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Naval Related Obituaries

Courtesy of the DT - knew him from FOST (2nd Frigate Squadron)

Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Gerken, naval officer who commanded Andromeda at tense moments in Cyprus and the Third Cod War – obituary​

Gerken and frigate Andromeda displayed outstanding initiative and professional competence and later he was appointed Flag Officer, Plymouth

ByTelegraph Obituaries12 January 2023 • 11:53am

Vice Admiral Sir Bob Gerken

Vice Admiral Sir Bob Gerken
Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Gerken, who has died aged 90, commanded the frigate Andromeda during two incident-filled two years; later he devoted more than a quarter of century of his life to West Country affairs.
When Gerken was appointed to Andromeda and joined her in Malta, he was expecting a quiet voyage home in order to familiarise himself with his new command before a period of maintenance in Devonport. Instead, he found himself covering Operation Mercy, the Cyprus emergency in July 1974, and the Third Cod War.
Turkey invaded Cyprus after a coup, organised by the military junta in Athens, ended the delicate equilibrium between Greek and Turkish Cypriots kept by UN peacekeepers. Then on July 21 1974, in a blue-on-blue incident, Turkish aircraft sank the Turkish destroyer Kocatepe.
Twenty-five men were killed and about 205 survivors in life rafts were being swept away in freshening winds, and it was many hours before the tragedy was realised and Turkish authorities asked for help.


Gerken hurried to the scene to take command of a search by a second Turkish frigate, Berk, helicopters from the carrier Hermes, RAF launches and a circling Nimrod. Andromeda pulled many men, some injured or suffering from exposure, from the sea, and Gerken organised for these, with others rescued by Berk, to be transferred to the RAF hospital at Akrotiri.
However, Air Marshal John Aiken, in command ashore, thought that they would be at risk from Greek reprisals, and ordered their removal to the tanker Olna.
Once at sea again, the weather was too rough for boat transfers, so Gerken took Andromeda, Berk and Olna into a lee and, overnight, his flight commander, Lieutenant Ian McKechnie, flying the ship’s tiny Wasp helicopter, completed 55 deck landings, ferrying Kocatepe’s survivors including four stretcher cases in 4½ hours of near-constant flying from Olna to Berk’s heaving flightdeck.
Rescuing survivors from the Turkish warship Kocatepe in 1974

Rescuing survivors from the Turkish warship Kocatepe in 1974
Gerken and his Andromeda were judged to have displayed outstanding initiative and professional competence and, before parting company, Berk expressed the Turks’ deep appreciation. Later, McKenchie was awarded the Turkish Distinguished Service Medal, only the 75th to have been awarded and the first ever bestowed on a foreigner.
During a ceasefire, Gerken resumed an operation to evacuate foreign nationals by boat from the port of Kyrenia. Under the guns of the warring parties, Gerken distinguished his landing party from the warring Greeks and Turks by dressing his sailors in their white uniforms, and led them ashore carrying only a silver-knobbed ebony cane instead of a sidearm.
Soon some 200 refugees were crammed into Andromeda: all were made to feel at home including a member of the French embassy, his wife and three-day old baby who were given Gerken’s cabin, and an American woman who simply telegrammed home “Thank God for the British Navy”.
Gerken was awarded the CBE, which he referred to as the Cyprus Beaches Expert medal, and which later earned him free fish and chips when he was recognised in a Cypriot “chippie” on the Fulham Road.
Andromeda spent Christmas 1975 and New Year fighting the so-called Third Cod War, a fishing dispute with Iceland. On December 28 and again on January 7 1976, she was rammed by the gunboats Tyr and Thor: only Gerken’s superior seamanship and quick manoeuvring saved all three ships from major damage and loss of life.
Andromeda rammed by the Icelandic gunboat Tyr

