All of the Obituaries that we are aware of for 2018 are listed below. A complete record of Obituaries dating back to 2005 is available - please contact the Old Pangbournian team if you would like to read any from previous years.
- T. Hickman (56-60)
- A.R. Gleadow (52-54)
- R.J. Fidler (44-48)
- R.D. Small
- C.J. Stevenson (52-56)
- P. Broke-Smith (54-59)
Stuart (Toby) Hickman (56-60) died at Lincoln County Hospital on 25th April 2018. He was 75 years old. During his time at Pangbourne he was in Macquarie, before leaving the Nautical College to join Union Castle Line – mv Kenilworth with Peter Fleming (56-60) – during the seaman’s strike in London in August 1960.
Two years later he came ashore and joined the British South Africa Police in Southern Rhodesia in 1962 and remained in the BSAP until Zimbabwean independence in 1980. Forced into retirement, he returned to the UK in 1982 and made a third career for himself in the security industry until he retired in the early 2000s. His last post was as Security Adviser to the Corps of Commissionaires.
In recent years he was dogged by ill-health which restricted his mobility. “This getting older business is not much fun,” he observed in 2015.
Lt. Cdr. Andrew Gleadow RN (52-54) died on 22nd October 2017 after a painful illness bravely borne – he was ten days short of his 79th birthday. He leaves a widow Marion. His friend Peter King wrote the following obituary in Fly Navy, the journal of the Fleet Air Arm Officers’ Association:
“Andrew left Pangbourne and joined the Royal Navy as a 16-year old ‘Dart Entry’ in 1955 and joined St. Vincent House. He specialized in Engineering and moved on to the Navy’s Engineering College at Manadon in the late-1950s. In those days steam was the source of all power in the RN and to gain his charge certificate, he joined a BAY class sloop in Hong Kong. After his boiler bricks fell down when the ship hit the jetty rather hard, it is believed that Andrew decided that Air Engineering was a safer (and probably cleaner) option. So after selection for Maintenance Test Pilot Training, it was necessary for him to complete an operational tour on the aircraft on which he would be mainly employed. He was appointed to RNAS Lossiemouth for the Naval Air Strike School in 1963.
Successful completion of Operational Flying Training on the Buccaneer, led to an appointment to 800 NAS (Naval Air Squadron) in HMS Eagle, then deployed in the Far East. 800 NAS won the coveted Australia Shield in 1965 for ‘Achievement of the Highest Operational Readiness and for the development of the aircraft’s Ground Attack System.’ Andrew and I were crewed up in NAS 800 and we were to fly together for the next few months, ending with a spectacular ditching in the South China Sea when XN958 was recovering to Eagle after the ship and Air Group were scrambled from the depths of an AMP in Singapore for the first Beira Patrol (off Mozambqiue, following Rhodesia’s unliateral declaration of independence in 1965). Several sets of golf clubs and a load of aircrew baggage entered the water with this aircraft which did nothing for our popularity within the Squadron! Andrew went on to enjoy a very successful appointment at Lossiemouth as the Station Maintenance Test Pilot. After the CVA-01 decision sent the fixed wing Fleet Air Arm into near-terminal decline, he took early retirement.
Securing his Civil Pilot’s Licences, he joined several other ‘refugees’ from Lossiemouth and spent many happy years flying for Peregrine Air Services out of Inverness Airport. Settling in Nairn with his new wife Marion, they raised three children and maintained a legendary level of hospitality. When Andrew’s time with Peregrine was over, the family moved south to Chawton and he enjoyed a very successful career with Air Claims, an aviation underwriting company, until he retired in 2005 to tend his very productive garden. The word ‘enjoy’ is, appropriately, repeated many times in this story of Andrew’s life.”
[The same issue, Vol 45 No. 1, of Fly Navy also carries the reprint of an article by Andrew Gleadow, Flight Deck Yarns, first published in Marine Quarterly in 2015]
Commander Robert James Fidler (44-48) MBE RN died peacefully on January 20th, 2018, aged 87. A funeral service took place at Wessex Vale Crematorium, West End, Southampton on February 7th.
Cdr Fidler sent his son Simon to the College. He writes: “Cdr Robert (Bob) Fidler MBE [40-44] died on 20th January 2018, aged 87. He entered Dartmouth on leaving the College, and his early naval career was mainly ship based (HMS Kenya, Gurkha and Eagle) before switching to shore postings starting in Bahrain in 1969 before returning to the UK, where the remainder of his RN career was spent in the Portsmouth area (HM Dockyard, HMS Collingwood, Whale Island and Excellent). He received an MBE in 1980.
“He left the Royal Navy in 1981 and subsequently joined the Royal Oman Navy, as Chief Staff Officer Logistics. He retired to West Meon in 1988, where he and his wife Day became very involved in the local community, and in particular in supporting the fundraising efforts for the RNLI. Following Day’s death in 2000, Bob remained an active figure in the area (still umpiring hockey for a few years), until latterly when he unfortunately was diagnosed with dementia.”
