At the end of November, Karl Webb, Hon. Secretary of Huntingdon & District Branch of the Royal Naval Association (RNA) was contacted by Alan Scott, District Chairman of the Royal British Legion (RBL), who informed Karl of the sad ‘Crossing’ of Mr Jack Boatman DSM. Alan said that he was asked by the Kimbolton Branch Secretary (RBL) to contact the RNA and see if they would be able to attend alongside the RBL (Jack’s family had requested RBL attendance at his funeral). Karl said that the Huntingdon Branch would attend if possible, and on confirming the availability of our Standard Bearer (and Chairman, Bill Small) informed Alan (and Bryan Jones, District Secretary, RBL) that Bill and Karl would attend the Service. Keith Ridley, Chairman of St Neots & District Branch had also confirmed that their Branch Standard would also be paraded at the funeral.
Bryan contacted local RBL and RNA Branches and provided the details of the date and timings of the service, he also gave further information on Jack for those who had not met him, Bryan told us that:
Mr Jack Boatman DSM Huntingdonshire District Vice President [Royal British Legion]…passed away on Monday 18th November at the age of 89. During WW2, Jack served with distinction in the Royal Navy and was awarded the DSM for service in small boats such as MTB’s. Post WW2 Jack devoted much of his life as an active member of the Legion working for the welfare of ex-servicemen and their dependents. Jack was a member of many RBL local, regional and national committees as well as filling most of the posts, including chairman and president of the Huntingdonshire County (as it then was) committee. Jack served many years on the board of directors of Halsey House, the Royal British Legion care home in Cromer, Norfolk and he was instrumental in the development of that home.1
So, on Tuesday 10th December, Standard Bearers and representatives of the RBL and RNA arrived at Bedford Crematorium to pay our respects and to parade their Standards at his funeral service.
The RNA and RBL veterans gathered in the car park, with Standards from Huntingdonshire branches (including the RBL’s District Standard).
Prior to the arrival of Jack, the Branch Standard Bearers took their positions at the front of the hall, the District Standard would be carried in front of Jack’s coffin as he is brought in, accompanied by his family.
A private service was held for Jack’s family, the representatives of the RBL and RNA remained throughout, paying their respects and lowering the Standards for the Committal. After the service, the RBL and RNA members made their way to the Church of St Andrew, Kimbolton for the Service of Thanksgiving.
The church was already filling up with Jack’s friends, the Standard Bearers took their place outside of the church door, they would follow Jack’s family into the church and take up position in the aisle throughout the Service.
The Service of Thanksgiving, conducted by the Reverend Ron Lancaster MBE, began with a Welcome and a Bidding prayer before the first hymn, Eternal father, strong to save (for those in peril on the sea). This was followed by readings, tributes and prayers in memory of Jack. A fitting way to celebrate his life and achievements.
After the Service of Thanksgiving, all attendees were invited to Mandeville Hall for refreshments and a chance to chat with Jack’s family and friends.
Jack is pictured above in his role as Vice President, Kimbolton Branch on 9 March 2012 for the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Branch formation.2
Rest in Peace Jack Boatman DSM. (1924-2013)
Click on the first image in this gallery to view a selection of photographs taken during the day (no photographs were taken during the morning or afternoon services)
- Bryan Jones (2013) Letter to Branch Secretaries, RE: Mr Jack Boatman DSM [↩]
- Royal British Legion (2012) Four Counties Newsletter, [online] Available from: http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CEMQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.britishlegion.org.uk%2Fmedia%2F51135%2FFourCountiesApril2012.pdf&ei=XACpUoeVGtPX7AakkYCADw&usg=AFQjCNEputo9rlI0pC133huKrRpjvARtDw&bvm=bv.57799294,bs.1,d.ZG4&cad=rja [accessed 12 December 2013]. [↩]