Andromeda rammed by the Icelandic gunboat Tyr
Robert William Frank Gerken was born in London where his father was a trader on the Baltic Exchange, and was educated at Chigwell School, where he later became a governor.
He won the King’s Sword for best cadet in 1951, presented on board the training cruiser Devonshire. Other early ships included the frigate Leopard, the carrier Ocean during the Korean War, and the cruiser Superb. By 1961 Gerken was second in command of the destroyer Cassandra when he met his first wife, a Foreign Office secretary.
In 1968-69 he commanded the newly modernised frigate Yarmouth which he brought out of dockyard hands for service in the Western Fleet.
Gerken’s energy, leadership and optimism were recognised by his next appointments. He was Commander Sea Training (1970-71) when he assessed and advised new commanding officers. He was captain of the new entry training establishment HMS Raleigh in Cornwall (1976–77), when he prepared for Wrens’ training to move there, and Captain of the Fleet (1978–81) responsible for personnel matters in the fleet.
Promoted to flag rank, Gerken was Flag Officer Second Flotilla (1981–83), Director General Naval Manpower and Training (1983–85), and Flag Officer Plymouth (1985–87). He was knighted KCB in 1986.
On leaving the Navy, the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir William Staveley, wrote that “you will long be remembered for the leadership, immense skill and depth of wisdom you brought to your many and varied appointments”.
Gerken and his second wife made many friends in the West Country, leading them to settle there and to devote the rest of their lives to regional causes. He served as a Deputy Lieutenant of Devon.
Cadet Gerken receives the King's Sword

Cadet Gerken receives the King's Sword
Gerken was president or chairman of SSAFA and the Royal British Legion, never failing to attend events and always first on the dance floor. He was a much-loved chairman of the Plymouth RNLI (1988–2007) and president until 2014. In the late 1980s he led a fundraising campaign which raised over £1m for a new offshore lifeboat, City of Plymouth, and, after a bequest by the marine artist Sybil Mullen Glover paid for a new boat in 2003, he successfully petitioned for the Queen to name her.
Gerken lived opposite the lifeboat station where he was a regular visitor on his way home from collecting his morning newspaper.
He was a long-time member and commodore (1993-97) of the Royal Western Yacht Club of England where he lunched weekly with the Old Wednesday Lunch club or Owls, and cruised the southwest coast in his own boat, Pickle. Once he raced from San Sebastian to Plymouth against King Juan Carlos I of Spain, in a crew of admirals – unplaced because the boat was overladen with cases of wine.
From 1987 to 2013 he chaired the China Fleet Club which repatriated assets from Hong Kong to build a country club for ratings and their families at Saltash in Cornwall, when, in the early years, his characteristic patience and cheerfulness were tested by the bankruptcy of the architects and a cash deficit.
Then from 1993 to 1996 he took on the chairmanship of the Plymouth Development Corporation, a thankless task as the MoD, which was cutting back in Plymouth, sold land and created a glut of historic property, some dating from Georgian times. Thanks to his perseverance, however, the PDC’s flagship project, a mixture of hotels, restaurants, housing and art studios at the old Royal William Yard, at last succeeded.
Gerken was a generous host and always good company: as a guest, his eyes lit up if he discovered his host knew how to make a proper pink gin – with Angostura bitters and, of course, Plymouth gin.
He married Christine Stephenson in 1966: she died in 1981, and in 1983 he married Annie Fermor (née Blythe) who survives him with two daughters of the first marriage.
Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Gerken, born June 11 1932, died December 20 2022
 
Courtesy of the DT - knew him from FOST (2nd Frigate Squadron)

Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Gerken, naval officer who commanded Andromeda at tense moments in Cyprus and the Third Cod War – obituary​

Gerken and frigate Andromeda displayed outstanding initiative and professional competence and later he was appointed Flag Officer, Plymouth

ByTelegraph Obituaries12 January 2023 • 11:53am

Vice Admiral Sir Bob Gerken

Vice Admiral Sir Bob Gerken
Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Gerken, who has died aged 90, commanded the frigate Andromeda during two incident-filled two years; later he devoted more than a quarter of century of his life to West Country affairs.
When Gerken was appointed to Andromeda and joined her in Malta, he was expecting a quiet voyage home in order to familiarise himself with his new command before a period of maintenance in Devonport. Instead, he found himself covering Operation Mercy, the Cyprus emergency in July 1974, and the Third Cod War.
Turkey invaded Cyprus after a coup, organised by the military junta in Athens, ended the delicate equilibrium between Greek and Turkish Cypriots kept by UN peacekeepers. Then on July 21 1974, in a blue-on-blue incident, Turkish aircraft sank the Turkish destroyer Kocatepe.
Twenty-five men were killed and about 205 survivors in life rafts were being swept away in freshening winds, and it was many hours before the tragedy was realised and Turkish authorities asked for help.


