Crossed the Bar

It is with so much sadness I report that PO(Deck) (Deck Storekeeper) John Vickerson Crossed the Bar aged 95 on 24th January 2017.

John’s funeral will be held at  St Lukes Church, Leicester (HERE for their website and HERE for a map) at 13:00 on Tuesday 7th February 2017 followed by cremation at Gilroes Cemetery Crematorium, Leicester at 13:45 (HERE for their website and HERE for a map). Old shipmates and colleagues will be made most welcome.

Family flowers only please but donations, in John’s name, and if desired, should be made to the South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA) (HERE for their website and HERE for a map)

The arrangements for the funeral are being made by Abbey Oak Funeral Directors, Leicester (HERE for their website and HERE for a map)

Shipmates and colleagues are most welcome to attend the funeral and will be invited back by the family for refreshments

John’s wife, Peggy, predeceased him 10 years ago.

On behalf of the RFA Association I offer our sincere condolences to his 2 children Janet and Alan and all his family.

PO(D) John Vickerson 1921~ 2017

Janet Stirk, John’s daughter writes:-

Vick (John Vickerson) – Born Hartlepool 1921

Joined the Territorial Army and applied to join the Navy about 1938

Called up to the Yorkshire Yeomanry in 1939

Based at Castle Howard in North Yorkshire, Dad was given a sword and taught to ride a horse. Part of the job was to collect horses from surrounding farms for war work. The Yeomanry became an artillery unit, but as too young to go to war Dad was transferred to an anti-aircraft gun unit in Birmingham.

Papers finally came for Dad to join the Navy in August 1940

He tried to join as a Telegraphist Air Gunner (TAG). However, he had left school aged 14 and didn’t have the mathematical skills, so he was given extra education which allowed him to become a TAG, initially flying in a Swordfish biplane.

An original member of the 849 squadron, after a night out he unwittingly volunteered to sail to America on both the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. In America, he trained as an air gunner on Avenger planes and accompanied them back to Britain. Initially feeling OK after a crash, Dad returned on an Atlantic convoy but was seriously ill and was transferred to Haslar Hospital.

On recovery, he joined the 810 squadron. Amongst planes that he flew in was the dangerously under-powered Barracuda. Unable to fly during the D day landings due to accidental broken wrist, Dad could only help in the control tower in Lee on Solent. He was very upset at the time, but not in later years.

Following VE day he was transferred to Crail to prepare to fight Japan. After the war he was sent to Malta, but had very little to do.

Joined the Australian Royal Navy in 1949

Not enjoying life out of the Navy, Dad signed up to for 6 years. He trained in Ireland and St Mirren in Cornwall and sailed on HMAS Sydney to Australia in 1951. Now an observer he flew in various planes. One of their tasks was to clear the area before the atomic bomb tests just off the Australian coast.

Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm in 1955-1967

As well as being on the Eagle and Hermes, he was based in Lee on Solent, Lossimouth, Culdrose, and Yeovilton working as an aircraft handler and in the control tower. He spent time in Malaya during the conflict.

Merchant Navy and RFA 1967-1984

Dad retrained as a Seaman and sailed on several ships including the Atlantic Conveyor and Cable Ships. Later joining the RFA, sailing on a number of ships as a deck store keeper and was involved in the Falkland’s conflict on the RFA Tidepool, being under attack whilst refuelling the Army in San Carlos water, and breaking away from refuelling HMS Glamorgan when under an Exocet attack, all ahead of his 61st birthday.


If you have any remembrances of John please email it to me at captain.pat@rfaa.uk and I will post them on this page. I am also looking for photographs of Walter for this piece and the RFA Association Gallery and Archive, If you have one please email it to me.