Derek James IEng AMRAeS
Former Group Commandant of No. 3 Group Oxford passed away on February 7th 2016. His distinguished career in the RAF and ROC spanned 41 years. He served as a Seaborne Observer in 1944 for which he was awarded the French Legion of Honour.
A Memorial Service for Derek will be held in Gloucester Cathedral on Thursday 25th February at 2.15 p.m.
AVM John Howe CB CBE AFC RAF Former Commandant ROC
John Howe was born in South Africa and joined the South African Air Force in the 1950's. He saw active service in Korea and Suez and became a very successful pilot. He passed away peacefully at his home in Norfolk on January 27th. 2016.
Read his distinguished career via this link AVM John Howe RAF
Roy was born in Ballemena in 1938 and joined the ROC in 1954. Serving initially on Cloughmills Post in 31 Group Belfast, he later transferred to Larne Post in 1956, where he was promoted to Chief Observer. Moving to Manchester with his work in 1962, he transferred initially to Shorlton-cum-Hardy Post in 16 Group Shrewsbury, and later to Knutsford Post in the same Group. Following another career move to Slough in 1980, Roy transferred once again, this time to the NRC at Northwood where he served until stand down in 1995.
He attended 13 ROC Camps, and achieved 25 Master Test passes. In addition to the Strike Command Certificate awarded to him in 1993, Roy was awarded the ROC medal and two clasps for his 41 years’ unbroken service.
Roy was a founder member of the ROC Association and put his computer skills to good use when he set up the original ROCA Website in 2001. This he continued to do until 2011 when he stood down as Webmaster.
Jean Hakon of 7 Group Bedford After suffering from the effects of a stroke last year, Jean passed peacefully away on the 21st of April 2015 aged 85. She served for a time as an Observer in Crew 1, but left the Corps when she took up full time employment as the Group Typist at Group Headquarters. She was later promoted to Group Clerical Officer and retired in 1987. Jean was very loyal to the Corps and well liked by everyone who knew her. Her funeral was held at her village church of St. Owens in Bromham, where she was a regular member of the congregation..
Bill Farries BEM 22 Group Bill passed away on 24th March 2015 after a short illness. He was in his 90th year. His Service began in World War 2 and spanned almost 48 years. For more details click here.
R J B (Nobby) Hickling BEM of 15 Group Lincoln Former Chief Observer Nobby Hickling passed away on the 30th March 2015 after a short illness. He was a great character and a notable bee keeper. He was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to Duck Breeding and Production whilst working for Cherry Valley Poultry Farms in Caistor Lincolnshire. Nobby's funeral Service will take place at Caistor Parish Church at 12 noon on April 17th 2015.
George Maughan MBE Chief Warning Officer and latterly Group Controller, in No 7 Group Bedford died on Monday March 23rd 2015 at 08.42 very peacefully at Boarbank Hall Nursing Home, Allithwaite, Cumbria.
There will be a Service of Thanksgiving at St Pauls Church, Grange over Sands, LA11 6AZ on Tuesday April 7th at 12.00 and afterwards at the Grange Hotel. He leaves a son Douglas and daughter Carol and their families, his wife Maude died several years ago.
George had the honour of demonstrating the joys of Display B to HM The Queen when she Dedicated the Banner at RAF Bentley Priory in 1966. The photograph appears in the October-December 1966 edition of the Recognition Journal.
Anne Bonham of Bedford Group
It is with great sadness that we report the death of Anne, who suffered a massive stroke on 9th March 2015 and passed away the following morning in Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
Anne served in the Corps from 1973 until Stand-down, rising to Post instructor in the rank of Leading Woman observer on 37 Post Riseley. She was awarded the ROC medal in 1985 and the Group Commandants Certificate in 1991.
When the ROCA was formed in 1987 she became the first Hon Secretary in Bedford Group and used her expertise and experience to help formulate the Constitution of the Association. Anne also produced the Bedford Group newsletter from issue 1 in April 1988 until 1995.
Anne was a stalwart of the Group Committee, helping the various Chairmen run things, until she stood down in 1996. She reckoned 10 years was long enough and someone else was needed, but continued to help out behind the scenes and particularly at AGM’s. Later she gave her unstinting support, to her husband Bruce, with his work as Group Treasurer
In 1992 Anne joined the British Red Cross and served in various capacities until 2011, ever the volunteer, she was quiet, self-effacing and dedicated to helping others. She was a great loss to the Association, and will be sorely missed by all who knew her. Annes funeral took place on Monday March 30th at the village Church. Rest in Peace Anne.