Gerken hurried to the scene to take command of a search by a second Turkish frigate, Berk, helicopters from the carrier Hermes, RAF launches and a circling Nimrod. Andromeda pulled many men, some injured or suffering from exposure, from the sea, and Gerken organised for these, with others rescued by Berk, to be transferred to the RAF hospital at Akrotiri.
However, Air Marshal John Aiken, in command ashore, thought that they would be at risk from Greek reprisals, and ordered their removal to the tanker Olna.
Once at sea again, the weather was too rough for boat transfers, so Gerken took Andromeda, Berk and Olna into a lee and, overnight, his flight commander, Lieutenant Ian McKechnie, flying the ship’s tiny Wasp helicopter, completed 55 deck landings, ferrying Kocatepe’s survivors including four stretcher cases in 4½ hours of near-constant flying from Olna to Berk’s heaving flightdeck.
Rescuing survivors from the Turkish warship Kocatepe in 1974

Rescuing survivors from the Turkish warship Kocatepe in 1974
Gerken and his Andromeda were judged to have displayed outstanding initiative and professional competence and, before parting company, Berk expressed the Turks’ deep appreciation. Later, McKenchie was awarded the Turkish Distinguished Service Medal, only the 75th to have been awarded and the first ever bestowed on a foreigner.
During a ceasefire, Gerken resumed an operation to evacuate foreign nationals by boat from the port of Kyrenia. Under the guns of the warring parties, Gerken distinguished his landing party from the warring Greeks and Turks by dressing his sailors in their white uniforms, and led them ashore carrying only a silver-knobbed ebony cane instead of a sidearm.
Soon some 200 refugees were crammed into Andromeda: all were made to feel at home including a member of the French embassy, his wife and three-day old baby who were given Gerken’s cabin, and an American woman who simply telegrammed home “Thank God for the British Navy”.
Gerken was awarded the CBE, which he referred to as the Cyprus Beaches Expert medal, and which later earned him free fish and chips when he was recognised in a Cypriot “chippie” on the Fulham Road.
Andromeda spent Christmas 1975 and New Year fighting the so-called Third Cod War, a fishing dispute with Iceland. On December 28 and again on January 7 1976, she was rammed by the gunboats Tyr and Thor: only Gerken’s superior seamanship and quick manoeuvring saved all three ships from major damage and loss of life.
Andromeda rammed by the Icelandic gunboat Tyr

Andromeda rammed by the Icelandic gunboat Tyr
Robert William Frank Gerken was born in London where his father was a trader on the Baltic Exchange, and was educated at Chigwell School, where he later became a governor.
He won the King’s Sword for best cadet in 1951, presented on board the training cruiser Devonshire. Other early ships included the frigate Leopard, the carrier Ocean during the Korean War, and the cruiser Superb. By 1961 Gerken was second in command of the destroyer Cassandra when he met his first wife, a Foreign Office secretary.
In 1968-69 he commanded the newly modernised frigate Yarmouth which he brought out of dockyard hands for service in the Western Fleet.
Gerken’s energy, leadership and optimism were recognised by his next appointments. He was Commander Sea Training (1970-71) when he assessed and advised new commanding officers. He was captain of the new entry training establishment HMS Raleigh in Cornwall (1976–77), when he prepared for Wrens’ training to move there, and Captain of the Fleet (1978–81) responsible for personnel matters in the fleet.
Promoted to flag rank, Gerken was Flag Officer Second Flotilla (1981–83), Director General Naval Manpower and Training (1983–85), and Flag Officer Plymouth (1985–87). He was knighted KCB in 1986.
On leaving the Navy, the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir William Staveley, wrote that “you will long be remembered for the leadership, immense skill and depth of wisdom you brought to your many and varied appointments”.
Gerken and his second wife made many friends in the West Country, leading them to settle there and to devote the rest of their lives to regional causes. He served as a Deputy Lieutenant of Devon.
Cadet Gerken receives the King's Sword's Sword

