Naval Related Obituaries

By Telegraph Obituaries28 September 2020 • 8:00pm

Mary Fetherston-Dilke, naval nurse who served in Egypt and Palestine – obituary
She specialised in theatre nursing, and many surgeons, including Vice-Admiral Sir James Watt, insisted that she be at their side

Mary Fetherston-Dilke, who has died aged 101, was Matron-in-Chief of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service.
The eldest of four children, she was born Mary Stella Percival in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, on September 21 1918, and grew up at the family home of Maxstoke Castle, a 14th-century moated and fortified manor house which her ancestors had held for Parliament in the Civil War.
In 1918 her father, Beaumont Albany Percival, a doctor in the Colonial Medical Service in Nigeria, succeeded to Maxstoke Castle, and by royal licence assumed the surname of Fetherston-Dilke. Mary’s brothers made their careers in the Royal Navy, while a sister served in the WRNS.
After leaving school at 16, Mary passed her driving test at 17 and in 1936 was presented at Court as a debutante during the brief reign of Edward VIII. Before the outbreak of war, keen to gain her independence, she trained as a nurse at St George’s Hospital, London.
Once qualified, in 1942 she joined the QARNNS. Her wartime appointments were first to the Royal Naval College at its temporary home at Eaton Hall, the country house of the Duke of Westminster, then two years in the 64th General Hospital in Alexandria, Egypt, followed by six months in the WRNS Sick Quarters at Haifa, Palestine.

Maxstoke Castle, the Fetherston-Dilke family seat, where Mary grew up
Postwar she was rapidly promoted, serving at Royal Naval Hospitals at Gosport, Port Edgar, Chatham, Malta and Devonport, and the Sick Quarters at the Royal Marines Depot, Deal.
She specialised as a theatre nurse and many surgeons, including the eminent Surgeon Vice-Admiral Sir James Watt, insisted that she should be at their side in the operating theatre.
In the rank of Matron, Mary Fetherston-Dilke ran the RN Hospitals in Mauritius (1962-63*), and Stonehouse, Devonport (1963-64). She was promoted to Matron-in-Chief in 1966, when she made it a principle to interview every candidate for the QARNNS. Retiring in 1970, she left a reputation for being kind, thoughtful, jolly and above all professional.
She was awarded the RRC in 1961, the OStJ in 1966, and made CBE in 1968.
In retirement she ran the Citizens Advice Bureau in Chiswick for many years, becoming known as the “Red Aunt” for her practice of handing out “know-your-rights” leaflets on the street, and for her support of Ken Livingstone as mayor of London.
From the age of 70 she volunteered at the Brompton and the Royal Marsden hospitals, without ever disclosing her own nursing background. She was sceptical of what doctors could do for patients and was generally suspicious of pills.

Mary Fetherston-Dilke left the QARNNS with the reputation of being kind, thoughtful, jolly and, above all, professional
In her eighties, convalescing from a hip replacement in Southampton General Hospital, she was confronted by a television crew looking for bad news stories. They were taken aback by Mary Fetherston-Dilke’s vigorous defence of the NHS and her high praise for the treatment she was receiving.
She travelled extensively, usually with Joan Woodgate, her predecessor as Matron-in-Chief, with whom she took exhilarating helicopter and small-plane rides including around Mount Everest; well into their late eighties they visited places as diverse as Bhutan, China, Ethiopia, Greenland, Papua New Guinea, Russia and Uzbekistan.
Never married, Mary Fetherston-Dilke was a much-loved aunt, interested in her many nephews and nieces and their children, generous, and often offering wise counsel.
She was a loyal friend and always modest about her achievements, including as an accomplished seamstress (under the tutelage of a royal dressmaker) and an excellent cook. Later she became the family historian of Maxstoke and its occupants.

