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34 NAVY NEWS, MARCH 2011 News and information for serving personnel Are you affected by the closure of Blueforces?

IT IS understood that Blueforces, a private property company with offi ces in Colchester Garrison specialising in providing property management and fi nancial services to members of the Armed Forces, has recently announced that it has ceased trading and applied to go into liquidation. Although it is thought that the majority of its clients

were Army personnel it is possible that some Naval Service personnel may be financially prejudiced by this announcement. Blueforces advertised its services widely, including

in the magazine Housing Matters (issued monthly by the Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO)), on internet sites targeted at members of the Armed Forces, through HIVES and in the family federations’ magazines, including Homeport. Although this is an entirely private matter between those affected and the company, exceptionally, given the wide exposure Blueforces has had amongst the Service community, it is considered appropriate to publicise the failure of this company through the Chain of Command.

that Blueforces is believed to have held significant sums of money on behalf of individuals and there is scope therefore for those affected to suffer financial hardship. Personnel who have properties managed by Blueforces may have received a letter stating that the company is now seeking insolvency advice from B&C Associates (contact number 02089 067730); it is possible that there may be a delay in these letters reaching deployed personnel.

Commanding Officers may wish to be aware

personnel affected by this news it is recommended they advise individuals to contact B&C Associates, consider seeking independent legal advice and, if their mortgage is affected, to urgently contact their mortgage provider. A private support network for those affected has been established at: NCHQ point of contact: Cdr N D Bond, SO1 Accommodation, 93832 8819 or 02392 628819

If Commanding Officers become aware of

ADVERTISING FEATURE Red Lion Foods’ Great Hash Off

RED Lion Foods has devised a competition which has been designed to raise awareness of the efforts the firm is making to raise funds for our UK forces’ charities and causes. Red Lion Foods is a different sort of food company. It believes most people want to say thank-you every day to the UK armed forces and their families.

director, said: “Red Lion Foods is giving every person in the UK the chance to regularly say ‘thank you’ and recognise the sacrifices being made for us.

“If households buy just one of their everyday food products from us in their weekly shop we can donate more than £30 million to armed forces charities every year.

The Great Hash Off is a competition for four people to each win £1,000 for the best corned beef hash recipe and a chance to be crowned the overall winner.

There will be a £1,000 prize for the best Navy recipe and video and this winner will then go through to

Andrew Gidden, managing

compete against the RAF and Army and the general public for the chance to become overall Hash Off Champion. Their suppliers have kindly donated the prize money. To enter and to see the full terms and conditions simply go to the Red Lion Foods website at www. Judges will award points based on the recipe quality, location and entertainment. How it works – the details Entrants simply need to make a two-minute video of their recipe and

upload it to our website for judges to assess.

Navy, Army and general public will each win £1,000. A celebrity chef will cook the four winning recipes for a panel of judges at the Union Jack Club and the overall winner and forces’ champion will be chosen.

Entrants must upload their videos by March 31 2011. ■ See our advert on page 18 for more details.


■ Notices for this page should be brief, clearly written or typed and addressed to – The Editor, Navy News, HMS Nelson, Portsmouth. PO1 3HH or email: If you are sending your notice in via email, please include your full address and telephone number.

“This is equal to the amount raised by Children in Need each year, and an amazing amount of money to help our armed forces.”

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■ The Editor reserves the right to edit or refuse publication of submitted notices.

■ Space does not allow us to accept more than one free insert. Any subsequent notice will have to be paid for at advertising rates.

The best entries from the RAF,


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Greenwich Hospital School 1927-30 then served the RN 1931-65 at Fisgard, Valiant, Southampton, Mauritius, Hecla, Frobisher, Delhi, London, Swiftsure, Indomitable, Newcastle, Vanguard, Courier, Moon, Pincher, Meon, Tracker, Ark Royal and Loch Alvie; also Pembroke, Calliope, Euphrates (Khoramshahr), Canopus, Nelson, Tamar, Drake and Woolwich (Plymouth). He joined MOD (Navy) upon leaving in 1965 and worked for the RN Film Corporation in London and Singapore then the Directorate of Naval Education and Training till 1980. Association of Royal Navy Offi cers (ARNO). Aged 94.


