Crossed the Bar

It is with so much sadness that I  announce that Mike Holder former DST(SF)  Crossed the Bar on Thursday  26th September 2013 . He was 78 years old.

Mike’s funeral will be held at Porchester Crematorium (HEREfor their website and HERE for a map)  on Friday 11th October 2013 at 14:00 old shipmates and colleagues will be very welcome to attend.

The “And Afterwards” will be held at HMS Nelson Wardroom and again old shipmates and colleagues will be very welcome to attend. If you are intending to attend it would be helpful if you could email Michael Daw, michael.daw@dsl.pipex.com as early as possible to help with arrangements and access.

At the family’s request family flowers only but donations in lieu and if desired should be made to the British Heart Foundation ( HERE for their website).

The arrangements for the funeral are being made by Barrells at their Portsmouth office (HEREfor their Website and HERE for a map)

On behalf of the RFA Association I extend our sincere condolences to his widow Barbara and all his family.


If you have a photograph of Mike I would appreciate a copy for this page, please email it to me at deputy.chairman@rfaa.uk


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


Pat Thompson, Deputy Chairman writes:-

I remember Mike from the 1970s when he was AD74 (Personnel Director for our younger readers) he was a good man and very good at his job in our Headquarters in Empress State Building. I have spoken to a number of his former colleagues to inform them of his passing and they all spoke with great affection of Mike. RIP old colleague.


Alan Sturmey writes:-

Mike began his career with the Naval Store Department at Devonport in March 1956 as a Direct Entry Executive Officer following 2 years National Service with the RAF.  He was transferred to Llangennech in 1957 where he served for 3 years before transferring to the Admiralty in London.  He was promoted to DNSO in 1964 and was appointed to the Naval Supply Center, Charleston, South Carolina, USA, in support of the Polaris project, He was the first appointee there and became a Lieutenant Commander, donning RNR uniform – with total correctness, style and dash. The NS Journal of the day reported soon after his arrival that he ‘is now settling into the American Deep South and is rumoured already to have gone native by purchasing a car about 40 yards long!’; actually it was one of the first, now legendary, Mustangs.


A tour of duty at Copenacre followed where he gained promotion to Supply and Transport Officer in 1972.  He transferred to Melbourne Australia for a tour of duty in an exchange post with the RAN and during this period gained promotion to Principal.  On return to UK he attended the Senior Officers War Course, Greenwich and was then appointed to the Defence Secretariat and DST(Fin) before promotion to Assistant Director and taking up the post of AD 74 in January 1978. He subsequently served in other AD and DD posts in Fuel and RFA Management before becoming PSTO(N) Portsmouth in 1982, returning to HQ as DST(SF), where he did much to raise the profile of the RFA, and finishing his service as PDST(AS).


In 1986 he met and lunched with HM the Queen on the occasion of the presenting of Colours to the RFA. In 1988 he was, uniquely, presented with the US  Navy’s “Meritorius Public Service Award” for his establishment of much closer liaison than had previously existed, between the RFA and the US Military Sealift Command, to both Navy’s benefit.


Mike was always modest about his achievements, feeling that he could have done better and was very popular with junior and senior work colleagues alike. Those who worked with him specifically recall him as being very laid back in style, who always moved at his own pace and was unfazed by the occasional crisis. In the RFA world he enjoyed good relationships with the seafaring unions and with men and officers at all levels. It was due to him that the RFA crews were at last invited to take their place in the Armistice Day Parades.


He was stylish and sophisticated and fitted perfectly with the image of the Jaguar cars he proudly owned.


After retirement he settled in Bath with his second wife, Barbara.  He was a golfer, played tennis and was a very accomplished artist, but was content to allow Barbara’s special artistic talents to take precedence.


Many old friends will have happy memories of very enjoyable times spent with him.