Mary Fetherston-Dilke, born September 21 1918, died August 23 2020

*RIP Old Ships...
From Telegraph Obituaries 5 October 2020 • 3:11pm

Brigadier Mark Noble, born March 25 1958, died July 22 2020

In 2009 he took command of the Royal Naval Air Station, Yeovilton, becoming the first Royal Marines officer to command a naval air station since 1917: there he continued to support the Fleet Air Arm’s commitment of the Commando Helicopter Force to Operation Herrick, while planning the introduction of the Wildcat helicopter to the fleet.



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From Telegraph Obituaries 5 October 2020 • 3:11pm

Brigadier Mark Noble, born March 25 1958, died July 22 2020

View attachment 54896
In 2009 he took command of the Royal Naval Air Station, Yeovilton, becoming the first Royal Marines officer to command a naval air station since 1917: there he continued to support the Fleet Air Arm’s commitment of the Commando Helicopter Force to Operation Herrick, while planning the introduction of the Wildcat helicopter to the fleet.

that makes one think, only a few months older than myself?


War Hero
I'm sad to advise the passing of Lt Cdr Julian (Jules) Rogers at the weekend. Julian was an outstanding musician who regularly played with the Neptune Volunteer Band and also a Scout Leader for many years in Helensburgh.
Julian's naval career began in 1986 and included appointments at Dolphin, Valiant, Opossum, Sceptre, CSST, Vengance, Spartan, FOST Faslane, HMNB Clyde, Bahrain and COMFASFLOT.
RIP Julian, Thoughts are with your family x
By Telegraph Obituaries 12 October 2020 • 3:29pm

Vice-Admiral Sir Geoffrey Dalton, born April 14 1931, died September 26 2020
Led daring rescue when a Greek ship sank in a storm, Later he became the first admiral to be president of the Royal British Legion since Lord Jellicoe in the 1920s
Vice-Admiral Sir Geoffrey Dalton, who has died aged 89, led a dramatic international rescue at sea, and as president of the Royal British Legion oversaw the reintroduction of the nationwide two-minute silence.

In the early hours of February 15 1979 off Cape St Vincent, on the south-west tip of Portugal, Dalton was in command of the frigate Jupiter on passage from Devonport to Gibraltar through heavy weather when he heard a distress call from the Greek cargo ship Iris.

Several days of gale-force winds from the south-west had veered to the north-west, raising a heavy, jumbled sea: Iris was shedding her cargo as she broke up, and was sinking. She could transmit Mayday calls, but was unable to receive radio messages and was unsure of her position.

In the dark and confusion, Dalton took charge of several British, French, German, Liberian and Russian merchant ships who made contradictory reports, and Jupiter reversed course several times, rolling violently.

At dawn Dalton heard from the Russian Rusa that she had sighted Iris, whose weather deck was almost submerged, but it was too rough to launch lifeboats, and a few minutes later he heard that Iris was on her beam ends and her crew in the water.

Line squalls with heavy rain and gusts of wind up to 45 knots blew through, but the gale moderated to Force 8 as scrambling nets, throwing lines and swimmers were prepared. Dalton manoeuvred Jupiter into a patch of flotsam, but could not hold her head to sea (with her bows into her wind) because as she slowed the bows paid off from the wind and she rolled through 90 degrees.

Nevertheless, two survivors were rescued when they climbed a scrambling net unaided, but as others held on grimly, they were submerged with each roll. One man was swept under Jupiter and rescued on the other side, while Jupiter’s sailors climbed down the nets to heave others upwards.

Meanwhile, a relay of swimmers, who had to wait until there was clear space between floating wreckage, jumped into the water with strops (short pieces of rope) to rescue men too weak to swim to the ship’s side. For three hours Dalton manoeuvred his ship in conditions which demanded constant and highly professional seamanship to ensure the safety of his own people in the water and on deck, and to avoid endangering the survivors.

By 11:45 only one man was unaccounted for, the chief engineer of Iris who had been seen going below before she capsized. Jupiter had recovered 10 survivors and seven dead; six more were in the German Kehdingerland and four in Rusa, ships who had done well, reported Dalton, despite their lack of manoeuvrability.

