Shipmate Richard ‘Dick’ Knowles

S/M Dick Knowles, Remembrance Parade 2011
S/M Dick Knowles, Remembrance Parade 2011

It is with great sadness for me to announce that our shipmate, Richard ‘Dick’ Knowles, ‘Crossed the Bar’ on Tuesday 11th June 2013.

Dick completed his National Service as a Sick Berth Attendant in the early 1950s; he was the sole representative of the Medical Branch in HMS Bramble, an Algerine Class Fleet Minesweeper of 1,100 tons, it had a Ships Company of 120 and boasted a small sickbay over which Dick had sole control. Dick also served at the UK’s last ‘military hospital’, RNH Haslar in Gosport.

The President of Huntingdon & District Branch, Shipmate Graham Holt, spoke of Dick’s time in the Royal Navy, he said that:

with a certain amount of modest glee [Dick] used to relate how his dispensing skills consisted of Codeine for anything in the upper part of the body and “No 9’s” for anything lower.  In addition, nobody was ever considered sick enough to be admitted for overnight treatment as this would have meant him losing the sick bay medical swinging cot, in which he slept. He therefore never needed to “sling a hammock” and boasted that he had better living facilities than the Captain.

A worthwhile early lesson in making the best of any situation.

As a member of Huntingdon & District Branch, Dick has been the mainstay keeping us on the straight and narrow; he was our Treasurer for over 13 years (only leaving the post this year due to his deteriorating health), he organised our annual dinners and was a proud attendee of official events such as the annual Remembrance and Sea Sunday parades in Huntingdon.

Dick was a true ambassador for the RNA; he fully displayed all of the core values of the association, unity, loyalty, patriotism, and most of all, comradeship. Dick provided many a laugh with his quick wit and sense of humour; despite his condition, and from suffering of a number of ailments, he was always smiling (we often wondered what at!), providing fatherly advice, and keeping the ‘youngsters in check’. Dick was an active supporter of the church and with local and national charities such as the Whitechapel Mission (helping the homeless and rootless of London) and of course, numerous naval charities.

Our thoughts are with Dick’s wife, Barbara and his family at this sad time. Barbara wishes all to know that Dick ‘was a lovely husband, father, and grandfather; he was loved by all his family’, Barbara added that Dick was extremely ‘proud of his family and loved them dearly’.

A private funeral service will take place on Wednesday 26th June; this will be followed by a Service of Thanksgiving at 1445 in the Methodist Church, Huntingdon. Barbara has requested no flowers, but donations may be made to the Macmillan Nurses (Registered Charity No: 261017), or the Royal Naval Association, Huntingdon & District Branch (Registered Charity No: 1069417).

I know that all our members (and all those who knew him) have plenty of fond memories of this lovable rogue, a true gentleman; Shipmate ‘Dick’ Knowles, you will be sorely missed.