Cadet Gerken receives the King's Sword
Gerken was president or chairman of SSAFA and the Royal British Legion, never failing to attend events and always first on the dance floor. He was a much-loved chairman of the Plymouth RNLI (1988–2007) and president until 2014. In the late 1980s he led a fundraising campaign which raised over £1m for a new offshore lifeboat, City of Plymouth, and, after a bequest by the marine artist Sybil Mullen Glover paid for a new boat in 2003, he successfully petitioned for the Queen to name her.
Gerken lived opposite the lifeboat station where he was a regular visitor on his way home from collecting his morning newspaper.
He was a long-time member and commodore (1993-97) of the Royal Western Yacht Club of England where he lunched weekly with the Old Wednesday Lunch club or Owls, and cruised the southwest coast in his own boat, Pickle. Once he raced from San Sebastian to Plymouth against King Juan Carlos I of Spain, in a crew of admirals – unplaced because the boat was overladen with cases of wine.
From 1987 to 2013 he chaired the China Fleet Club which repatriated assets from Hong Kong to build a country club for ratings and their families at Saltash in Cornwall, when, in the early years, his characteristic patience and cheerfulness were tested by the bankruptcy of the architects and a cash deficit.
Then from 1993 to 1996 he took on the chairmanship of the Plymouth Development Corporation, a thankless task as the MoD, which was cutting back in Plymouth, sold land and created a glut of historic property, some dating from Georgian times. Thanks to his perseverance, however, the PDC’s flagship project, a mixture of hotels, restaurants, housing and art studios at the old Royal William Yard, at last succeeded.
Gerken was a generous host and always good company: as a guest, his eyes lit up if he discovered his host knew how to make a proper pink gin – with Angostura bitters and, of course, Plymouth gin.
He married Christine Stephenson in 1966: she died in 1981, and in 1983 he married Annie Fermor (née Blythe) who survives him with two daughters of the first marriage.
Vice-Admiral Sir Robert Gerken, born June 11 1932, died December 20 2022

"Once he raced from San Sebastian to Plymouth against King Juan Carlos I of Spain, in a crew of admirals – unplaced because the boat was overladen with cases of wine."

Classic Jack.
 
The Daily Telegraph website carries an obituary of Rear Admiral Phillip Wilcocks, but it's paywalled.

I found this, however, in the Hereford Times, which gives the basic information.

Death Notice
Rear Admiral Philip Wilcocks
Published on 12/04/2023

Rear Admiral Philip Wilcocks, CB, DSC, DL, RN Sadly passed away at home on Easter Sunday, 9th April 2023 aged 69 years. Beloved Husband of Kym. Loving Father of Andrew and David, and their partners Katharine and Helen. Devoted Papa to Finlay and Oliver. Philip's funeral service will be held at Dore Abbey on Saturday 22nd April 2023, at 1:00pm. Family flowers only. Donations, if desired, given in Philip's memory will be for Brain Trust and Dore Abbey which may be sent c/o Cherished Funerals, Independent Family Funeral Directors, Longtown, Hereford, HR2 0LX. Contact Kate Gladwyn 01873 860675
 
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Captain Steve Taylor, who has died aged 81, was no stranger to collisions and groundings, but found the Admiralty to be a forgiving employer which recognised his huge talent.
In 1988 he was commanding the destroyer Southampton on the Armilla Patrol, the Navy’s standing presence in the Persian Gulf, which escorted ships through the Straits of Hormuz. The 5,000-tonne Southampton had been three weeks on patrol when, on the evening of September 3, she was run down by P&O’s 35,000-tonne container ship MV Tor Bay.
Taylor was in his cabin discussing the night’s operations with his first lieutenant when he sensed danger and rushed to the bridge, arriving to find Southampton’s bridge roof crushed and the flare of Tor Bay’s bows towering over him. A triangle in the shape of Tor Bay’s bow was cut into Southampton, and under water her bulbous bow tore a 33 ft gash in Southampton’s side; the two ships remained locked together for several minutes.
During the succeeding night, a board of inquiry found, there were many acts of dedication and great professional skill which saved Southampton. Astonishingly, her people escaped with only slight injuries.
Over the next hours and days, Tony Radakin, then a young midshipman on vacation from reading law at Southampton University and now Chief of the Defence Staff, learnt many sound lessons from Taylor – about leadership, management in crisis and damage control. “Taylor was a picture of calmness and clarity,” Radakin recalled. “We were all shocked watching footage a few days later of the Sea Dart missile compartment and the physical damage to many of the missiles, and very aware of how lucky we had been.”
HMS Southampton on her way back to the UK

HMS Southampton on her way back to the UK
Southampton returned to the UK aboard a semi-submersible heavy lift ship, her repairs costing some £45m. The board of inquiry held that Taylor had “placed unjustifiable trust in his officer of the watch and failed to acquire the information necessary to ensure his ship’s safety” and that this amounted to negligence. He was tried by court martial and found guilty, but given another command, Southampton’s sister ship Exeter.
Stephen Taylor was born in Sheffield on January 7 1942 and educated at Pangbourne before joining Dartmouth aged 18; he passed out top of his entry and was awarded the Queen’s sword.


