Crossed the Bar

Sitrep 1, Bob Settle writes.

Sitrep 2, Funeral arrangements.

Sitrep 3, Chris Judge writes.

It is with so much sadness that I  announce  that Second Officer(E) Ian Smith  RFA(Retd), crossed the bar on the 6th June 2015, he was 65, he will be greatly missed.

The arrangements for his funeral have now been been finalised, see Sitrep 2 further down this page. The arrangements for the funeral are being made be Walter Parsons, Funeral Directors, (HERE for their website and HERE for a map).


Family flowers only by request but donations in lieu, if desired, should be made in Ian’s name to The British Heart Foundation, (HERE for their website).

Sitrep 2

Ian’s funeral service will take place  at 10:30 on Monday 22 June 2015 at St Peters Church, Crown Hill (HERE for the website and HERE for a map) followed by private cremation. Shipmates and former colleagues will be most welcome to join us for the funeral and attendees will be invited to refreshments at the family home afterwards.

On behalf of the RFA Association I offer our sincere condolences to all his wife Tricia and daughters Lucy and Kate,


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


Sitrep 1

Bob Settle writes:-

In 1968 Ian and I joined our first ship together. It was the mighty Derwentdale, broken down in Keppel Harbour. We shared the enormous owners’ cabin that had been converted to the cadets’ accommodation with the en suite facilities which the majority of officers in the rest of the then large fleet lacked. With Douglas Rosario as 2EO it was a very pleasant introduction to life at sea (stand fast the Hitachi Zosen 9 cylinder B&W which had appalling reliability). We next joined a nearly new Resource where we found that our cabin had just a quarter of the space of the palatial Dale boat. And, of course the showers and heads were down the alleyway. After the 1969 Fleet review in Torbay we went our different ways (steam/motor) and did not meet again until Resource in Split in 1993 and then Bedivere in 2007. He was a very competent and able engineer well respected by his peers and seniors alike.


Bob Settle


Sitrep 3

Chris Judge writes:-

I first met Ian on Monday September 12th 1966, the day we both started with the RFA. We were both enrolling on the OND Mech Eng (Marine) course at Polar Technical College, the beginning of a four and half year apprenticeship as Engineering Officer Cadets. It turned out we were both staying at the Mariners’ Hotel on Commercial Road. It wasn’t really a hotel, but a hostel were students on the courses at Poplar Tech would stay. Mainly cadets but also Junior Engineers and Fourth Engineers studying for their tickets. I remember they used to lock the doors at midnight, so if you got back late, that was it until 7 the next morning.

We soon became oppos and enjoyed the social life 1960’s London had to offer, albeit on our limited incomes. We were paid £275pa plus £5 per week living allowance. After six months that went up to £425 – we felt rich! We would sample the delights of the Prospect of Whitby in Wapping, where there was a live band which played the tunes to various rugby songs and risqué shanties. Of course everyone ignored the signs prohibiting the singing of songs with obscene lyrics. Or on Saturdays we might go up to Guy’s or Bart’s Hospitals in the city, which put on weekly dances for the student nurses. There must have been some attraction for us to go there, cant remember what it was now.

About Easter 1967, Ian came to me and said that he and a second year cadet had found a flat in Forest Gate and needed a third flatmate to move in to help share the rent. This was great freedom compared with staying at the Mariners.

The summer of 1967 saw us both working in Pompey Dockyard, helping with refits for warships. I spent a couple of weeks cleaning the compressor blades on a G4 gas turbine of a type 81 frigate with scotch pads and swarfega, while Ian was playing with the steam catapults on the Ark Royal as I remember. We lived in the YMCA in Portsmouth for 6 weeks and took to opurtunity to go to the second Isle of Wight Festival to see Jefferson Starship etc.

When we started our second year at Poplar, we went back to the flat in Forest Gate, but someone at the Madhouse forgot to pay us. We had no money for a week and the cupboards soon ran dry. We had no shillings for the gas so we were cold and starving for a few days, until I found a ten-bob note on the floor of the local ‘phone box, so we feasted on bread and jam and tea with milk and sugar. Luxury!!

A couple of weeks after that was my 18th and Ian made a trifle to celebrate. The problem was it had so much sherry in it, it wouldn’t set – so we had to drink it. Our other oppo had left by then, so we downsized to a smaller flat in the same house and lived there until the spring of 1968. After that we were both sent to Singapore. Ian joined the Derwentdale and I joined RFA Appleleaf. We didn’t see each other again until the final year at Poplar. This time we both lived in different shared houses, mine in East Ham and Ian’s at Canning Town – not so far away, so we still socialised  quite often at weekends.

We were both sent back to sea in July 1970, to different ships. I was on Tidreach but I don’t know where Ian went. We met up again in 1972, when we were both posted to the same ship – RFA Resource, as I remember.  We sailed together for about 4 months. That was the last time we met.

I can still remember his parent’s address in Perth and for a few years after I left the RFA, I kept intending to write to them to get back in contact but I never got round to it. I wish I had but now its too late. I have some great memories of the times we spent together though and I’m so sorry to hear that he has crossed the bar just at the age he should have been relaxing and enjoying a well-earned rest.

Chris Judge.