and dwindling force levels; he was also obliged to make the case for preserving nuclear-powered boats at the expense of new, conventionally powered boats.

Frere set about restoring morale, a challenge which he met magnificently, dual-hatted, as Commander Submarines Eastern Atlantic. His Nato colleagues regarded him as an astute, highly effective leader and a totally reliable and dedicated ally.

Richard Tobias Frere-Reeves was born in London on June 4 1938. His father, Alexander, was managing editor (later chairman) of the publishers Heinemann; his mother was the daughter of the author and playwright Edgar Wallace.

He was evacuated to New York in 1940. Returning in 1942, he remembered lifeboat drill as other ships in the convoy were being torpedoed.

He was educated at Wellesley House, Broadstairs, and at Eton. His father wanted him to follow him into publishing, and his godfather, JB Priestley, and visiting authors such as Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, Georgette Heyer and Somerset Maugham, all emphasised to him the importance of Latin, Greek, English and History.

Young Frere, however, dropped the Classics to concentrate on scientific subjects, served in the RNVR as a national serviceman, transferred to the Royal Navy and was commissioned in 1956.

His first ship was the anti-aircraft frigate Leopard on the South American Station, on which Frere visited the Seychelles, Argentina, entered the Pacific via the Magellan Strait, voyaged up the Amazon, carried out hurricane relief in Mauritius, fought forest fires in the Cape – and was a judge at a Miss Nigeria contest in Lagos in 1959.

He also gained his bridge watchkeeping ticket and qualified in ocean navigation but, reluctant to spend his naval career staring at radar sets in big ships, Frere volunteered for submarines.

Promoted captain in 1979, he began a parallel naval career in logistics, first as naval assistant to the Chief of Fleet Support. After study at the Royal College of Defence Studies he headed the RN Presentation Team, touring the country to talk about the Navy.

He escaped to sea to command the frigate Brazen (1984-84) with Prince Andrew as his helicopter pilot; evacuated British citizens from Beirut; escorted tankers through the Strait of Hormuz and, as part of a Nato squadron in the Mediterranean, found himself berthed between the Greek and Turkish destroyers during port visits.

Promoted rear-admiral in 1988, Frere returned to the Ministry of Defence as Deputy Chief of Fleet Support during the first Gulf War.

On promotion to vice-admiral and as Chief of Fleet Support, with 24,000 staff and a budget of more than £2 billion, he oversaw the transfer of Rosyth and Devonport dockyards to commercial management and the smooth introduction into service of the Vanguard class submarines.

After leaving the Navy, his success at the Armed Forces Pay Review (1997-2002) led to him being asked by the government to set up a similar body for the Prison Service. The art, he noted, was to reach an annual recommendation on pay that kept the Prison Service and the Prison Officers’ Association equally disgruntled.

Frere was able and well-informed, and at the same time modest, good-humoured and taciturn. Behind his understated demeanour, however, lay a shrewd, tough, character who knew what he had to achieve and quietly got on with it.

Frere had a long-standing connection to the Worshipful Company of Grocers and was master of the company in 2004-05, and chairman of the governors of Oundle (2007-2010).

In 1968 he married Jane Barraclough, who survives him with their two daughters.
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RIP, Sir Toby & Resurgam.
 
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