Crossed the Bar

I have just received a report from John Orchard that Chief Officer Alec Bilney RFA(Retd) crosed the bar on the 3rd September 2013 aged 70, he was not a member of our Association.

On behalf of the RFA Association I extend our sincere condolences to his widow Carol and all their Family.


Alec was a keen owner and restorer of his World War 2 DUKW and is seen here (centre) on”Amphib 2001 Brittany, France. June 2001.”

There are more photo’s of Alec and his DUKW HERE


If you have a remembrance of Alec please email it to be at and I will post them on this page.
Roger Robinson-Brown writes :-

Very sad to hear the news of Alec Bilney crossing the bar I have very fond memories of him as my Cadet Training Officer on The TARBUCKET in Singapore 1969-70. He was a “dyed in the wool” seafarer and a seamanship expert. Despite the nickname “Brown Owl” his “troop” of cadets gained enormous knowledge from his good humor and enthusiastic guidance. Learning to sail was one of the highlights where were taught to maneuver upwind of the other craft, close quarters and throw a bucket of water over the opponents sails to slow them down. With in a week or so we were entrusted to ferry Captain Gordon Butterworth around in the Cutter. Not bad as most had never been a coxn of a boat before.
During our first day of Sea Training, Tarbucket and Green Ranger had a coming together during a RAS. One of the cadets asked, “was that meant to happen?” He really must have thought ..what have I got here!
He tamed a wild bunch and we were all very fortunate to have him as a mentor for the first 9 months at sea or alongside SNB.
The RFA Service being as it was I met him only a couple of times again, once whilst I was in DNW (MOD), he was then working in the IMO building. Finally I met him on HMS PRESIDENT during the Falklands 25 Remembrance. It was such a pleasure to chat with him and Gordon Butterworth about our times on RFA Tarbatness. He was still the same bright, enthusiastic personality.  As far as I can remember he served on Tidespring during Corporate, what a story she had to tell!

Les Hodson writes :- Very sad news. I sailed with Alec in Sir Tristram in 1973/74. He was a good shipmate, with his many stories of both military and civilian vehicles. RIP.


Dick Elsey writes :- Remember Alec from Grey Rover days in the seventies. Even then he was keen on WW2 machinery I helped him in a small way restore a wartime Harley Davidson; Once we got it timed, we rode it round the flight deck, good fun! I don’t expect there is time for such high jinks in this high tech age? All seems along time ago!!. Condolence’s  to Carol and family R.I.P. Alec.