Crossed the Bar

Sitrep 1, Remembrances

Sitrep2. Arrangements

It is with so much sadness I report that Captain I.B. (Bonner) Roberts CBE, former Chief Marine Superintendant crossed the bar on Tuesday 11th August 2015 aged 101.


On behalf of the RFA Association I offer our sincere condolences to Karen, his Step Daughter, his grandchildren and great grandchildren,

Bonner’s funeral will take place at Weymouth Crematorium on Friday 4th September 2015 (HERE for the website and HERE for a map). Old shipmates and colleagues will be most welcome. There will be refreshments after the service and invitations will be extended to the attendees at the service.

The funeral arrangements are being made by Rose Funeral Services Weymouth (HERE for the website and HERE for a map).

Family flowers only and a suitable Charity for donations in Bonnar’s memory will be announced in due course.


If you have a remembrance of Bonner please email it to me at and I will post them on this page. I am also looking for photographs of Bonner for this piece and the RFA Association Galery and Archive, If you have one please email it to me.


Pat Thompson writes:-

I never sailed nor met Bonner Roberts however as a young Third Officer and Second Officer the very mention of his name struck fear into my heart, I was not alone. But, in my time as Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the RFA Association I had cause to speak to him on a number of occasions and what a charming and entertaining man he actually was. He will be missed as a true stalwart of the RFA.

Peter Hamilton writes:-

Bonner interviewed me and met him a few times when a Cadet, Frightened the life out of me, however he was always one thing, strict but fair. Best Regards Peter Hamilton Vitoria Bay Marine Services

Best Regards

Peter Hamilton

Vitoria Bay Marine Services

Cdre Dick Thorn RFA(Retd) writes:-

Bonner was my Captain in an “O”Boat, also my boss as CMS when I was a Marine Superintendent. He was married, and from memory, had a daughter living in Weymouth. He was a fluent Welsh linguist, around which he told many amusing stories! He was a very charming and amusing gentleman in all aspects, and highly professional and intelligent. Happily we got along famously.

After retirement, he bought a flat in Britain St. London, and worked at a well known department store. At that time we had several friends in common. We both admired the fair sex! He phoned me from his last residence where he had a carer – two years ago. he sounded jolly as usual, declared that he was 99 but very blind. I had cancer problems so was unable to go and see him sadly. He was a good man having had a good life, and given many great pleasure.

Best Wishes,


Annette Clayton writes:-

Sorry to hear Captain Roberts Passed away on Tuesday 11 August age 101.He was a very good friend and will be sadly missed.He was Chief Officer when my Father Captain Colbourne was on Wave Prince in Korea.I still have the ships bell.

Rovianne Matovu, writes :-

I met Bonner, 25 years ago at Britten House as my late Godfather Owen Etoe lived at 31 where I once lived & visited. I bumped into Bonner in the cramped lift and as a true gentleman and Captain he accompanied me gallantly up to the top before descending down to his, a floor below. He always remembered my birthday, three weeks before his in March and even visited me in hospital only in 2012. My friend Peter and I visited him and his companion Pam Hawkins down in Wiltshire three years ago when he was already very frail. He loved his chocolates! He worked at Habitat as well! He was very proud of his Welsh background & loved women! Another Gentle Man to have fallen off his perch and crossed the Bar. Bless him

Mike McKie writes:-

I sailed with Captain Roberts on RFA Olynthus as a first trip Second Mate, and the ship was almost brand new. We infested Portland for a long time before finally deploying to the Far East. He was a born raconteur who regularly had us in stitches at the Pub Lunches that we used to enjoy in those far off days. During the “occasional” parties he could certainly teach us younger guys a thing or two about charm!! He was however a consummate professional, who managed to teach me a lot in the time that I sailed with him, despite my efforts to the contrary! Some years later when he was in the office, he managed to tell my then fiancée (who worked in 74A at the time) to avoid me like the plague, advice that I am glad to say she did not take! He did however send us a nice card when we finally did get married!

A very sad loss of a fine seaman.

M.I.McKie (Mac)

Chief Officer (Retd)

Elizabeth Jordan writes:-

I  would  just  like to  say  that  Bonner  was  a  very  old  friend, both  my  husband  and  I  enjoyed  his  company  enormously, he,  Bonner  was  most  generous  and  the  sort  of  person that was  a great guest/asset  at  a  party.  Full of stories and  great fun.  He,  did  have  a  serious  side  and  one  never tired  of  hearing   of extracts  he  told in  relation  to  his time  serving both  in  peace  and in  war.  He in  addition had  a  very  wide  knowledge  of   history.  He  will  be greatly  missed.  —-

Elizabeth  Jordan.