John Hoare ex Observer Commander
John Hoare passed away on the 1st of March 2015 at the age of 85. John was a full time ROC officer, serving in Lincoln, Bristol Groups. He was Area Staff Officer at Metropolitan Area, and later appointed as Deputy Area Commandant at Western Area taking over from Geoff Paine the1980's. He moved to Chard on his retirement.
John's funeral was held on the 19th of March at Taunton Dene Crematorium at 14.30. His wife is very ill in Hospital.
Alan Bacon of Colchester Group. Alan passed away in a care home in Colchester 11/02/15 following a period of ill health.
He is survived by his daughter Valerie and son Trevor and their families. As far as I am aware Alan served in the RAF where his nick name was 'Jammie Maxi'.
He served in the ROC in his home town of Colchester and was one of the last serving members of the ROC. He acted as standard bearer at many final parades for the Corps and donated item of ROC interest to the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum, Flixton Suffolk. Matthew Hodder
Frank Tilley Maidstone Group
It is with regret that we inform you of the death of Frank Tilley, No. 1 Group ROC, long time member of the Corps and for many years Chairman of the Mid Kent branch of No.1 Group ROCA His Service was held at St. Margaret's Church Barming, Kent on the 25th March 2015 , Robin Glover
David Reid 30 Group Inverness
It is with regret that we record the death of David George Stuart Reid at the age of 86. Always known as “George” in the Corps he passed away peacefully at Raigmore Hospital Inverness on the 9th of February 2015.
After service in the RAF & and the Civil Defence, he joined the Fort William post rising to Chief Observer before becoming the Group Officer in the Lochaber district. Work eventually took him to Inverness whereupon he continued to serve as a Group Officer until reaching the age limit for Officers. He then carried on as the Chief Observer on the Dingwall Post until Stand-down.
George was a long serving member of both the ROC and ROCA and despite failing health he remained a loyal member until his death. During his funeral service George’s love of aircraft and the ROC was recorded and also that his Officers Uniform still hung in the Wardrobe - just in case it was ever needed again!
Jim Watts, Former Deputy Group Commandant of 6 Group Norwich, passed away in January 2015. No further details are available at this time.
Linda Marsh of 6 Group Norwich passed away January 2015. Her funeral will be held at Colney Wood on Tuesday 24th February at 11.00 a.m. Family flowers only and - at Linda's request - please don't wear black.
Freda Graves (Nee Lacey) passed away on 16th of January 2015 after a short illness. Freda joined the ROC back in the early 1960's, serving on 10 Post Winterton, in 15 Group Lincoln. After her marriage she transferred to 20 Group York where she served until Stand Down in 1991.
Her funeral took place on 4th February at Langdale End village Church, followed by cremation at Scarborough. John Fletcher
Les Mitton MBE former Group Commandant No 8 Group Coventry.
Passed away on 12th November 2014. He was a well respected man and a true volunteer in every respect of the word.
In addition to his many years in the ROC and ROCA, Les was a member of the Board of Trustees at his local hospital, and a stalwart helper in his community for decades.
His funeral was held on Friday 5th December at 1.00 p.m. at St. Teresa of Lisleux Catholic Church Kingsbury Drive, Aspley, Nottingham.
John Murphy OBE Former Chief of Staff at Bentley Priory
Passed away on the 20th of October 2014. Details here
Les Leney 1 Group Maidstone. Well known Seaborne member, Champion of the ROC and its Heritage. Passed away 7 October 2014. Eulogy given at his funeral Click here
Paddy Harris 16 Group Shrewsbury. Former Group Secretary, Paddy Harris (Ex - Crew 1) passed away recently. She was very well known across ROCA and, until recent years, attended most reunions and national events. Her funeral will be held at Shrewsbury Crematorium on Friday 25th April 2015 at 13:45
Jim Penfold 01 Group Maidstone. Former Group Officer Observer Lieutenant Jim Penfold passed away recently aged 93 years. I have no further information at the moment.
Donald Skeggs 10 Group Exeter Click here
William Edward Wilson 30 Group Inverness
It is with great sadness that we record the death of Willie Wilson at the age of 57 after a short illness. Willie was for many years the Chief Observer on the Mallaig Post before becoming a full time officer. Initially he served as GSO in 16 Group Shrewsbury before returning to 30 Group Inverness where he remained as GSO until stand-down. Willie had a varied career and as well as working with ROC he was employed on the Railway and the Crofters Commission. However, he always had a love of all things maritime and after stand-down he returned to being a volunteer Coastguard and at the time of his death was the Deputy Station Officer in Inverness as well fitting in a day job as a Berthing Master with Caledonian Cruisers.
