Crossed the Bar

It is with so much sadness that I  announce that CPO(Y) John Northcote-Brewer, always known as “Jan Brewer” throught the Fleet, member 234 (Plymouth Branch) Crossed the Bar on Friday the 14th June 2013 aged 82.

Jan’s funeral will be held at Weston Mill Crematorium at 11:00 on Friday 28 June 2013, (HERE for the website and HERE for a map). No flowers by family request, donations in lieu should be made, if desired to, Bridgewater Sea Cadets or St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth   and afterwards at Raffles Club, 5 Ermington Terrace, Plymouth PL4 6QG, (HERE for the website and HERE for a map), friends and shipmate will all be welcome.

Arrangements for the funeral are being made by The Co-op Funeral Service, Crownhill, Plymouth (HERE for the website and HERE for a map)

On behalf of the RFA Association I extend our sincere condolences to his widow Betty their children Elaine, Steven, Karen (Deceased) and Reginald, 14 Grandchildren and 15 Great-Grandchildren.

If you have a remembrance of Jan please e-mail me at deputy.chairman@rfaa.uk and I will append it to this page.

Shaun Jones This is very sad……Jan was a wonderful and highly professional Yeoman. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time.

Rab Thomson Very sorry to hear of Jan’s passing. I sailed with him on several ships. He was a first class Yeoman of Signals and a very good shipmate. My sincere condolences to his family.

Mike Day Very sorry to hear that news. With him on the bridge in an exercise you felt quite safe. Negative mistakes and a possible BZ from Flag. My sincere condolences to his family.

Alistair Swatridge Very sad news. Jan was a Yeoman of the highest calibre. A true professional, and in whom many OOW have depended. My sincere condolences to his family. RIP shipmate.

Iain Goodchild A true gent. Took me under his wing on my first trip – Regent 85. Condolences to the family.


Hugh O’Donnel.  Many a long watch spent with Jan in the Falklands in Reliant with me as a very junior signalman. He was an inspiration to all “Buntings”. He will be fondly remembered

Brian Wilkie. Very sorry to hear of Jan’s passing. Over several years Jan remained a good friend and colleague. A gentle giant who will be sadly missed. Sincere condolences to Betty and family.

Ken Henderson. We are very sorry to hear this sad news. Duncan Garford organised a farewell “do” on the bridge of an RFA ship for Mr and Mrs Brewer at the time of his retirement from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary,  and I have some very good photographs of this happy occasion. Unfortunately we are unable to attend the funeral due to distance,  age and health,  but, please convey our condolences to the family. Jan had a very distinguished RN career,  and brought a tremendous amount of Communication expertise to the RFA  (there were many ex RN signalmen who transferred to the RFA  after leaving the RN,  and prior to this it was necessary to appoint RN personnel for the duration of special tasks),  and this was the making of the RFA as we know it today. We will continue to celebrate Jan’s wonderful life,  and he will be with us forever.

Mike Ainley.  This is extremely sad, the passing of a great friend and one of the finest yeoman I every sailed with.  I had the privilege to sail with him a number of times and as OOW always felt safe when on watch with him. The world will be a lesser place with out him,

Sincere condolences to Betty and the family.

David Gerrard. Jan was given a rousing send off at Weston Mill this morning. The chapel, lined with several standards, was overflowing with family, friends and colleagues from the many associations to which he belonged. We heard of his long life and career from early days at Bridgewater, Brixham and RHS Holbrook to the Royal Navy 1947 – 1956 including the Yangste Incident, Korea & the Royal Yacht, to the RFA, (twice) 1957-1959 & 1968-1989 fitting in the Police, GCHQ, Fire Brigade, CEGB and Lt RNR(SCC) at Bridgewater in between. He left us with these words :-