It is with deep regret that we announce the death of Shipmate Pete Wale, who crossed the bar on Sunday 19th October. His funeral service took place at Bedford crematorium on Thursday 6th November. During the service our Branch President paid the following tribute on behalf of members.
The Royal Naval Association is just one chapter in the book of Pete’s life, albeit a long one spanning 42 years. I feel sure there is a common thread that runs through all the pages of the book; he was a very special friend to us all. Within the RNA we knew two Pete’s and for want of better words I will simply refer to them as the “on duty” and “off duty” Pete. The on duty Pete was a tower of strength and support in those pre and post years of our commissioning in 1972, whilst the committee formulated a vision for a successful branch, a vision that still stands the test of time.
Pete, together with the support of his wife Wendy, was instrumental in raising the funds to purchase our Standard and its accompanying dedication ceremony in 1975. Pete volunteered to be our first Standard Bearer, a role that he carried out for 23 years with immense pride and the immaculate standards that one expects from a former Royal Marine. It is therefore right and proper that our Standard should be here for him today, for this symbol speaks more of Pete than any words.
In 1986 the RNA recognised his services with the award of Life Membership; the highest honour our National Association can bestow. His citation reads “For outstanding services to the Association” and Pete remains one of just five branch members honoured in this way. On reaching retirement age he stood down as our Standard Bearer and was appointed as a Branch Life Vice President.
Pete displayed all the qualities required to wear the coveted Green Beret, qualities that came to the fore in many aspects of his life, none more so than when faced with the battle against Parkinson’s, a battle he knew he would inevitably lose, but one he would fight anyway. The on duty Pete was much admired, highly respected and one who will be long remembered.
Then of course there was the other Pete, the “off duty” one, the fun one, the one who I suspect is familiar to us all. This is neither the time nor place to recall the many tales that could be told; there will be opportunities for this in the months and years to come. However, there must have been many occasions when Wendy has held her head in her hands and thought “Oh My God, what’s he going to do now”, but whatever it may have been, it was always hilarious, sometimes outrageous, but never offensive.
If you were fortunate enough to share some of these times, then your world was a better place.This off duty Pete was one who we cherished, embraced and in the broader sense of the word, loved.I am mindful that Remembrance Sunday draws near, but we will not need a special day in the calendar or a poppy to bring Pete to mind, there will be so many days when, “At the going down of the sun and in the morning” we will remember him.
Tom Mumford, President St Neots and District Branch