Notification of Death:
Billy Cairns 3 RHA
Jaz Hamilton 16 Regt RA
Roy (Geordie) Henderson T Bty, 12 Regt RA
Mike Krasnowski 9 Bty,12 Regt RA
Ken Loxley 16 Regt RA
Bdr Pete Marshall Cdo passed away 3 Nov 2018 aged 55 years
WO2 (BQMS) Jackie Page BEM Cdo passed away 30 October 2018 aged 83 years
Jimmy Rafferty 16 Regt RA
CLEWLOW – WO2 Douglas (Dougie) passed away 28 October 2018 at the age of 86 following a short illness. Beloved husband of Margaret and greatly missed by her and his children Jenny, Jackie, Guy and Sharon. Dougie enlisted into the Boys’ Battery on 7 January 1948 and was discharged on 11 April 1987 having completed a magnificent 39 years and 95 days of service in the Royal Regiment of Artillery. His service included time with 10 Field Regiment, ASMT Bordon, 5 Regiment (in its many guises other than “Heavy”) and his final 15 years as a long service recruiter running the ACIO in West Bromwich. His theatres of service included Home, BAOR and an Op Banner Tour. On leaving the service Dougie was employed as a very impressive Head Concierge at the Copthorne Hotel in central Birmingham until full retirement in 1997. Dougie was not finished here, he took up golf and became an integral member of Whittington Barracks Golf Club serving on several committees. He also became a member of the local Royal British Legion serving as Chairman for a period of 10 years. Finally, he was an active member of the Royal Artillery Association (Birmingham Branch), and also organised and chaired the Woolwich and India Wartime Boys’ Batteries reunions. He will be greatly missed by all those who were fortunate enough to have know him – RIP.
EDWARDS – Capt Peter passed away 22 September aged 88 years. He will be sadly missed by his sons, daughter, wider family and friends. He served with the Royal Artillery from 1949 to 1960.
HUGES – SSgt Christopher passed away 26 October 2018 aged 70 years after a short illness. Chris served with 30 (Rogers’s) Bty 16 AD Regt RA, and 12 (Minden) Bty, 12 Regt RA. He completed four tours of Northern Ireland and one tour of the Falkland Islands, receiving medals for his service. His final posting before retiring was at Bramcote Junior Leaders. Chris will be missed by his sons John and Mark and his regimental family. Once a Gunner, always a Gunner.
PEMBERTON – Bdr Alan Henry known to all as ‘Pemby’ passed away 31 August 2018 aged 61 years. Alan passed away peacefully with his mother and brothers at his side following an eight year battle with cancer. Alan was born 22 July 1957 in Blakelaw, Newcastle Upon Tyne. He was the first born to parents Harry and Audrey and older brother to Ian and Neil. He grew up in the West End of the city and was a lifelong Newcastle supporter. After leaving school Alan tried his hand at various jobs including, roofer, butcher and qualified glass blower. On 29 April 1980 aged 23, Alan entered the recruiting office and enlisted with the Royal Artillery. On completion of training at Woolwich his parents and brother had taken an overnight bus to attend his pass out parade. The Family took great pride in being there along with other families. His first posting was in Paderborn Germany with 25 Field Regiment, then with 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery. Although based in Paderborn for 10 years he had two tours in Northern Ireland, April-June 1985 and May-October 1991. Between December 1988 and May 1989 he was part of a UN Peacekeeping tour in Cyprus. He also participated in exercises in Canada in June-July 86 and August-September 90. On completion of the latter 3 RHA returned to UK at Kirkee Barracks, Colchester. After 12 years, 28 days enjoyable service, Alan was discharged with exemplary conduct to his name. Alan immediately gained employment as a class 2 HGV driver for a haulage company in Ipswich. A few years later he returned to his native North East, again working as a truck driver. In 2006/7 he changed occupation for the last time when he started work as a school caretaker for Newcastle City Council. In his capacity as caretaker he was loved and adored by teachers, parents, and all the kids. He was known as the real head teacher. In 2010 Alan was sadly diagnosed with bowel cancer. He swore he would fight it, and that he most certainly did, in fact he laughed in its face. After surgery it would return even worse. First the bowel then lungs then October 2017 he had a black out at work only to find out it was a brain tumour. By this stage he had only half a lung remaining but was back to work within four weeks after the operation. Alan remained the joker and said he wasn’t going to let it worry him and he said this to also reassure his family not to worry also. Sadly things deteriorated in June this year with two admissions to hospital. In July he was then admitted to Briardene Care Home for some respite. The first five weeks went well and he was really well cared for along with help from Macmillan Nurse. After eight and half years battling and fighting like a trooper, Alan took his last breath and died peacefully on Friday 31 August 2018. His mother and two brothers were with him at this time. Friends, family and old comrades gathered for his cremation on Wednesday 12 September. With Regimental Standards, present and Alan dressed with RA Blazer and tie, it was truly a magnificent send off. One which he would have loved. God bless Alan your duty is done. Rest in peace. UBIQUE.