Willie’s funeral was held in Inverness on the 31st March and was attended by several former Corps members. HM Coastguard also provided an escort for his cortege as well as a Guard of Honour. A volunteer to the end Willie was a very popular individual, always ready with a cheery smile and a humorous quip. He will be greatly missed by his family and all those who knew and worked with him. March 2014
Murray Whitcher 12 Group Bristol Click here
funeral service - Photo gallery Click here
Henry Kenward, No 1 Group Maidstone.
Henry - a former member of Cranbrook post – died on the 18th September 2013.
He passed away in a Nursing Care Centre at Hitchin aged 91.
His Funeral Service is being held at St Nicholas Church, Norton, Letchworth at 9.30 a.m. on Friday 4th Oct 2013.
The Burial Service will be held at 2.00 p.m. at St Margarets Church, Horsmonden, Kent on the same day.
Donations in memory of Henry may be sent to the Royal Observer Corps Benevolent Fund, c/o Terry Giles, 120 Perry Hall Road, Orpington, Kent BR6 0EF.
Brenda and Frank Tilley will be attending the Burial Service and all are welcome.
Contact Frank Tilley membership secretary 01622 728223
Arthur Basford 01 Group Maidstone.
Yet again this year I have sad news for you. I learned this morning reading the obituaries in The Kent Messenger that Arthur Basford, former 1. Group ROC Chief Warning Officer died 30th May 2013. He was an Honorary Member of South Kent Branch. His funeral is for Tuesday 18th June at Eastbourne. More details from Funeral Directors 01323 736446.
Frank Tilley Membership Secretary.
John Simmonds 7 Group Bedford Details here
Alf Hunter 15 Group Lincoln.
I am writing to inform you of the passing of Alf Hunter who served in Fiskerton control and on Sturton post before its closure in 1968.Alf known as Algy had served with the RAF pre war and was taken POW on Crete subsequently being a POW until the end of hostilities .He took part in the long march of POWs from Poland to Germany in the long winter of 1945 under very harsh conditions .I am not sure of the date he joined the ROC but he served until the 1980s. I am not sure if Alf was a member of the Association but I am sure there will be ex Fiskerton members who will remember him and may like to know of his passing .
Sincerely Chris Cock (C/Obs 6/47 Mundford Post Nfk )
Hamish Carr 28 Group Dundee Observer Commander J R D (‘Hamish’) Carr
It is with deep regret that we announce the death on Monday 29 April 2014, after a long fight with cancer, of 28 Group Royal Observer Corp’s last Group Commandant, ‘Hamish’ Carr at the age of 76.
His funeral at Abernyte Parish church very well attended by his ex-colleagues and friends.
John Mead 07 Group Bedford
Maurice Stubbs Richardson 22 Group Carlisle
Dilys Allen 16 Group Shrewsbury
Sarah Cornelius 14 Group Winchester
George McDonald 28 Group Dundee
Freda Styles former Admin Officer 15 Group Lincoln February 17 2013
Former Senior Admin Officer HQ Bentley Priory, passed away peacefulluy in Llandudno on 25th October 2016.
Service record here
Norman Greig MBE
Observer Commander Norman Greig passed away at his home on the 11th April 2016. His exemplary ROC service spanned 36 years from 1955, when he enrolled as a spare time Post Observer in Aberdeen Group, and ended at ROC Headquarters Bentley Priory in 1995 when the Corps was stood down. His unique record of service was recognised with the award of the MBE.
He was appointed as a Vice President of the ROC Association and thus completed a record of 61 years.
Normans Obituary can be read here
GEORGE WOODS Former Chairman 7 Group Bedford ROCA and ex Observer Lieutenant ROC. Passed away May 2016 aged 91
ALAN PRICE TALBOT Former Southern Area Commandant died October 18th 2016
DERRICK BALLINGTON Former Commandant No 2 Group Horsham died 13th November 2016
He was Group Commandant of No 2 Group from 1973 - 1983.
As Observer Officer Ballington he was the Junior Officer selected to receive the Sovereigns Banner from Her Majesty the Queen at the Royal Review held at RAF Bentley Priory in 1966.
Following his retirement he became active member of No 2 Group ROCA and was their President for many years.
SID DEEDMAN Former Metropolitan Area Commandant died 8th April 2017
Many of you will remember Sid, especially those in Metropolitan and Southern Areas.
After a long illness he passed away on Saturday 8th April 2017.
His funeral, took place: Tuesday 25th April at 11.30 in the Ringwood Parish Church.
IAN BURROWS Standard Bearer No 2 Group Horsham After many months of suffering Ian passed peacefully away on Sunday the 16th of April 2017. He was a stalwart member of No 2 Group and well known nationally for his attendance at memorial services where he often carried the Group and National Standards.