His first ship was the minesweeper Dartington based in Kuching, Sarawak, where within a few hours of joining Midshipman Taylor he found himself in command of a klotok (a large riverine canoe) with 20 Gurkha soldiers, chasing rebels in the rivers of Borneo. Next, he was navigating officer in the fast patrol boat Brave Borderer when she ran aground on a sandbank in the Danish archipelago during a NATO exercise. She was refloated without damage, and the naval attaché in Copenhagen, who saw a photograph of the grounded vessel in the local newspapers, was good enough not to report it.
In 1967-68 he was flag lieutenant to the Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Sir Michael le Fanu, who would describe Taylor as “an outstanding officer, resolute, cheerful and always on the ball”. In 1971, Taylor proved to be a vigorous commander of the minesweeper Belton on fishery protection duties, based in Port Edgar. In his first year in the six-ship squadron, he made seven of the squadron’s 40 arrests, and, almost as difficult, their successful prosecutions in court.
Confiscating illegal French longlines which had caught a family of porbeagles

Confiscating illegal French longlines which had caught a family of porbeagles
During one arrest, a French trawlerman refused to heave to, despite orders to so do by radio, warning shots and, from close alongside, by loudhailer. Rude hand signals were the only response waved out of the bridge window, until one of Taylor’s stokers, coming on deck for a breath of fresh air, took objection to the insult to his captain and threw a potato which by chance flew through the window.
The skipper promptly appeared on deck with his hands up: it is thought to be the only time a British man o’war has used a King Edward potato in such a capacity.
Then on Trafalgar Day 1971, Belton battered her way through heavy seas to rescue Susan Fogden, an Oxford scientist marooned for nine days on the Monach Islands in the Outer Hebrides while conducting a survey of seals. She was low on food but in good health – until she was rescued, when Belton’s violent motion in the rough seas made her “terribly seasick”.
Taylor anchored in Lochmaddy, North Uist to toast belatedly the Immortal Memory in the army mess at Benbecula, but when told in the early hours that Belton had dragged her anchor, he decided to weigh anchor and leave. However, Belton ran aground on 75-knot winds and was badly damaged.
Though found guilty at court martial and reprimanded, Taylor and his ship’s company were sent to Gibraltar to bring Chawton out of mothballs, and to rejoin the Fishery Protection Squadron. Taylor’s time in Chawton included a 60-mile chase up-Channel after a French trawler, and his arrest of the Soviet spy-trawler Yubileiny: both followed by successful outcomes in court.
HMS Belton aground in the Hebrides Oct 1971

HMS Belton aground in the Hebrides Oct 1971
Promoted to commander in 1978, during the Falklands War Taylor was on the staff at Northwood: “I would have loved to have been there, but the next best place was at the fleet headquarters where we were part of the fighting machine.” His role as Fleet Missile and Gunnery Officer included developing the tactics and equipment to defeat the Argentinians. During the trial of a missile jammer, he flew in a helicopter which simulated a target. He briefed Prime Minister Thatcher after the destroyer Glamorgan was hit by a shore-based Exocet, and later oversaw the purchase of Phalanx guns from the US Navy.
His 1984-85 command of the destroyer Manchester was enlivened by a Soviet spy ship, which, despite warnings in the international code of signals, zigzagged across his course while he was underway and replenishing ammunition from the fleet auxiliary Resource during a Nato exercise. Taylor held his nerve and is said to have “shaken his fist in anger” when the Russian got too close. He also claimed an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the furthest-travelled barrel of beer, carrying a barrel of Ballards brewery’s winter ale from his home village, Rogate, West Sussex, to drink in Port Stanley on Christmas Day 1984.
Steve Taylor as Commodore Naval Ship Acceptance

Steve Taylor as Commodore Naval Ship Acceptance
In 1990-91 Taylor ran the Maritime Tactical School, where in the run up to the first Gulf War he war-gamed scenarios, liaised with the US Navy and wrote a concept of operations for naval operations in the Gulf. His final appointment was as Commodore Naval Ship Acceptance, responsible for seeing that shipbuilders delivers new ships according to contract.
Retiring from the Navy aged 52, for the next 25 years he was consultant to companies involved in maritime security and safety, before setting up the maritime division of the Defence Manufacturers Association and becoming naval advisor to Defence and Security Equipment International.
He joined the technical board of the Nautical Institute, was chairman of Lloyd’s Register’s Naval Ship Rules (NSR), president of The Anchorites (a dining club for the promotion of good fellowship among those interested in maritime affairs) and senior member of the court of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners.
To all these organisations, and especially the Wellington Trust – which looks after the 1935 Grimsby class sloop HQS Wellington, home until this year of the Master Mariners – he brought his contagious enthusiasm and his special brand of flamboyance and élan.
Taylor married Diana Wright in 1968, and she survives with their two daughters and a son.
Captain Steve Taylor, born January 7 1942, died May 21 2023
 
From the DT..