SOPER – Walter (Wally) passed away 3 October 2018 aged 98 years. Wally was a D-Day Veteran who joined in 1940 to the ‘Loyals’ North Lancashire Regiment – an infantry unit that converted to Anti-Aircraft. Walter came ashore in the second wave on D Day, manning the Bofors. He transferred later to the Highland Light Infantry 52nd Lowland Division fighting all the way from Normandy to Hamburg up to Germany’s surrender. A dedicated member of the Merseyside RAA, Walter attended meetings up until bad health got the better of him. He was awarded the Legion d’ Honour by the French Ambassador in 2016. We wish our condolences to his two daughters, Patricia and Christine. A Lovely gentle man, he will be missed by all the lads from Merseyside Branch and the North West area. Last post provided by Mr Mike Palombella. UBIQUE.
Maj Stanley Masson Maj (Hon) Stanley Alfred Masson B.E.M passed away 15 February 2018 aged 87 years. He started to become forgetful some six years ago and in 2014 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The disease took its hold during the last year of his life where he became a shadow of the proud Gunner that he was. He became very poorly in January and was admitted to Weston General Hospital where he suddenly but peacefully passed away. Stanley was born in 1931 to Mary and Alfred in West Ham, and in all the years that he travelled the world with the army he never forgot his roots or the true grit it took to grow up in London’s East End. His determination to instil his own values into his soldiers and for them to succeed in their chosen field are well known. Stanley joined the army as a boy soldier in 1946 where he showed his worth as a soldier very quickly and was soon promoted to Boy Sergeant. He entered regular service in the Royal Artillery as a Lance Bombardier and was promoted to Bombardier in 1949 and Sergeant in 1951. Stanley served in Korea with the UN Forces and saw sights that he could and would never talk about. In 1955 he began the first of what was to be several tours of duty in Germany. 4 RHA, 25 Regt, 50 Missile Regt, 24 Missile Regt, and finally 45 Regt, Stanley continued to be promoted throughout the 60’s and 70’s achieving the rank of WO1 RSM, this being the most enjoyable time for him. In 1974 he was posted as RSM to the Army Air Corps at Middle Wallop where at first he refused to wear the blue beret but was eventually persuaded. He loved to tell the story of when he gave the order to open the aircraft hanger doors after a full dress parade and then in his best Sergeant Majors voice shouted “Quick March” into a very heavy down pour of rain. He had such a wicked sense of humour which is more than can be said for those who had to suffer the down pour. Whilst serving in 45 Regt RA he accepted a commission as Captain, then in 1978 he was posted to the 6 CTT in Woolwich where he became an Honoury Major. In 1982 he was persuaded by the Secretary of Greater London TAVR, Brigadier Woolford RA, to retire from the Regular Army and join him as the CEO for the City of London and North East Sector ACF which he remained in post as Major ACF until his retirement in 1997. His total Uniform service amounted to 51 years and one month, such an achievement and for which he was so proud. Throughout his long and auspicious career he was awarded numerous medals. The Korean War Medal and the United Nations Korean Medal in 1952. The Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1966. In 1975 the Meritorious Service Medal. In 1977 the Northern Ireland Medal and in 1994 the Cadet Forces Medal, but the medal that he was justifiably the most proud of was the British Empire Medal that was awarded to him in 1966. Stanley’s medals are now in the safe hands of his daughter. Stanley married his second wife Jill in 1994. The constant moving within the services never left him and they moved house on numerous occasions, finally settling in Jill’s home county of Somerset. Retirement didn’t come easy, his way of life and his main hobby was always the army. He enjoyed his garden which was always neat and tidy with the lawn being mown at a million miles an hour and if it stood still it got painted white! Stanley, a strong, caring, but gentle man will be missed by all that knew him, especially his family but not more so than his wife Jill.
