On Wednesday 26th August 2015, shipmates Karl Webb and Barbara Knowles joined Jim McKay, family and friends of shipmate Monica McKay, who sadly Crossed the Bar on Thursday 13th August. The Thanksgiving Service took place at Huntingdon Methodist Church following a private family service at Cambridge Crematorium.
Monica joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) in 1947 as a Radar Operator; her training began at HMS Harrier (also known as the Royal Naval Aircraft Direction Centre Kete, built in 1945 and operated in conjunction with RNAS Dale which was used as the air station. Kete commisioned as HMS Harrier in January 1948 taking over RNAS Dale (source: FleetAirArmOA.org)). It was whilst serving at HMS Harrier that Monica met her future husband, Jim McKay, a Royal Navy Sick Berth Attendant.
From HMS Harrier, Monica was drafted to HMS Seahawk in Cornwall (opened in 1947, its primary role was the housing of the Naval Night Fighter School along with its first Squadron 780 NAS. Its secondary task, identical to today, was to provide a home for disembarked front-line squadrons. Initially, the skies around Helston were filled with the sound of piston-engined aircraft such as the Firefly, Anson and Sea Fury. (Source: HelstonHistory.co.uk))
Monica returned to HMS Warrior in 1952 where she was discharged from the WRNS on the 15th March 1952. Following the RNA’s motto of Once Navy, Always Navy, Monica and Jim have been active members of Huntingdon & District Branch, only stepping back in recent years due to Jim’s health.
Jim and Monica had many activities and passions in their life after the Royal Navy, so although they had not been active in Huntingdon Branch for a while, it was a real honour to be asked by Kevin & Stuart McKay (Jim and Monica’s sons) if the Hon. Secretary, shipmate Karl Webb, would read Crossing the Bar at Monica’s Thanksgiving Service.
The service was well attended, Monica was a strong supporter of the Methodist Church (including playing the organ at services) and it was clear that she will be missed by all those who knew her. Shipmates from Huntingdon & District Branch held a silent tribute at the monthly Branch meeting; our thoughts are with shipmate Jim McKay, Monica’s sons and grandchildren. Rest in Peace shipmate.