In the afternoon the weather moderated, and Dalton was able to launch his helicopter to collect a doctor and urgently needed drugs from the newly arrived destroyer Hampshire. Making a best speed of 22 knots, Jupiter berthed in Gibraltar at 04:00 on February 16.

On Dalton’s recommendation, swimmer-of-the-watch Able Seaman Terry Loftus, who had made seven jumps into the perilous seas, was awarded the George Medal, three other Jupiters were awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal, and two more the Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct for their skill, selfless dedication, courage and endurance in the greatest traditions of the service.

Dalton himself was awarded a commander-in-chief’s commendation.

Geoffrey Thomas James Oliver Dalton was born on April 14 1931 in Kuala Lumpur, where his father was a rubber planter in Selangor. He was educated at Wick and Parkfield prep, and Reigate Grammar School, and joined the Navy as a special-entry engineer cadet in 1949. Having passed out top of his entry he was allowed to transfer to the seaman branch.

After the training cruiser Devonshire, he served as a midshipman in the carrier Illustrious in 1950. Highlights of Dalton’s early career included: the search by the frigate Loch Alvie for the missing submarine Affray which had been run down in the Channel in 1951; operations off Korea at the end of the war there; and patrols, in the destroyer Cockade, in the Formosa Straits to prevent Chinese Nationalist gunboats from interfering with merchant ships trading into the Chinese mainland; as a lieutenant in command of the minesweeper Maryton patrolling off Cyprus to prevent gun-running by EOKA terrorists; and as first lieutenant of the frigate Murray, on fishery protection off Iceland, where he made his initial acquaintance with bad weather.

As a lieutenant-commander and first lieutenant of the frigate Dido, Dalton’s operational experience was expanded during the opening stages of Konfrontasi, the irregular war with Indonesia, and attempts by guerrillas to cross the Malacca Strait.

Dalton enjoyed three frigate commands: Relentless in 1966-67, when he enforced the blockade of Beria, the naval operation to enforce an oil embargo on Ian Smith’s Southern Rhodesia after UDI; Nubian in the Persian Gulf in 1969-71; and Jupiter in 1977-79. When Jupiter was delayed in refit in Devonport and Dalton exerted himself to get her out of the dockyard’s hands, a wag on-board spread the rumour that his initials (GTJO) stood for “Get The Jupiter Out!”

Dalton was a student on the staff course at Greenwich in 1962, and at the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1975. Two prominent and unusual shore appointments were his too: commanding officer of the School of Physical Training and Sport, and Captain, Royal Naval Presentation Team, when he spoke to invited audiences in towns and cities, universities and industry about the importance of defence and the role of the Royal Navy.

However, it was his appointment as assistant director of naval plans, working on the future size and shape of the fleet, which prepared him for becoming Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Policy) in 1981. This appointment was remarkable too: he spent his early months implementing the planned reductions to the Navy mandated by the Nott Defence Review, and the later months reinstating many of those cuts after the “lessons learned” from the Falklands War.

His last appointment was as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic, in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1984-87; he was knighted KCB in 1986.

On leaving the Navy, Dalton decided that he had more to offer in the world of charities than business, and he succeeded Brian Rix as secretary-general of Mencap. Other charities in which he was active included the Regular Forces Employment Bureau, the Ex-Service Fellowship, and Combat Stress.

In 1993 he became the first admiral to be president of the Royal British Legion since Lord Jellicoe in the 1920s: he recalled his four years in office, covering the 50th anniversary of D-Day and the reintroduction of the two minutes’ silence on Armistice Day, as “truly inspiring”.

Many generations of Dalton’s family had been members of the Drapers’ Company, one of the 12 great livery companies in the city of London, including two former masters, and Dalton became master in 1996. A final rare appointment became his when he was made honorary colonel of the 71st (Yeomanry) Signals Regiment.