Captain John Kelly
Naval helicopter pilot who was second in command of HMS Fearless in the Falklands War
CAPTAIN JOHN KELLY, who has died aged 85, was a distinguished naval helicopter pilot and second in command of the landing ship HMS Fearless during the Falklands War.
After three months at sea and on exercises off Norway, Fearless had returned to Portsmouth in March 1982 for much-needed maintenance and to give Easter leave. Kelly, as 2 i/c, had stayed behind to write reports: he had been selected for promotion and was due to take up a staff appointment in Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) at Mons, Belgium.
Then, before breakfast on April 2, the day the Argentines invaded the Falkland Islands, he took a phone call intended for his commanding officer, Captain Jeremy Larken, ordering Fearless to come to readiness for war. Over the next few days, Kelly recalled the ship’s company from leave, and with numerous helpers, including normally rule-bound dockyard workers – and the teenage sons of Fearless’s deputy weapons officer – she was put together again.
Kelly: served in the commando helicopter unit nicknamed ‘the Junglies’
Kelly: served in the commando helicopter unit nicknamed ‘the Junglies’
Six Sea King helicopters (she normally carried two), artillery, ammunition, light tanks and other lesser vehicles were embarked; layers of tinned provisions were used as false decks. Four days later, with 1,400 people aboard instead of her usual 600, Fearless sailed. Rather than go to Belgium, Kelly insisted on staying with the ship.
Stopping briefly on April 17 at Ascension Island, a key logistical link for the operation to retake the Falklands, Fearless sailed for the South Atlantic. There, on May 19, she embarked 40 Commando from SS Canberra, bringing the total number of souls onboard to some 1,700.
In his book No Picnic, Brigadier (later Major General) Julian Thompson wrote that “the Executive Officer of Fearless, Commander Kelly, the delightful ex-Commando Wessex Pilot and ex-Squadron CO, quickly got to work to have every available space turned out so the troops would have somewhere to stretch out, preferably under cover. Feeding these extra men would also be a problem, but not one to defeat Kelly or Fearless.”
Kelly being ritually shaved as he crossed the equator on his birthday in HMS Fearless, 1982
Kelly being ritually shaved as he crossed the equator on his birthday in HMS Fearless, 1982
From then until June 12, Fearless was at action stations from before dawn until evening darkness. Most nights, the ship left San Carlos water in defence watches on some mission or other: convoying logistic ships in and out; inserting special forces; meeting and escorting a submarine into San Carlos; and, once returned to San Carlos, acting as a submarine depot ship.
While Larken commanded the ship’s operations with significant success, Kelly accomplished Fearless’s complex internal routines with matching triumph, and was occasionally able to relieve his commanding officer while he caught up with some essential sleep. In addition, when the pilots of the embarked helicopter squadron began to flag, Kelly rapidly qualified as a second pilot, for the duration of the hostilities, and flew regular sorties.
Kelly never faltered, and was appointed OBE.
John Stuart Kelly was born on April 16 1938 in Sheffield, where his father was a schoolmaster. As a Corinthian footballer, his father had visited pre-war Germany and foreseen the outbreak of war.
Young John narrowly escaped death during the first Sheffield blitz; the family was evacuated and he was educated at the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe.
He was inspired to join the Navy after going to sea with the school CCF in the destroyer Tumult, under the command of Godfrey Place VC. Kelly joined Dartmouth in 1956 as one of the first of the 18-year-old entries.
He served in the frigate Loch Fyne in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf in 1958 and the minesweeper Stubbington during the Cyprus emergency in 1959-60 before commencing training as a helicopter pilot. He first flew solo after nine hours and joined 848 Naval Air Squadron flying Whirlwind helicopters from the commando carrier Bulwark in the Far East and Indian Ocean.
His gift for flying became clear when he qualified as an air warfare instructor in 1964 and conducted trials with night-vision googles and, in France, with the SS 11 air-to-surface missile. He returned to 848 NAS, now in Albion, with Godfrey Place again his captain, and sailed in March 1965 for Singapore, then Konfrontasi in Borneo.
The squadron had been re-equipped with new twin-engined Wessex 5 helicopters, but was crewed by about 20 young and mostly inexperienced pilots. Kelly was made flight commander of D Flight and on arrival off the coast of Sarawak flew ashore with his flight of four helicopters to command a forward operating base at Nanga Gaat, deep in jungle. There he led by example, quickly moulding his pilots and maintainers, with helicopters still suffering from teething problems, into an efficient and highly professional team, operating in the most demanding and hazardous conditions.
Flying in high temperatures and humidity, with frequent tropical storms, D Flight covered hundreds of miles of dense jungle, using the most elementary charts and without navigation aids. Once at their destinations, Kelly and his pilots had to fly into and out of very small, tight clearings hacked out of the jungle, and often some 200 feet below the tree canopy. Kelly’s D Flight never failed to meet their operational commitments, a remarkable feat which earned the commando helicopter force its nickname of “the Junglies”. Kelly was appointed MBE in 1966 for his outstanding leadership and organisational skills in support of operations in East and West Malaysia.
Kelly’s other, wide experience of helicopter flying included elephant counts in Kenya, flood relief in (then) East Pakistan, and surveys of Polaris submarine patrol routes while serving as a Wasp pilot in the survey ships Hecla and Vidal. He also commanded the frigate Llandaff in 1973-75 and escorted Queen Margrethe of Denmark during an official visit to Britain. Important desk jobs included SHAPE (1982-85), Deputy Director of the Operations and Trade Division (1985-88) and Director of Naval Security (1991-98).
Kelly was a keen follower of rugby and proud of his light-blue 1962 3-litre Alvis TD21, which he kept in immaculate condition, driving to the Navy v Army rugby match at Twickenham, where it always drew admiring glances and much comment during his exuberant pre-match lunches. Most important to Kelly, he was a trustee of the Myotonic Dystrophy Support Group, and aged 70 he cycled between Paris and London to raise funds.
Churchwarden and treasurer of All Saints at Martin on the edge of the New Forest, Kelly was an admirable senior naval officer of matchless integrity and an exceptionally complete leader admired by his comrades.
He married, in 1966, Sue Watson, who survives him with their two sons and a daughter.
Captain John Kelly, born April 16 1938, died June 19 2023
 