CAROL BAYLEY Former Crew officer No 8 Group Coventry Passed away peacefully on 5th July 2017
Her Funeral service was held on 25th July at Cannon Hill Chapel, Canley Crematorium
attended by many of her ROCA friends from Midland Area.
A tribute to Carol here
PETER COLEMAN 15 GROUP
One of Lincoln Groups stalwart members dies a the age of 88
Peter Jex pays tribute Link here
SHREWSBURY GROUPS OLDEST MEMBER AGE 105
Chief Observer Dickie Price who served in the ROC during WW2 has passed away at the age of 105. His funeral was held on November 7th. 2017
Read his story here
JIM FRASER Former Obs/Lt 30 Group Inverness. Passed away in November 2017
Read his Obituary here
Former DGC Colchester and Winchester Groups
Read his obituary here
KEN WHITFIELD MBE Former Group Commandant 23 Group Durham Read his obituary here
HUGH DORAN 25 Group Ayr
Former Chief Observer of Alexandria Post passed away on December 14th 2017
Read his Group tribute here
JON LAYNE Former Group Officer in No 8 Group Coventry.
Passed away on February 17th aged 82. Jon enrolled in the ROC in May 1971 and served for 20 years up to stand down in 1991.
More details here
PETER LONGDEN former DGC 15 Group Lincoln passed away 27th July 2018. He joined the ROC in the early 70's as a spare time volunteer and was promoted to the whole time ranks in 1981.
JIM PARSONAGE Former Group Officer in Cornwall passed away on 28th July 2018.
He was well known for his organised trips to the Paris Air Shows Link here
FRANK SAUNSTON stalwart member of 15 Group Lincoln. Ex ATC and RAF Aircrew. Well respected and renowned for his fund raising.
Truro ROCA member, Geoff Paine, died on 29 August 2019 in hospital at Rickmansworth, Herts. The funeral took place at West Herts Crematorium Chapel, Garston, Watford on Monday 16 September. The chapel was full with family and friends, the coffin was draped with the RAFA flag and his ROC Officer’s cap was on top. Five standards were paraded including those from 2, 7 and 10 Groups ROCA, RAFA and Royal British Legion. The 10 Group ROCA standard was carried by Sue Fenton of the Croxley Green, RBL. Representatives from RAFA, RBL and the ROCA were present. 10 Group was represented by Lawrence and Chris Holmes. Other ROCA people included 2 Group Chairman Pam Saunders with standard bearer Geoff Saunders, Jenny Major, Edwina Holden, national Heritage Officer and Mike Quincey, 7 Group standard bearer. Link here.
Tony Whittle Bedford Group
Tony died in hospital on the morning of 5th April 2020 having succumbed to Corona virus less than a year after the death of his beloved wife Barbara. He was 82. Tony enrolled in the Royal Observer Corps on 25th January 1960 in No 5 Group Watford, serving on C2 Post. Watford Group was closed in 1968 and came under the umbrella of No 7 Group Bedford, the Post becoming K3 and later 52 Post.
Tony was promoted to Chief Observer on 1st January 1976 and Observer Officer to serve as Group Officer on 22nd August 1977, being promoted to Observer Lieutenant on 1st October 1984.
At the stand-down of the Corps Tony transferred to HMS Warrior, the Nuclear Reporting Cell at RAF Northwood, reverting to the rank of Observer on 8th August 1992 until final stand down on 31st December 1995.
For motre tributes click this link
Pat Rodley, Exeter Group aged 90 years, died in Pottles Residential Home in Exminster on Thursday 24 September 2020.
A long serving and much loved member of the ROC
rising through the ranks to Obs/Lt. Read her full obituary link here
We are saddenedto report that our dear friend and colleague Chris Howard has passed away after losing his battle with cancer. He will be remembered not only for his exemplary ROC career but also for his stewardship of the ROC Benevolent Fund after Stand Down and it’s subsequentintegration into the RAFBF a few years ago. Link here
Stalwart member of 22 Group Carlisle passed away
December 2020. Founder member and Western Area Representative on the National Committee. Sadly missed. Link here
Former Senior Officer Vic Harsley passed away in December after suffering from dementia.
Vic was a highly regarded and most professional officer in the Corps. Following his service in the Royal Marines, he became a draughtsman at Headquarters Royal Observer Corps at Bentley Priory During his time at HQROC he enrolled as a fulltime officer and was appointed Group Staff Officer in Oxford Group. His officer qualities soon became apparent and he was appointed Deputy Group Commandant at Oxford.
He was later appointed Deputy Commandant Midland Area in 1991. Link here