Despite his wide operational experience and senior rank, Dalton remained diffident and unflamboyant, therefore it was a surprise when in his 80s he took to wearing a full suit of black leathers and arriving at the Rowlands Castle Tennis club (where he was president) astride a 1,000cc Triumph motorcycle.

He married, in 1957, Jane Baynes, a WRNS officer who he met when he was flag-lieutenant to the Commander-in-Chief Nore. She survives him with their four sons.


War Hero
Courtesy of the DT

Vice-Admiral Sir John Webster, frigate captain, naval tactician and artist – obituary​

Helped the Navy respond to the Argentine invasion of the Falklands and his landscape and marine paintings were exhibited by London galleries

ByTelegraph Obituaries21 October 2020 • 12:00pm

Vice-Admiral John Webster

Vice-Admiral John Webster
Vice-Admiral Sir John Webster, who has died aged 87, was a successful frigate captain and naval tactician who combined his naval career with many fine landscape and marine paintings.
He joined the Royal Navy in 1951, and, after specialising in the art of navigation, was lent to the Royal Australian Navy for two years. On return to Britain he served in the frigate Lowestoft, on the staff at Dartmouth, in the frigate Dido, and on the staff of the Navy’s Tactical School at Woolwich, before commanding the frigate Argonaut.
After an outstanding performance as staff officer warfare in the MoD, Webster was promoted early to captain in 1973 and studied at the Canadian National Defence College before becoming Royal Navy Liaison Officer in Ottawa. Next, from 1977 to 1980 he commanded both the frigate Cleopatra and 4th Frigate Squadron, before appointment as the Director of Naval Warfare in the MoD

Oil painting by Webster of The Silver Jubilee Fleet Review, 1977: The QE2 passing through the fleet, with the frigate Cleopatra in the foreground

Oil painting by Webster of The Silver Jubilee Fleet Review, 1977: The QE2 passing through the fleet, with the frigate Cleopatra in the foreground
It was the time of the Nott defence review, with its swingeing cuts to the Navy. Webster did not allow these to distract him from his task of delivering weapons and tactical capability to the fleet, despite reduced resources, and contributed significantly to the Navy’s ability to respond to the Argentine invasion of the Falklands in 1982.
Promoted to rear-admiral, as Flag Officer Sea Training he dealt equably with the heavy demand on himself and his staff to turn the “lessons-learnt” from the Falklands War into training and tactical doctrine, and showed himself a good, fair judge of the character of the captains and officers and their ships.
As chief of staff to the Commander-in-Chief Fleet in 1984-85, his clear-sighted vision and grasp of management enabled his chief, Admiral Sir William Staveley, to concentrate on his duties as a major Nato commander.
Webster was promoted again while at Northwood and knighted KCB in 1986. He became Flag Officer, Plymouth, where he handled the civilian and uniformed naval management and his representational duties with aplomb.
John Morrison Webster was born in Ceylon on November 3 1932, the son of an architect, and educated at Pangbourne College.

Though he had no formal art training, Webster painted and drew throughout his life. His work was first appreciated when, while serving as midshipman in the battleship Vanguard, his illustrations in the midshipman’s journal which every young officer used to be required to keep, were seen by the future Vice-Admiral Sir “Roddy” Macdonald, also an accomplished artist. Macdonald encouraged Webster, and in 1953 two of his paintings were accepted by the Royal Society of Marine Artists for exhibition. Nearly 50 years later, in 2001, he was made a full member of the society.
Meanwhile, while serving in Canada in 1976 Webster held a one-man exhibition at the Provincial Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. His work was inspired by his travels and he worked outdoors whenever possible, only taking larger scale works back to his studio.

