32 NAVY NEWS, MAY 2009
Claude celebrates 108th birthday
THE Perth branch in Western Australia has He was still serving in the battleship when she recruits in the art of torpedo warfare.
been in touch to report the 108th birthday was deployed in the Mediterranean to support In World War 2 he was Chief Demolition
celebrations of World War 1 veteran Claude the Greeks in their war of independence, and Officer on the West Coast, preparing the
Choules. also entered the Black Sea to be on hand for demolition of harbour and fuel facilities at
Claude was born in March 1901 in Wyre the White Russians. Fremantle in the event of an invasion by
Piddle, Worcestershire, and before the Great Claude also served in HMS Valiant and the Japanese forces.
War two of his brothers and a sister had aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, but in 1925 as a He was obliged to leave the service at 50, but
emigrated Down Under. Leading Torpedoman he answered the call for served a further five years with the Dockyard
At the age of 14 he was sent to TS Mercury volunteers to man the Royal Australian Navy Naval Police until retirement in 1956, when he
on the Hamble, and completed his training in and sailed south. bought a 20ft boat and spent the next decade
LAST autumn members of the
the Impregnable on the Hamoaze. The RAN promptly sent him back to the crayfishing. EVERYTHING from the health
old RNR Postal and Courier
He joined HMS Revenge in October 1917 UK for a course at HMS Vernon, then he Claude now lives at the Gracewood Hostel of old shipmates to the health of
branch held their first reunion
and was on board to witness the surrender of joined HMAS Canberra and sailed back to at Salter Point in Perth, and celebrated with members’ pensions was on the
since the branch was closed by
the German High Seas Fleet off the Firth of Australia in her. some of his 38 direct descendants, including agenda at the March meeting of
defence cuts in 1992.
Forth in November 1918. Much of the 1930s were spent training his 79-year-old daughter Anne Pow. the Cyprus branch.
Many who attended had not
Branch chairman S/M Andrew
met up since last serving together
Noyes spoke of his recent visit
on training, 17 years ago, prior to
to RNA HQ in Portsmouth, and
there was good news in that one
The branch was formed
of the branch’s honorary life vice
during World War 2 from former
presidents, S/M Fred Cooper,
Post Office employees who
was reported as making a good
volunteered for service in the
Special honour for recovery after much ill health in
Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve.
the past year.
In its heyday the organisation
Paid-up membership so far this
numbered 2,000 personnel
year is reported as being 64.
working in Fleet Mail Offices
Branch RN representative S/M
Jonathan Birley gave an amusing
After the war it was decided
report on current activities in the
to retain a regular Postal branch
Service, including the large-scale
in the RN, with the Regulating the RNA’s oldest salt
Exercise Cyprus Wader which
branch undertaking the task with
was being staged in the island’s
the support of the Postal branch
of the RNVR – a state of affairs BRITAIN’S most senior
S/M Jonathan also mentioned
which came into being in 1951.
citizen has been awarded life
local areas where relaxing Royals
The new branch took a Belgian
membership of the RNA.
and sailors might be encountered.
post-horn as its badge.
National President S/M John
The speaker for the evening was
Eight years later the branch
McAnally and National Chairman
St John Coombes, an independent
was transferred to the Specialist
financial adviser, who explored
S/M David White travelled to St
branch of the RNR, and it
how recent trends in the money
Dunstan’s in Brighton to induct
became a branch in its own right
and stock markets have affected
S/M Henry Allingham as the
on June 1 1976.
life in Cyprus – of particular
most recent Life Member of the
Prior to closure there were 45
interest to members’ hearts as
officers and 425 ratings enrolled
ex-pats have suffered a double-
S/M Henry, who is 112, joined
from the Post Office and British
whammy of the Cypriot pound
Telecom volunteers, some of
the Royal Naval Air Service
joining the Euro last year and the
whom were ex-serving members
during World War 1, compulsorily
loss of UK income through the
of the Royal Navy.
transferring to the newly-formed
deteriorating exchange rate.
Officers and ratings undertook
Royal Air Force on April 1 1918.
S/M Ian Gould is the new vice
live joint training.
His war service included time
chairman of the Cyprus branch.
One year was spent with the
at the RNAS air station at Great
RN and alternate years with
Yarmouth, and a stint on the
the Royal Engineers Postal and
armed trawler HMS Kingfisher,
Offi cer is
Courier Service both in Europe
which carried a Sopwith seaplane
and further afield, in places such
and shadowed the British fleets at
as Hong Kong, ensuring mail got
the Battle of Jutland in 1916.
through to ships and units.
S/M Henry also served on the
The mail operations for the
Western Front with a training
Coronation Review and the
squadron, and at Dunkirk, where membership
Queen’s Silver Jubilee Review
he recalled the depot being
were carried out by the branch,
bombed and shelled. A SERVING RN officer was
and some members were used
In World War 2 he was involved awarded honorary membership
on courier runs to the Falklands
in a successful project to counter of the Association at the annual
directly after the conflict.