Sgt Lote Katiani Lote was born on 13 October 1943 on a tiny Fijian Island in the South Pacific called Ono-i-Lau. The son of a Methodist minister and one of six children, his parents sent him to live with a wealthy uncle on the mainland in order to get the best education he could. Whilst reading the paper in 1961, he saw that the British Army were recruiting in Fiji, but you had to be over 18 so unfortunately he was not old enough to join. A week later, Birth Certificate in hand (duly doctored), Lote signed up with the British Army along with 211 other Fijians thus the two-one-twos were formed – 212 of the very first Fijians to join the British Army. It was at this time he met his closest friend Jo Jang who married our dearest Aunty Peggy and created a bond between the two families that lives on to this day. His initial training was at Park Hall in Oswestry, and with training complete he was posted to Shoeburyness Garrison in Southend joining 26 Field Regiment RA as part of 16 Battery. This would be where he met Pete Heath, one of many men that would become a major part of his life. It was also here that he met Welsh WRAC, Jennifer Jones. Shortly after this meeting, he was posted to Hohne and Jenny was posted to Rheindahlen, in West Germany. As luck would have it, Jenny’s friend Brian Clarke and his wife Shirley were also stationed in Hohne so they invited Jenny to visit regularly and she would meet up with Lote each time. In 1966 Jenny and Lote were married. Julie was born shortly after, and a couple of years later Marie came along. Lote was an OP ACK and a great Signal Sergeant, working with Brian Clarke and the formidable Kali Naivalarua (a fellow two-one-two). His job included going forward into enemy territory, and hiding whilst they located the enemy, then, once this had been accomplished they would send the necessary signals back to the battery for them to attack the specific locations. In addition to doing the job he also trained others to learn the same skills he had acquired. In 1962-63 he worked for the UN in Malaya and then in 1963-64 he worked for the UN again, but this time in Cyprus during the trouble between the Greeks and the Turks. It was whilst in Cyprus he had a lucky escape. Lote, Kali and company had selected a minaret in Katima, Lote finished his shift and Kali took over, shortly thereafter, the Greeks fired three Bazooka rockets and blew a hole into the minaret. Thankfully Kali was unharmed and Lote took great pleasure in telling this story and the lucky escape he had. Prompted by Brian, and with promotion in mind, Lote moved to 159 in 1970 where he spent the rest of his army life. It is here that he worked with the people that would become part of his family. Lote’s army life also included two tours of Northern Ireland. It was in the winter of 1977 whilst on one of these tours a song was released that became his all-time favourite: Mull of Kintyre, by Wings, a song that was not only by a Beatle, but with lyrics that reminded him of home. His nights out were quite legendary at times with him getting into quite a bit of mischief. After one such night, Lote, Brian Clarke and John Cook were barred from one of their favourite bars, The Weinburg. To resolve this they took what they thought was the best action – they drove that morning to Hohne Ranges Impact Area and acquired three unexploded artillery shells. They then drove to The Weinburg and left them at the front door refusing to move them unless they were allowed back in the pub. Arnold the owner had to close for the day and eventually agreed to let them back in if they moved the shells immediately. A great lover of sports, he played for the army rugby team and played hockey, he was part of the tug of war team, and of course he was a great sailor, liking nothing better than hiring a boat and sailing on the River Rhine. But of course rugby was his passion. At every match you were guaranteed that Lote would give his overview on the game. After 22 years in the army Lote settled into Civvy Street in Jenny’s hometown of Wrexham. He worked for a few years as a taxi man and gave up drinking completely. He became a different man taking on the responsibilities of the house and spending quality time with Jenny. After his grandsons were born – Nathan, Steven and Aaron, as Marie and Julie worked, Lote took on the child care responsibility for them. He loved spending time with all his grandsons and seeing them grow into handsome young men. He was proud to see Nathan play rugby for Wrexham and threw himself into the job of linesman for the matches plus a personal coach to Nathan. Sadly Jenny passed away in 2011. After Jenny died, Julie and Marie took on the responsibility of helping Lote to cope with his loss in different ways. Julie and Dave took Lote to so many different rugby matches, making sure he was there when his beloved Fiji won the Rugby 7’s Tournament in Twickenham. With Julie and Dave being as passionate about rugby as Lote, they took him on rugby trips local and far afield which Lote enjoyed immensely. Throughout his life in the UK Lote’s heart always yearned for Fiji, many a time he would have Fijian Church Choirs playing full blast on the laptop and would harmonise along with them. It was therefore such a wonderful surprise last year to hear that his cousin Bongi would be visiting her family in Stoke, and arrangements were quickly made for Lote, Julie and Marie to attend the Ono-I-Lau UK day held in Stoke last November. Part of this service involved standing up and telling the congregation a little bit about yourself. When it was Lote’s turn to speak the respect and interest shown by all the Lauans was something to behold. They held onto his every word and all wanted to meet him and hear about his life. Lote came away from this service feeling honoured and blessed to have met so many fellow Lauans, with the plan that he would return again once he was fit and well. Lote looked forward to and loved the annual 159 reunions that were held in various places over the years. His favourite reunion has to be the Stevenage reunion when his friends had t-shirts printed wishing him a happy 70th birthday. As per usual Lote was in fine voice for the battery chorus and whilst you all know the chorus, you may not be aware that the battery chorus actually started when he was in 16 Battery but was never embraced in the way that it was when he moved to 159. It’s a song that was performed at every reunion and reinforced the great bond between everyone present. Lote singing this song will live in our hearts forever and keep his spirit alive. When Lote was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year he took the news in his stride and remained positive to the end. He spent the last few months of his life having chemotherapy and preparing for his operation. He was ready for one more battle and had no intention of losing. After his operation he was still in fine spirits. He was visited by his dearest friends, and after these visits he was smiling, laughing and full of joy. They brought humour and compassion when he needed it the most and for that the Kaitani family will be forever grateful. Whilst the outcome was not the one we all hoped and prayed for, Lote will be up there smiling, knowing that he won the battle but unfortunately not the war. Lote was a proud man and a humble man. A loud man and a quiet man. A funny man and a serious man. A happy man and a morose man. But most of all Lote Kaitani was a great man who will be missed by many. A shorter version told by Lote’s daughters at his funeral in September 2018.