From the DT..
Lieutenant Carl Haines
Pilot who helped the Royal Navy destroy its first Communist MiG jet during the Korean War
LIEUTENANT CARL HAINES, who has died aged 92, flew back-to-back tours in the Korean War and later settled in Canada.
At dawn on August 9 1952 over the west coast of Korea, Haines was junior pilot in a flight of four Hawker Sea Furies of 802 Naval Air Squadron, flying wingman to his leader, Lieutenant Peter “Hoagy” Carmichael, having flown off the carrier Ocean. Haines’s sharp eyes saw something move against a pale daylight moon and he immediately called “MiGs four o’clock high!”
Haines, as a cadet
Haines, as a cadet
The ensuing dogfight pitted the Sea Fury, the fastest production single reciprocating engine aircraft ever built and the last propeller-driven fighter to serve in the Royal Navy, against the theoretically superior Soviet-built, first-generation jet MiG-15.
Carmichael and Haines and the two other pilots in the British formation, Lieutenant Peter “Toby” Davis and his wingman, Sub-Lieutenant Brian “Smoo” Ellis, dropped their auxiliary fuel tanks and assumed battle formation preparing to meet eight “bogies”. Ellis was first to see a shower of red tracer streaming past both sides of his fuselage, and called “Break!” to start a scissors movement. Quickly it was realised that four MiGs were after each section of two Sea Furies.
But in the words of the 802 Squadron diary: “By continuing their break turns our aircraft presented practically impossible targets to the enemy who made no attempt to bracket. On one occasion a MiG came head-on to Carmichael and Haines – they both fired – it broke away and proceeded to go head-on to Davis and Ellis – they both fired and registered hits.
“On another occasion a MiG pulled up in front of Ellis with its air brakes out and he was amused to find the range closing. He gave a long burst and noticed hits on the enemy’s wings. The aircraft then proceeded northwards at a reduced speed with two other MiGs in company. Meanwhile the flight, still in its battle formation, managed a dozen or so more firing passes at MiGs head-on.
Haines, right, in 1952 with his comrades in 802 Naval Air Squadron
Haines, right, in 1952 with his comrades in 802 Naval Air Squadron
“The dogfight lasted 4-5 minutes and then the MiGs disappeared as quickly as they had arrived – as they departed an aircraft was seen to crash into a hillside and blow up... It was realised that the Royal Navy had shot down its first Communist MiG jet. As a result of that five-minute fight one MiG-15 was destroyed and two others badly damaged – a remarkable feat achieved without a scratch to any of our machines.”
The diary entry concluded: “Carmichael, as flight leader, is being credited with the kill destruction officially, but the rest of the flight are claiming their quarter as well.”
Carl Edward Haines was born at Hoo in Kent on March 23 1931. He was adopted as a child and was educated at Headlands School in Swindon. Haines was estranged from his adoptive parents, and later in life he tracked down his birth mother and found that he had a half-sister, Joan. A bright lad, he was interested in history, maths, sport and singing: he volunteered for the Navy looking for independence, an education and a career.
Having served in 804 NAS in the carrier Glory during her five patrols off western Korea between February and April 1952, Haines was one of a handful of pilots chosen to hand on their operational experience. He served back-to-back tours and flew during all seven of Ocean’s patrols.
There on June 2, while taxiing on deck immediately after land-in, Haines struck another aircraft and his propeller chopped off the tail section of the fuselage.
Most of his sorties were reconnaissance, or strikes against Korean guns, bridges and railway infrastructure. His 175th and last land-on was an emergency, a rough-running engine causing him to divert to the carrier Unicorn on September 1 1952. Four days later, job done, Haines left Sasebo, the US naval base in Japan, for the UK.
When he retired from the Navy in 1957 his flying logbook recorded 1,473 hours with the Fleet Air Arm, mostly in Sea Furies, and 332 deck-landings.
Haines became landlord of the White Lion in Wickham, Hampshire, before starting a successful career in the tyre business with Michelin. After being headhunted by the Japanese company Bridgestone to run their operations in Canada, he settled in British Columbia. There he became manager of the Tsawwassen Golf and Country Club in the city of Delta before retiring to Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.
A resilient man with a lively sense of humour, Haines embraced retirement, enjoying long walks and gardening, playing bridge and entertaining friends. Dark navy rum and chocolate satisfied his sweet tooth. After moving into a communal residence, he insisted on wearing jacket, shirt and naval tie in the dining room, and he danced, shared cocktail hours and laughter, and enjoyed the company of the staff and his friends, including his pal Carla.
After first meeting Dorothy Humphreys at a dance, Haines had sold his stamp collection in order to be able to take her on their first date. They married in 1951, but she predeceased him in 2017: he is survived by their four daughters.
Carl Haines, born March 23 1931, died June 1 2023
 