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Captain Jack Bitmead DSO. Attended the Nautical College, Pangbourne and on the day war broke out was appointed navigating offi cer of the destroyer Broke that took part in the evacuation of 215,000 British and Allied servicemen and civilians from the ports of western France in 1940 (Operations Cycle and Aerial) and for his part was awarded the Krzyz Walecznych (Cross of Valour). First lieutenant of the lend-lease destroyer Georgetown 1941 then appointed at aged 23 as fi rst lieutenant to Forester escorting the crippled Edinburgh back to Murmansk. Forester was hit by two shells killing her captain, Bitmead assumed command; however Edinburgh was sunk in another U-boat attack later. After Forester had been patched up, he returned to Britain escorting Trinidad, which was attacked; Forester was fi rst alongside to take off casualties. One of the youngest naval offi cers to be awarded a DSO for taking convoys to and from Murmansk. Took part in a trial to train submarine captains in just six months and undertook four war patrols, but argued that the scheme would not work and reverted to general service. He trained ratings at Collingwood then given command of Meynell in 1944. He commanded the destroyer Mendip in 1947 and Broadsword 1948-50. During the Korean War he was appointed to the Naval Intelligence Division; then to the Joint Services Staff College before joining Mountbatten’s staff in Malta in 1953. He commanded Veryan Bay 1955- 57 and promoted to captain 1958. After attending the Canadian National Defence College, he took up another appointment in Malta. His last seagoing command was the destroyer Duchess based in Singapore during the Indonesian Confrontation until 1965. In 1967 he was placed on the retired list. December 21. Aged 91. Lt Cdr ‘Uncle’ Bill Brook Filer GM. Joined Ganges 1933, after fi ve years at the Barnardos-run Watts Naval School, where he became an Instructor Boy and was also chosen as the best all-round boy of the year. In 1934 he joined Nelson (Home Fleet’s West Indies cruise) returning as an Ordinary Seaman. After passing the Seaman Torpedoman’s course at Vernon he was drafted to Excellent and qualifi ed as a Diver 2, then joined Penzance in South Africa. He responded to an Admiralty Fleet Order inviting ratings to apply to become pilots in the Fleet Air Arm; awarded his wings he became the fi rst ‘fl ying diver’. Subsequently told that he would be of more value to the war effort as a diver he was demoted from Petty Offi cer Airman to Leading Seaman and refused transfer to the RAF. As an Acting Petty Offi cer LTO/Diver he joined Queen Elizabeth but two days out of Nova Scotia she was ordered to join the Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria where he found himself removing bodies from the cruiser Orion. Seconded to the submarine depot ship Medway he qualifi ed as Diver 1 and in 1942 to the shore-based bomb and mine disposal team where he travelled by camel to Ras el Tin near Alexandria to assist in rendering safe and recovering an Italian circling torpedo washed up on the beach; he was awarded the George Medal. Rejoining Medway as Senior Diving Instructor he swam to the destroyer Hero after the ship was struck by three torpedoes and sank within half an hour. After survivors’ leave he was drafted to Tedworth qualifying as a ‘deep diver’ then to Excellent as an instructor where he wrote instructions for underwater demolitions which took him to Volcano at Holmrook Hall (Cumbria). Just over a year later he qualifi ed as a Gunner(G) at Excellent with the rank of Warrant Offi cer. In 1948 he was appointed to stand by the new deep-diving ship Reclaim as her technical advisor (Lieutenant) and upon completion was appointed First Lieutenant and Chief Diving Offi cer with his fi rst mission on board to search for the submarine Affray that disappeared April 1951. Affray’s identity confi rmed, her mast recovered and he was appointed an MBE. His next appointment was to AEDU where he toured the USA to assist in the evaluation and acquisition of diving equipment for the RN. Promoted to Lieutenant Commander he commanded the diving tender Diver and Diving Acceptance Trials Offi cer at Vernon. He cross-trained as a Clearance Diver before retiring after 29 years service. He was appointed civilian Offi cer-in-Charge of DTU for the next 20 years. Honorary (life) member of the MCDOA. January 31. Aged 93. Lt R A Bennett. Eng. Attended

(survivor), Fantome and Ark Royal R09. Founder member HMS Serene Association. December 25. Aged 91. Lt David Hirst RM. Served in Newfoundland 1958-59 also Messina, Bulwark and FOF3 Staff. December 3. John Parry RM. Served in Newfoundland 1956-58. October 25. Bernard Owen. PO/EA. Served in Newfoundland 1944-46. Robert Edmunds. ERA. Served 22 years in Repulse and Royal Oak (survivor). The Royal Oak Association. October 1. Aged 93.

Kenneth Conway. Signalman. Served in

Egret, Teviot and Royal Oak (survivor), and minesweepers. The Royal Oak Association. June. Aged 92. Eric Wingrove. L/Signalman. Served

aboard Faulknor and a member of the association. January 18. Aged 88. Bill Atkinson. Radar Operator. Served 1944-48 in Volage surviving the Corfu Channel mining of 1946 and Verulam 1947 on Palestine Patrol. Corfu Channel Association. January 1. Aged 83. Henry ‘Harry’ Booth DSM. PO. Served 1942-46 on Colossus Indian and Western Pacifi c; witnessed the Japanese surrender in Hong Kong. Awarded DSM for saving a colleague from an on-board fi re receiving burns to his legs. Fleet Air Arm Association. January 21. Aged 85.