German magnetic mines. general meeting of Wetherby
The next reunion of the RNR
Although now a resident at
Postal Association will be on
St Dunstan’s because of his
Cdr Mark Lister was presented
● S/Ms David White (left) and John McAnally (right) present S/M Henry Allingham with his Certifi cate of
October 16-18, and any ex-postie
deteriorating eyesight, S/M Life Membership
with his RNA lapel badge by
with connections to the branch
Henry lived independently
branch president S/M Eric
who is interested in attending
until he was 110, and was still
Goodwin and particularly enjoys senior “old salt”. S/M Henry attributes his Drummond.
should email rex.w.clark@
riding a mountain bike around
meeting younger folk. Perhaps the most important longevity to recognising one’s S/M Eric said: “After Mark
Eastbourne at the age of 100.
As well as presenting S/M memento was an engraved RNA capacity and living within it – spoke at last year’s Trafalgar
He still enjoys a busy social life,
Henry with his certificate, S/M hip flask topped up with Speyside certainly his capacity is amazing,
Night dinner shipmates were so
with frequent outings both official John was able to furnish him malt, since it is well-known that as is his performance.
impressed by the regard he showed
and unofficial, in the company of with RNA ties and badges, which S/M Henry enjoys the good The RNA believe they are
towards veterans of the service and
his friends Dennis and Brenda were greatly appreciated by this things of life. lucky to have him.
a willingness to assist the branch
when his service commitments
Carrier veterans meet up
permitted, they wanted to show
A FLEDGLING ship association
Cdr Lister is also due to be
has already welcomed its 100th
guest of honour at the HMS Ceres
reunion in Harrogate in August.
The HMS Resolution
VETERANS from the wartime aircraft carrier HMS she underwent modification at the end of the year in
At the same meeting S/Ms
Association was formed at the
Indefatigable have gathered in Portsmouth to recall preparation for service in the Far East.
Richard Knight and Vince Parks
beginning of the year to bring
the good, and not-so-good, times aboard their old In early 1945 she led air strikes against oil refineries were elected branch secretary
together crew members from the
ship. at Medan and later Palembang.
and social secretary respectively,
old Polaris missile submarine,
Almost 60 people sat down to dinner at the Royal She was the first British victim of a kamikaze A MUSEUM has been created at while outgoing secretary S/M
which was part of the UK nuclear
Maritime Club in Queen Street, and other highlights attack, on April 1 1945, but was back in business in RAF Lossiemouth thanks to the Reg Maycock was appointed
deterrent patrols between 1968
of the weekend included a visit to HMS Victory, around an hour, and by the summer was launching efforts of Sgt Tony Carlin RAF vice president in recognition of
where they were hosted by her CO Lt Cdr ‘Oscar’ air strikes against the Japanese home islands. and a select bunch of colleagues.
the service he has given to the
Chairman S/M Ron Baird said
Whild, and a service at the city’s Anglican cathedral. She then operated as part of the American Third The museum was created out of
the association was designed to
Members of the HMS Indefatigable Association Fleet, and it is claimed her aircraft flew the last sortie
the station history room, and despite
allow former shipmates to meet,
are also looking forward to playing their part in the of the war on August 15, when her Seafires shot down
a disaster – when two cabinets
swap dits and share memories
events to mark the centenary of Naval aviation, Fly eight enemy aircraft.
collapsed – the museum was open
Navy 100. Indefatigable was present at the Japanese surrender
to visitors last Christmas.
The group is also investigating The 32,000-ton HMS Indefatigable, commissioned in Tokyo Bay on September 3, and later spent some
WAFUs will know Lossiemouth
the possibility of visiting their old in mid-1944 but still saw plenty of action. weeks repatriating PoWs from Japan to Australia.
better as HMS Fulmar, between
boat at Rosyth. One of her first forays was in Operations Mascot After the war she served as a training ship, but a
1946 and 1972, and any veterans
For further details, see website and Goodwood against the German battleship Tirpitz decade after entering service she was deemed surplus
wishing to visit the museum can
A MEMORIAL parade and
in the Norwegian fjords in the summer of 1944 before to requirements and was scrapped in late 1956.
contact Sgt Carlin, Fg Off Welding
service will be held in September in
(Station Adjutant) or Fg Off Gunn
Queenborough to commemorate
(Media and Comms Officer) at
the ship’s companies of the
RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, IV31
minesweepers that operated out
6SD to make arrangements.
of the town.
The museum would also like to
HMS Wildfire III was the
hear from anyone with artefacts,
wartime minesweeping base in the
pictures or mementoes from the
port, on the Isle of Sheppey.
base during its Dark Blue years.
This year’s events will be staged
on September 13, with the parade
marching from Holy Trinity
Church Queenborough at 1345.
CHESHUNT branch were regally
The service and wreath-laying
entertained by Welwyn Garden
will take place at Queenborough
City branch in April – including
Park at 1400, followed by a buffet
dancing to a big brass band. and singalong at the Borough Hall,
S/M Peter Triggs, of the Burma Main Road, Queenborough.
Star and Normandy Veterans For more details contact Janet
Associations, is the new president Flew (Secretary), Queenborough
with S/M Joe Wright as vice and District Naval Ensign
president, while the last three crew Association on 01795
of corvette HMS Dahlia, adopted 663784, write to 11 Chalk Rd,
by Cheshunt and Waltham Cross, Queenborough, ME11 5AJ or
were made honorary members.
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