Peter Darnton Hulme crossed the bar peacefully on Saturday 10th June 2023. Aged 92 years, at Monte Vista Residential care Taupo, New Zealand. Most dearly loved husband of Shirley. Loved father of Stephen and father-in-law of Joanna & Cherished Grandson Alexander.
Peter D Hulme joined the Royal Navy Submarine Service in 1949 and served in the electrical branch on HMS Artemis, HMS Truncheon, HMS Tiptoe and HMS Amphion. Peter left the RN in 1955 and moved to New Zealand and retired after a career in Public Power Distribution including some 5 years as NZ Railways Electrical Engineering and business consultant to GM Engineering.
Peter wrote a number of articles for the RNsubs website and was always very helpful to those of us with an interest in the wat time and immediate post war boats.He often posted under the name Lofty Darnton. Resurgam
 
Peter Darnton Hulme crossed the bar peacefully on Saturday 10th June 2023. Aged 92 years, at Monte Vista Residential care Taupo, New Zealand. Most dearly loved husband of Shirley. Loved father of Stephen and father-in-law of Joanna & Cherished Grandson Alexander.
Peter D Hulme joined the Royal Navy Submarine Service in 1949 and served in the electrical branch on HMS Artemis, HMS Truncheon, HMS Tiptoe and HMS Amphion. Peter left the RN in 1955 and moved to New Zealand and retired after a career in Public Power Distribution including some 5 years as NZ Railways Electrical Engineering and business consultant to GM Engineering.
Peter wrote a number of articles for the RNsubs website and was always very helpful to those of us with an interest in the wat time and immediate post war boats.He often posted under the name Lofty Darnton. Resurgam
R.I.P. Lofty. A great fund of post WW2 submarine knowledge and contributor to this site.
 

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