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We had a successful Reunion dinner with 14 survivors present and a total attendance of 60. We were honoured to have both our President, the Earl of Gainsborough and Lady Rosemary Griffin with us. Many thanks are also due to all those others who have very kindly made donations when returning their attendance chits.
Our Annual General Meeting was held during the dinner and those present voted to re-elect the existing members of the committee for another year. In addition Bob Woodgate volunteered to join the committee and was duly elected. The chairman said that the funds remained adequate. The only other item of business was a proposal by Derek Potts and Diane Coleman that the Association should write to the Ministry of Defence asking that one of the next aircraft carriers to be built should be named HMS BARHAM, which was duly carried by all those present including Lord Barham himself. The letter has been sent.
The Dean of Westminster Abbey, The Very Rev'd Dr. Wesley Carr has kindly agreed to our next remembrance and wreath laying service being held on Saturday 25 November 2000. As usual those attending the service should arrive at the West door and gather in the seated waiting area of the nave between 2.30 and 2.40 pm. To enable staff to identify members of the Association, medals should be worn and those having badges should wear them. I will bring a few badges to the service for anybody else who would like one. Abbey staff will direct members to the choir or the transepts for evensong. This will be followed by our remembrance service around the nave altar. If you would like to lay the wreath please let me know. The book of remembrance will be open after the service.
As the Abbey staff wish to have some idea of the numbers attending please would you complete and return the attached slip. We shall again ask the Union Jack Club if we can meet there after the service. For security purposes they need a nominal list so please print the names of all your guests on the slip.
Jimmy Annandale's speech machine packed up sometime ago and we have been trying to get it replaced through the British Legion who control the fund set up by Mrs Cooke for the dependants of those who died. His carers have at last reported that he has a new machine.
If anyone who was on board at the time wishes to receive a Greek Campaign medal the address to write to is: Defence Attaché, Hellenic Embassy, 1A Holland Park, London W11. Enclose a photocopy of your Service Certificate to authenticate the request.
I have received two letters reporting the existence of private memorials to individuals lost with the ship. The first is a window in St Julian's church, Norwich to the memory of Frank Burnett who was the Pardre on board. He had been a priest in the church from 1931 to 1939. The second is a plaque to Able Seaman George E Goddard in the village church at Barham in Cambridge. He was born in York and had moved there as a young child when his father found work in the area. He had served in two ships HMS York, surviving its sinking in Suda Bay and was then lost in HMS Barham. Also through the internet I have heard of a plaque in Harford church, South Devon to Surgeon Lt Arthur Erskine Sherwell. I wonder how many other private memorials there are to those lost in the sinking.
Sara O'Donoghue a Granddaughter of Surgeon Commander ER Sorley who was lost in the sinking has set up a website with an HMS Barham Survivors Association home page with lots of information about the ship. It includes a guest book where visitors can sign in. You can find the website at www.watersideweb.co.uk/Barham/new. She has had an enquiry from Roy Billard who would like to hear from any survivor who knew his uncle A/AB Frank Osborne who was lost in the sinking. Also Thomas Harding would like to hear from anybody who knew his brother A/B Alan James Harding who was also lost. She has also heard from Pauline Johnston in Adelaide whose uncle Boy Freddy Cheeseman was lost in the sinking but his brother Harry left the ship before the sinking and survived the war.
Andy Cottingham from Havant contacted her and has asked to join the Association his grandfather AB Wilfred Cottingham was lost in the sinking it having been his first ship over 20 years before. Does anyone remember him? Andy's father used to come to the Westminster Service but died some years ago. Another enquiry has come from John Wynn in Oakville, Ontario who says his cousin Jack Stones survived the sinking but was subsequently lost in HMS Jupiter.
It is with sadness that I have to list those that have died since the last newsletter. At the dinner I reported two deaths. Lieutenant Commander Nelson Abraham and Lieutenant Commander Gervace Lang who left the ship in November 1941 as a Midshipman. Since then two members have died, Ron Colbern DSM on 3 June, having survived the sinking he was awarded the DSM for gallantry in HMS Royalist. Bert Calcutt who left the ship in 1939 and took a keen interest in the Association died on 8 July in Capetown, South Africa He was given a naval farewell and his ashes will be scattered at Arundel where he was brought up. Also a survivor who was a lapsed member Alfred Hobbs died on 6 August. He lived near Ted Sibley at Emsworth and was a Temporary Acting Leading Seaman at the time of the sinking. Ken Gibson has informed us that Hans-Diedrich von Tiesenhausen who commanded U331 which sank HMS Barham died in Vancouver on 17 August.
We have two new associate members Commander Martin Marks OBE who is the housing manager for CESSAC and Mrs Maureen Woods whose uncle Musician William R Arscott RM was lost.
Next year's Reunion dinner will be held on the Saturday 19 May in the Royal Sailors Home Club, Queen street, Portsmouth.
Many thanks for all your letters and contributions.
Please complete this slip by Saturday 4 November and return it to MK Stratton-Brown, 21 Monks Way, Hill Head, Fareham, Hants, PO14 3LU.
I shall/shall not be attending the Memorial Service in Westminster Abbey. I shall be bringing...............family members/guests I shall/shall not be attending the Union Jack Club. My guest(s) names is/are (please print) ........................................................... ...........................................................
Signed .................................. ...................................................................................................................................
| last updated:
13 July 2013