After leaving the Navy, he became a full-time painter, and, over the next quarter of a century, held 13 one-man exhibitions in London as well as in Winchester and Jersey. He said that he painted subjects which had enriched his life and that his motivation came from the joy of painting. His work included landscapes from Czechoslovakia, France, Morocco, Spain, Sri Lanka and Venice as well as from across Britain.
Geoff Hunt, president of the RSMA said of Webster, “His paintings all look deceptively simple, fresh and uncontrived, but great skill and long experience lie behind these delightful effects.”Webster was a life member of the Armed Forces Art Society (chairman, 1990-96) and on the board of the Royal Society of British Artists (2002-08). He was particularly pleased to have exhibited with the New English Art Club, founded by a group of artists dissatisfied with the Royal Academy.

In retirement Webster was a governor of Canford School and of Pangbourne College (chairman from 1992). He was president of the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust (1991-98), and a Younger Brother of Trinity House from 1970.
Serious-minded and well-read, Webster had a commanding presence but he remained a private person.
In 1962 he married “Val” Villiers, daughter of Vice-Admiral Sir Michael Villiers, and later dedicated his 1999 exhibition at Tryon & Swann gallery in St James’s to “Val, long-suffering, encouraging and supportive as always”. She and a son predeceased him, and he is survived by two daughters.
Vice-Admiral Sir John Webster, born November 3 1932, died October 5 2020


He was FOST when we went through shakedown before our work-up in 1984, and to be honest I don't know about his own staff but the officers on our ship were shit-scared of him, or rather his reputation, which was pretty fearsome. From memory he only came onboard once, joining us at sea by helo (flown by HRH) for a serial and then stood at the back of the bridge (putting the entire bridge-team, except our skipper Toby Frere, on our nerve-ends) when we entered harbour as OTC in company with 2 other ships later that evening. I don't think we saw him again after that, which we took as a good sign.
Interesting that on the HMS Argonaut F56 page on Wikipedia, which lists all the COs, he's the only one that's missing (1971-1973). Strange....
By Telegraph Obituaries 28 October 2020 • 4:49pm

Vice-Admiral Sir James Jungius, who has died aged 96, took part in a daring raid behind enemy lines and later became Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic.

Vice-Admiral Sir James Jungius, who took part in an audacious raid on the Adriatic coast. He led a landing craft in Operation Devon, during which the German commander was captured in his pyjamas and a valuable harbour was won. Shortly before midnight on October 2 1943, east of Termoli on Italy’s Adriatic coast, the 20-year-old Jungius was in command of one of several Landing Craft (Assault), or LCAs, of the 59th Flotilla, under tow of a larger Landing Craft (Infantry), or LCI, when the towing ship grounded on an uncharted sandbank. Just then, a squall with strong winds and driving rain blotted out visibility.

Casting off the LCAs so as not to foul the towing hawsers, the LCI ran on blind towards the intended release point, the night so dark that no land could be seen and the accompanying LCAs only dimly glimpsed. At the release point Jungius and six other LCAs each embarked 30 men of 3 Commando, before running in the last 1¾ miles to the beaches. Jungius’s LCA hit the beach at 0214, one minute before H-hour, and his passengers stepped ashore dry-shod.

Operation Devon, the code word given to the amphibious landing by British commandos at Termoli, 30 miles behind the German lines, was an outstanding success. The German defences were pointed landwards and southwards, and the commandos reached the centre of the town before the Germans were alerted, capturing their commander in his pyjamas.

German vehicles and motorcyclists were still driving unknowingly into commando ambushes at midday. Over the next two days, while the 16th Panzer Division launched vicious counter-attacks, the LCAs ferried reinforcements and stores ashore and took off prisoners of war. Despite repeated shelling and air attacks, the LCAs’ shallow draft saved them from all but direct hits by bombs.

By the time the advancing British Eighth Army arrived on October 6, the commandos had won a valuable harbour in what the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean called an outstanding operation: it turned the hinge-pin of the enemy line, was boldly conceived and executed, and was an excellent example of the effective deployment of sea forces.