Simon (77-82 also ex Macquarie) now lives in the same village, Ashley Green, Bucks as does one of Bob’s OP classmates Courtney Edenborough (45-48), who remembers Bob as not being the most conforming of cadets, which came to no surprise to the Fidler family.
OP Society President Richard Shuttleworth (57-62) adds: “I joined HMS Gurkha in 1963 in Plymouth where Bob was the Supply Officer, and the ship had recently been commissioned before going round the UK and off to the Gulf based at HMS Jufair. Our Captain, a Commander and failed submariner, was a fiery tempered Irishman especially after a few glasses of John Jamieson, his tipple of choice. He bullied his officers, but Bob, who had little time for him, stood up to him. The rather unpopular man would come in to the Wardroom uninvited, which is not acceptable in the RN, and Cdr Fidler used to ask him politely who had invited him.
Lt Cdr Fidler, as we knew him, was a very competent Supply Officer and was always extremely kind to the two Midshipmen. He was friendly and amusing. In those days the RN had a tradition of drinking which is not so acceptable now and Bob could certainly hold his drink. I recall that once we visited Diego Suarez in Madagascar where the French Foreign Legion had been sent from Algeria to build an airfield as they were not welcome in mainland France. The rather thuggish officers attempted to get your father and the rest of us drunk in their Mess. On the way back to the ship one of their cars crashed and I remember having a glass or two with him on board seemingly completely sober wondering where everyone else was.
I was in Oman from 1976 and was delighted when Bob arrived there looking fit and slimmer but still the jolly person he always was. In later years we met occasionally at Pangbourne and he had changed very little. Suffice it to say that he was a popular person everywhere he went being quietly irreverent and non-conformist - as was the OP style in those days.”
Colin Stevenson (52-56), who died in December 2017, was at Pangbourne between 1952 and 1954 and “was an active participant in all College activities,” writes Ben Brundell (53-56). “A keen cricketer, he was an aggressive fast bowler, a strong swimmer and a more than average student. He had a good voice and was a member of choir for a long time and his height made him outstanding on the parade ground.
He joined P&O when he left the NCP and moved steadily up the ranks. In 1967 he decided to make a career change and he emigrated to Australia and joined the Australian National Line, eventually reaching the rank of Captain. He married his wife Nancy during that time and they had two children, Mark and Alexandra.
Returning to England in 1978, he left the sea and ran firstly a B&B in Somerset and then a hotel in Devon. Looking for further challenges he went to University, achieving first a Bachelor’s degree, then a Master’s and eventually a Doctorate in Maritime Business and Law. He lectured at Southampton Institute and later was appointed Dean at the Institute’s Athens Campus. He undertook several consultancy roles and ended his career as a Professor at the Centre for Maritime Studies at the University of Trinidad and Tobago, where he was highly respected as he had been throughout his life.
On retirement, he returned to his home in Lee on Solent with his wife Nancy and was never happier than when either watching or talking about cricket, for which he had a life-long passion. An impressive career, a strong family man and a good friend.”
Peter Broke-Smith (54-59) died of cancer on January 3, 2018. He was 76 and after time in the Merchant Navy with Port Line became a shipbroker in the City of London. His lifelong friend Timothy Rayment (54-58) writes:
“I took my seat in Devitt House in September 1954 and sat next to Peter Broke-Smith (54-58). We remained close friends until his sad death in January. After Port Jackson we both went up to Macquarie Division leaving in July 1958 when we both entered the Merchant Navy in Port Line. I came ashore in 1961 but Peter continued with a short period with Tate & Lyle and then the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
After about ten years at sea, in 1968 Peter joined Eggar Forrester, a shipbroking firm in London on the Baltic Exchange where I was working too. Thereafter he joined RB Hunt & Partners where he relocated to Tokyo, working closely with Nakamura, a Japanese company. On his return to London he set up Thornton Chartering, a very successful shipbroking firm. Thereafter he operated for a number of years as PBS Shipping, working closely with a number of Russian Shipping companies prior to establishing Anglo Georgian Shipping a pioneering partnership with the Georgian Shipping Company to assist that country to rebuild its merchant shipping fleet after the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Peter was a devoted father and proud grandfather and after retiring from shipbroking enjoyed living in the south of Portugal. On the eve of his 70th birthday he was diagnosed with cancer. He battled the disease for six and a half years battling and was taken from us on 3 January. I saw him briefly the day before he passed away and we shook hands to say goodbye, 63 years after our first meeting in Devitt House. We were Best Man to each other at our weddings and godfathers to each other’s children. A long, enduring friendship importantly nurtured by our time at the Nautical College Pangbourne.”
A Celebration of Peter’s life will be held in West London on Thursday 22nd March at 1p.m. at The Hillgate, 24 Hillgate Street, Notting Hill, London, W8 7SR. Should you wish to attend, please inform his son Tim via PBS@bonobo.co.uk