Crossed the Bar

It is with so much sadness that I  announce that Captain(E) Bernard Nolan MA and founder member of the RFA Association Crossed the Bar on Sunday 7th July after a short illness, he was 80 years old. He died at his home in Whitley Bay.

Bernard’s funeral will be held at 0945 on Friday 12 July at Whitley Bay Crematorium (HERE the the website and HERE for a map). Old shipmates and colleagues will be very welcome.


No flowers please at the family’s request but donations, if desired, should be made, in lieu, to McMillan Nurses, (HERE for the website) via the funeral directors

The arrangements for the funeral are bing made by W.S. Harrison and Son of Whitley Bay (HERE for their website and HERE for a map.

On behalf of the RFA Association I extend our sincere condolences to his  children Penny and Claire, grandhildren, Johnathon and Lucy. His wife, Pat and his son (an engineer cadet in the RFA), predeceased him.

Download the Order of Service for Bernard’s funeral set to me by Martin Palmer (see below). icon Bernard Nolan (378.83 kB)


If you have a remembrance of Bernard please e-mail me at and I will append it to this page

Ian (The Bear) Thompson writes :-


Such sad news about Barny, what a kind, considerate and professional RFA Officer.


I sailed with him late 86 and into 87 when we took Diligence into refit in Liverpool. We stayed in seperate digs in Southport , he with Patricia and myself with Paul Murphy. Our daily commutes into Liverpool where hilarious. I can remember the meals in the saloon when he and Derek Reynolds started swinging the lamp – Nobody left the saloon and even the stewards sat down to listen to their exploits.


Sue and i stayed with him in 1988 during our Geordie Tour – what a night we had.


A true friend who will be missed by all.


Martin (Tiny) Bradley writes:-

        Sorry to here this news. Sailed with Bernard Nolan and enjoyed his company so much. A fair and lovable character.
My abiding memory of him is of him on a tiny donkey being carried down the long narrow gorge to the spectacle that is Petra in Jordan. His smile got bigger and bigger as he went on. He occasionally broke into fits of laughter as well. His character was so enduring, that, when I was next on the Tyne I and and others called on his family and were treated to tea and cakes.
Pass my condolences on to his family and friends. TINY Bradley 2O(E) retd.

Bob Settle writes:-

“I only sailed with Barney once. I was his Second Engineer Officer on what turned out to be RFA Resurgent’s last voyage in 1979. His son, Mark had just been accepted as an Engineer Cadet and Barney brought him along when we did a trip around the Baltic. Later I was fortunate to be able to take my wife, Pauline and our five month old son David on the trip to Prince Rupert BC. Barney was extremely kind to them both and Pauline and I have never forgotten that kindness. We kept in touch over the years and I know he was very proud of his success in academia once he had retired.

The last time I saw Barney was at the funeral of Captain David Thompson in 2010. They were great friends having sailed together many times. David Thompson was the Commanding Officer of Resurgent during that wonderful trip in 1979.”

Martin Palmer writes :-


I am an ex RN marine engineer, currently working in support of the LSD(A) Bay Class Computerised Maintenance Management System:  SCPM.  In this role, I have met a number of currently serving RFA Personnel who remember ‘Barney’ all of whom speak very highly of him.


I am/was a neighbour of Bernard, have known him for many years, being in the same class at school as his daughter Penny; we often spoke about our respective time at sea – but his stories ALWAYS beat mine!!


Please see attached Order of Service from Bernard’s funeral which you may wish to add to his ‘Crossed the Bar’ page on the Association website.