The report of proceedings referred to the splendid work of the highest order, and the cheerfulness and devotion to duty of the LCA crews; Jungius was Mentioned in Despatches.

James George Jungius was born at Barnes in London on November 15 1923. He was educated at Dulwich Prep and learned to love the sea on holidays at Polperro and from reading The Wonder Book of the Navy.

He entered the Navy in 1937 and benefited from the Admiralty’s belief in its own immortality: despite the outbreak of war, training for young career officers continued at a leisurely pace, and Jungius was given appointments at sea as a midshipman in the battleship Rodney, the cruiser London, and the destroyer Arrow. He saw action on Arctic convoys, spent Christmas under air attack in Malta, and hunted German surface raiders and blockade-runners in the Atlantic.

On June 21 1941 Jungius was about to be ducked by King Neptune’s bears in the traditional crossing-the-line ceremony when London found the German supply ship Babitonga, who scuttled herself; her crew were surprised to be picked up by men in fancy dress – grass skirts and painted faces.

Jungius returned to Britain for his sub-lieutenant’s course before being appointed to the 59th Flotilla LCA, and he completed his war in the destroyer Lauderdale. In 1945 Jungius became second-in-command of the captured German Elbing-class destroyer T28, with a mixed crew of British officers and German PoWs conducting trials in the Solent. He carried out his duties efficiently in the somewhat trying and unusual circumstances, and showed tact in dealing with the German personnel.

Jungius specialised in navigation, and in 1946 became navigator of the brand-new sloop Sparrow on a two-year deployment based on Bermuda. After carnival in Trinidad, a 900-mile passage up the Amazon to Manaus, and the relief of Castries, St Lucia, after a disastrous fire, Sparrow visited Georgetown in British Guiana. There he met the 20-year old Rosemary “Bullet” Matthey, and on the sixth day of the visit he proposed and she accepted.

Over the next few years, Jungius’s reports reflected that he was an outstandingly good navigator and a first-class ship handler. An unusual name and a court-martial are regarded as ways of getting ahead in the Navy, and Jungius was duly court-martialled in 1953 for smuggling cigarettes: the conviction was quashed (intent had not been proved), and, after commanding the anti-submarine frigate Wizard during the Suez Crisis, he was promoted early to captain in 1963.

After two years in command of the frigate Lynx, the last ship on the old South Atlantic and South America station, Jungius was appointed assistant naval attaché in Washington, where he showed himself to be an outstanding officer who, with his wife, made a memorable contribution to the special relationship between the US Navy and the Royal Navy.

1603979854524.pngHaving commanded an LCA 30 years before, there was satisfaction that in 1971 he was appointed to the commando-carrier Albion, which carried her own landing craft and commando helicopters. Jungius was remembered as a born leader of a happy ship whose people liked and respected him, while Albion embarked a succession of air squadrons and commando units for exercises from the Arctic to the Mediterranean and the Far East.

From 1972 to 1974 as a rear-admiral, Jungius was Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Operational Requirements), and on promotion to vice-admiral he was appointed Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (1975-77) based in Norfolk, Virginia. Jungius struck up a good working relationship with his American boss, Admiral Isaac C Kidd Jr, believing strongly that the special relationship was important to both countries.

Jungius was knighted in 1977 and served as the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic’s Representative in Europe from 1978 to 1980.

In retirement, he bought a smallholding in Cornwall where he raised beef for several years, and was deputy lieutenant of Cornwall.

Jungius was dry, but was known for the wonderful smile which lit up his face, even after he had delivered a well-deserved reprimand to a junior officer. He was genuinely interested in others, regardless of their station in life, whether stoker or dignitary, grandchild or farming friend. Everyone enjoyed his company, and he wore his success in life lightly.

He married Rosemary Matthey in 1949; she died in 2005. He is survived by two sons; another son predeceased him.

Vice-Admiral Sir James Jungius, born November 15 1923, died October 14 2020

RIP, Sir,


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