Lt Cdr William James Prickett. Served 1944-83 at St George, followed by Belfast, submarine service, Mercury, Phoenicia, Pitreavie, Rooke, Duncan, Fearless, FOCAS, SCU Mercury. December 18. Aged 82. Cyril Bush. POME. Royal Naval

Engineroom Association. Served 1940-53 in Berwick, LSTs 3019, 163, 3501, Indomitable, Diadem and Brocklesby. January 10. Fred Atterbury. Stoker PO. Served in Indefatigable 1943-46. Former chairman, secretary and welfare offi cer of the Royal Naval Engineroom Association. Aged 85. February 8.

George Oliver. Leading Seaman. DEMS Gunner 1940-46. Served in 11 merchant and troop ships including Queen Mary. February 4. Aged 93. Charles ‘Ted’ Edward Pawsey. Chief Petty Offi cer. Fleet Air Arm. Series 21 Electrical Artifi cers. Served 1954-78. January 11. Alfred L Fordham. Royal Marine Musician and Band Corporal. Alf was a survivor of the sinking of the Royal Oak in Scapa Flow on October 14 1939. In February 1933 he entered the Royal Marine School of Music at Deal as a Band Boy. His fi rst ship was Glorious, which he joined in 1935, seeing service in the Mediterranean. In 1937 at Devonport he joined the Royal Oak, and after the tragedy he took survivors’ leave and then returned to Deal for promotion training. This was followed by a short period in Victory, Portsmouth. He then joined the battleship King George V, and was promoted to Band Corporal. To Pembroke, Chatham, in 1944, then joined the cruiser Sussex after refi t. Saw service in the Far East until the end of the war. Returning to Chatham in 1946, he was then posted to Excalibur, and served for short period as an acting Bandmaster. In late 1947 he returned to Burford, before joining Gamecock early the next year. Discharged August 1948. HMS Royal Oak Association. Glorious, Ardent and Acasta Association. January 22. Aged 92.

Alastair James Russel Whitehead. Joined Dartmouth Naval College at the outbreak of war and as a midshipman went up the coast of Norway in Devonshire to take off the King of Norway and his courtiers, and bring them under heavy bombardment to Britain. His subsequent wartime career was in submarines, fi rst Seawolf, then Voracious in the North Atlantic. After the war he continued with postings to China, Australia, and Malta, and retired as lieutenant commander in 1965 from his last posting to the NATO Undersea Research Agency in Italy, then joined the NATO Research and Technology Agency, Paris. November 19. Aged 89.

ROYAL NAVAL ASSOCIATION Jean MacPhail. PO Wren. WW2 Service.

Secretary Bridgend branch. December 27. Aged 87.

Joe Payne. Signalman. Served 1944-48 mostly on mine sweepers in the Far East. Bourne RNA and also a founder member of Hereward Probus Club of Bourne. December 20. Aged 84.

S/Lt George Robert ‘Bob’ Wilson. Survivor from Glen Avon that sank in a Force 9 gale off the Normandy Coast 1944. President Chesham and Amersham branch. January 3. Aged 84. Jack Young. PO ERA. Served 1943-46 in Furious in Norway and Canada. Bury branch and life member of the Royal British Legion. December 27. Aged 87. Jack Skinner. Served 1940-46 in Dido

Michael Anthony ‘Pony’ Moore. CPO MEM. Served 1956-93 in Eagle, Ark Royal, Cavalier, Zulu, Sultan, Tenby, Penelope, Cambridge, Royal Arthur and Raleigh (Instructor); followed by a further 15 years in the RN Careers Service. HMS Cavalier Association. December 25. Aged 72. Charles ‘Charlie’ Ross. L/Stoker. Served 1940-52 in Vimey, Scimitar, Wrestler (mined on D-Day), Cavalier, Loch Quoit, Opportune and Crispin. HMS Cavalier Association. January 19. Aged 90. Alexander ‘Jimmy’ Ball. DSM. CERA. Served in Serene (44-47), Edinburgh

(three years) in the Mediterranean supporting the 8th Army, Malta convoys, Battle of Crete, Italian and African campaigns; then Orwell laying mines in Russian waters and supporting Arctic convoys. Author of A Ship, A Crew of World War 2. Welfare Offi cer for a number of years and latterly President of the Mess, Maidstone RNA, member of HMS Dido Association and also had an affi liation with the Royal Australian Naval Association. January 16. Aged 90. Bertie ‘Sticky’ Bunn. Stoker mechanic (Engineering branch). Served in Theseus, Centaur and Chichester. Grantham branch. January 5. Aged 79.

Mike ‘Bungy’ Williams. C/Mech. South Gloucestershire RNA. December 26. Aged 74.

