Crossed the Bar

It is with so much sadness that I report that Second Officer (Medical Ops) Ian Wattley RFA Retd., (Member 0712)  crossed the bar on Wednesday 20th January 2021 aged 72.

Ian’s simple cremation will take place either  today 27th January or tomorrow  at a crematorium near his home in County Wexford ROI, Covid restrictions will apply.

Ian’s family have expressed the wish that any donations, if desired, should be made in Ian’s name to the RFA Association via Paypal using

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

If you have any remembrances of Ian please email it to me at and I will post them on this page. Alternatively you can post to our facebook page “RFA Crossed the Bar”. I am also looking for photographs of Ian for this piece and the RFA Association Gallery and Archive, if you have one please email it to me.

Second Officer Ian Wattley (Medical Ops) 1949 ~ 2021

Ian Lindsay writes

Ian started with the RFA by helping out in ships hospitals and doing some first aid training. In ‘95/6 he saw a gap in the RFA infrastructure and that things were changing. To that end he persuaded the hierarchy to take on former RN Medical Assistants.  Initially 3 were employed, former RN Medical Branch senior rates with the combined experience of over 66 years in the Royal Navy. All with various and broad experiences of maritime medicine and running a ship’s medical facility.  Within a couple of years a few more were employed. As the number of ships in which medical staff became a permanent billet the numbers grew until every ship apart from one, at the time, carried a medic. This would have amounted to around 25+ before the fleet started to shrink post 2010. As well as one in RFA HQ there was another ashore in FOST.  This enabled RFA medical staff and teams to be assessed on RFA routines instead of RN.  The last Surgeon Chief Officer left to join the RN and Ian, as 2nd Officer, became head of branch, RFA Med Ops.  Ian was not only instrumental in building the RFA Medical Branch but getting us the equipment and accessories to augment a ships medical department to equate our facilities to those of the RN.  He got us on to remote medicine courses to increase and hone our medical skills as well as satisfy the requirements of the MCA.
Ian left the RFA prematurely on medical grounds some time ago with the same condition to which he has finally succumbed.  He was not only a colleague but a good friend who will be a miss to the lives he touched in the RN, RNR, and RFA.
Condolences to his family.  RIP Ian.
I don’t know if Ian was a member of the association but hopefully someone will be able to post this in ‘RFA Crossed the Bar’ group.
Many thanks,
Iain Lindsay
Former Medical Technician RFA
(One of the originals and the last of those original 4 (including Ian) to retire.)