Crossed the Bar

Second Officer(E) Richard (Dick) Bessant RFA(Retd) Crossed the Bar.

Sitrep 2 (160)

It is with so much sadness that I announce that Second Officer(E) Dick Bessant RFA(Retd) Crossed the Bar aged 75 on Thursday 24th January 2013.

I have no more information at the moment but will post any more details when they become available.

Dicks’s family wish for the funeral and other arrangements to be a very private affair and of course we respect their wishes, we will, of course always be here, should they need any help in this difficult time.

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

Second Officer(E) Dick Bessant. 1938 ~ 2013


If you have a remebrance of Dick please e-mail me at and I will append it to this page.

Jon Oliver Writes

Dick Bessant RFA (Retd)

I’m very sad to learn that Dick has died.  Having been fortunate to have known him for some years, I’ll always remember him for the unassuming, kind hearted and good humoured man that he was.  His (usually) quiet spoken manner wasn’t to be misinterpreted however!    These are just a couple of my memories of Dick.
In 1974 Dick was 4th Engineer on Tarbatness.  One night whilst alongside in the Stores Basin, Dick was one of several of us heading up the road in Sembawang.  Starting out with a couple of Tigers on the Strip, the run ashore was to continue with fast black rides into town for top nosh at Fatty’s followed by late evening entertainment down Bugis Street.  Even in those days, opportunities for such runs ashore weren’t quite as common as they perhaps (by all accounts) once had been.
Unfortunately, very early on in the proceedings one of our number, (a fellow cadet), slipped and gashed his head.  Not wanting to miss out on what lay ahead, most of us tried to play the injury down, telling our shipmate that he’d be fine once the bleeding stopped.  Dick however, who was the least obliged of any of us to forego his run ashore, would have none of that.  Being clearly concerned for the young guy (who he hardly knew at the time) Dick took care of him and got him back to the ship whilst the rest of us selfishly carried on.
Some years later (and in far less exotic climes) during the latter part of 1982, Dick was 3rd Engineer and 4-8 watch-keeper on Fort Austin.  I kept the 12-4 and, as almost all of our time during the trip was spent at sea, my contact with Dick was mainly limited to handover periods.  Frequently, once handover was completed we’d engage in a bit of lamp swinging during which Dick would sometimes like to remind me of some of my wrongdoings of earlier years.  A fairly robust exchange of expletives would often accompany my exit from the MCR but always, always in great fun and Dick with a glint in his eye.
By 1991 Dick was suffering badly with knee problems.  His discomfort was plain to see as he struggled with the engine room ladders in Brambleleaf but he didn’t complain.  He paid off that trip in a bit of a poor way, but cheerily vowing to stick to LSLs (as best he could) for future appointments.  I was somewhat taken aback therefore when Dick came back to relieve me on the same ship just a couple of months later.  Reliefs were thin on the ground (even by normal standards) at the time and he could have had a choice of ships.  Without making much of the matter when I questioned him, Dick simply said that he knew I was due off.  I’ll always be grateful to Dick for his example and for his kind friendship.

Jon Oliver