Stanley ‘Stan’ Paterson. Served with

NAAFI and was Canteen Manager aboard Kenya, he was instrumental in forming the ‘Kenya’ Association and was life president; also founder member, life president and vice president of Hartlepool RNA. December 21. Aged 85.

Telegraphist. Served 1933-39 Clyde RNVR and 1939-46 RN. Kempenfalt, Faulknor and Howe. Grantham branch. January 27. Aged 93.

William ‘Bill’ Gardner.

Harry Plummer. LH. Torpedoman. Submarine service 1943-46 in Venturer and mentioned in despatches for the part he played in 1945 when serving as a torpedo man he sank U864 (the only time two submerged submarines battled underwater) outside Bergen. This was an important hit as it was carrying German and Japanese scientists along with a secret cargo of jet engines and 60 tons of mercury en-route to Japan; he featured in the BBC Timewatch documentary two years ago highlighting this episode in the war. Middlesex Submariners Association, Chatham RNA and formerly a long serving member of Camberwell branch until moving into RNBT Pembroke House. January 24. Aged 89.

Lt Cdr Douglas M Craig. Submarine service 1944-47 in Sybil, Vivid and Truculent. Dolphin branch. Aged 87. Ronald T Jenkins. ME1. Submarine service 1965-68 in Astute, Alcide and Opportune. Plymouth branch. Aged 69. Cdr Tommy W Lamport. WW2 submarine service in Solent, Tudor and Trenchant. West Scotland branch. Aged 88. Roy Shenton. FCPO. Elec. Submarine service 1954-79 in Solent, Springer, Tabard, Trump, Finwhale and Resolution. Gosport branch. Aged 77.

Ian Archer. Sto1. Served in Plucky. November 3. Aged 84. John Dent. Sto. Served in Plucky. December 6. Aged 78. Stanley Marsh. AB. Served in Courier. December 30. Aged 85. Edwin Higginbotham. AB. Served in Thisbe. January 19. Aged 85. Dennis Jewel. AB. Served in Welcome. January 22. Aged 84. Gordon Forster. ERA. Served in Coquette. January 26. Aged 80. George Wilkins. AB. Served in Espiegle. January 31. Aged 87.


Tony Craythorne. Served on board as EM1 1961-62. 2010 Ronald Hill. Served on board as Master at Arms 1944-47. September 2. Robert Swallow. Served on board as Able Seaman 1944-45. October 28. Denis Watkinson. Served on board as Able Seaman 1944-46. January 20.


FLEET AIR ARM ASSOCIATION George Charles Mott. Served 1943- 46. AF(MW). Served in aircraft carrier Formidable (Far East and Australia), and Naval Air Stations Gosling, Raven, Daedalus, Waxwing, Nabstock, Sparrowhawk. Watford branch. January 4. Donald Benstead. POAM(A). Served 1941-48. Hitchin branch. February 1. Ronald Oldham. NA1. Served 1943-46 in Gosling, Heron, 787 NAS, Daedalus, 787 NAS, Sparrowhawk, 787 NAS, Hornbill, 787 NAS. Watford branch. January 10. Robert Blanchard. LAM(O). Served 1952-64 in Ariel, Ark Royal. Birmingham branch. December 17. Aged 76.

December. C J Dart. Served LST 3001. December

LST & LANDING CRAFT ASSOCIATION L A Crosswell. Served LST 3025, Bruiser.


669, LCP. January 14. N Magson. Served LST 415. January 27.


Lt Col Neil Willson to CTCRM as CO from February 22. Capt Andrew Betton to HMS Ocean as

CO from April 18. Capt Paul Chivers to RNAS Yeovilton – C&SS as CO from May 10 and to be pro- moted Commodore. Capt Nicholas Hine to HMS Westminster

as CO from June 14. Lt Col Robin Bucknall to RMR Bristol as

CO from May 16. Lt Col Alan Litster to HQ Squadron Fleet

Protection Group Royal Marines as CO from May 9 and to be promoted Colonel.

L V H Bunch. Served LCA, LCM, Flotilla

Roy Thurston. Leading Seaman. UC3. Served 1951-57 in submarines Alcide and Selene. Derbyshire and Burton on Trent branches. January 11. Aged 79. Maurice A Caddell. PO UW1. Submarine service 1948-56 in Acheron, Artemis, Affray, Subtle and Telemachus. Gatwick branch. Aged 82.

SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION Philip R Fleming. CRS (RCI). Served 1943-67. Boy seaman at St George, Isle of Man (where his father was a trainer) then Howe 1944 (British Pacifi c Fleet). Served 1947-58 in submarines Alliance, Ambush, Affray, Sentinel, Seadevil, Truculent, Tiptoe and Tapir. Left submarines and attended communications training at Mercury before joining Eagle on commission to the Far East (Beira Patrol). Middlesex branch. December 31. Aged 83.


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