Military (& related) obituaries

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Regimental Sergeant Major Jack Chaffer - obituary
'Barrack rat’ who won a Military Medal in Italy and later became a Beefeater at the Tower of London

Regimental Sergeant Major Jack Chaffer - obituary
In 1964, he was company sergeant major to the future Major-General Mike Reynolds whose firm philosophy was that, while soldiering was a deadly serious business, it should also be fun. The two quickly formed a strong professional partnership and a lifelong friendship. Once, when some of his subalterns proved reluctant to get up for a muster parade in Canada, he backed a Jeep up to their tent and used the exhaust system to coax them out of bed .
Regimental Sergeant Major Jack Chaffer - obituary
'Barrack rat’ who won a Military Medal in Italy and later became a Beefeater at the Tower of London

Regimental Sergeant Major Jack Chaffer - obituary
In 1964, he was company sergeant major to the future Major-General Mike Reynolds whose firm philosophy was that, while soldiering was a deadly serious business, it should also be fun. The two quickly formed a strong professional partnership and a lifelong friendship. Once, when some of his subalterns proved reluctant to get up for a muster parade in Canada, he backed a Jeep up to their tent and used the exhaust system to coax them out of bed .
Blast, beaten to it --- a proper soldier.
Alan Moore, war artist - obituary
5:06PM GMT 31 Dec 2015 3 Comments
Alan Moore, who has died aged 101, was a war artist best known for his depictions of the horror and misery of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

He was born on August 1 1914 in Melbourne . At the age of 16 he signed up for life drawing classes, but his father insisted he give up after discovering that his subjects were nude. Undaunted, two years later Alan applied to study at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School where he completed his art degree.

When war broke out Moore applied to become a war artist but he was initially rejected and in 1942 he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). A problem with one of his legs meant that he could not become a pilot so he worked on the ground, drawing diagrams of aircraft. Meanwhile, he sent examples of his work to the Australian War Memorial Art Committee and in November 1943 he was finally given official war artist status. The following month he took a jungle training course in Queensland before being sent to Papua New Guinea in early 1944 where he was tasked with documenting the work of the RAAF.

After some of his early wartime drawings and watercolours were destroyed by wet weather, Moore switched to working in oils. In March 1944 he was covering the campaign to recapture the Admiralty Islands and was fired upon while observing the battle on Los Negros Island. His work from this period included a painting of the grave of a fighter pilot who had crashed. Moore himself had helped to dig the grave – which was marked by a cross and the plane’s propeller – before making the picture.

He was then sent to the Middle East, Italy, France and London; one of his pictures from this period shows the devastation wrought after a V-2 rocket struck the city. Moore had been on a bus near Fleet Street when the bomb hit and painted the scene from memory on his return home.

As the war drew to an end, Moore joined the troops who were being sent to Germany and he was subsequently attached to British 11th Armoured Division which was sent to liberate the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Due to a typhus epidemic in the camp the SS had negotiated a truce with the British Army rather than resisting a handover. As a result there was less of an attempt to cover up the extent of mass murder and torture than there had been when other camps had been liberated.

Moore arrived on April 15 1945 to witness wretched and shocking scenes. Some 13,000 bodies lay unburied and of the 60,000 prisoners left in the camp most were starving and dying.

Moore spent three days at Belsen, sketching everything he saw, including piles of bodies being loaded on to trucks. “One of the most important things [to sketch],” he later recalled, referring to one of his best-known paintings from the time, “was the blind man, wandering through Belsen, waving a stick to hit bodies and things.”

While he was drawing, a Welsh soldier approached him and told him that no one would believe his depictions of the camp, so he began to take photographs as evidence of what he had seen. Among Moore’s sketches was a portrait of Fritz Klein, a German doctor who had selected inmates for labour and execution. Klein, along with SS officers at Belsen, was made to help bury the dead in mass graves; he was later tried and executed for his crimes.

Moore’s experiences at the camp stayed with him for the rest of his life. At an exhibition of his wartime work in 2014 he explained that he had felt compelled to paint the most grisly aspects of Belsen “because I thought it would possibly stop the awfulness, the death of war.”

After Belsen Moore travelled to Belgium to paint RAAF ex-prisoners of war. He was then sent to France and England, where in Eastbourne he painted soldiers boarding trains as they embarked on their journeys home. When the war was over, he presented more than 140 of his works to the Australian War Memorial, which later commissioned several paintings from him, including portraits of Generals MacArthur and Allen.

Moore eventually returned to Australia where, from 1963, he taught painting at Swinburne Technical College in Melbourne. He was thrice married and is survived by his third wife Alison.

Alan Moore, born August 1 1914, died September 24 2015
Lady Bader - obituary

5:23PM GMT 05 Jan 2016 11 Comments
Lady Bader, who has died aged 97, was the second wife of the Spitfire ace and double amputee Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader; after his death in 1982 she established the Bader Foundation to encourage other people who had lost their limbs to rebuild their lives.

In an interview with the Daily Mail in 2001 Joan Bader recalled that she had first met her husband on a golf course in Berkshire in the 1960s. Both were married to other people. “He was in my bunker,” she said, “and I told him so in no uncertain terms.” After watching her play her shot, he said: “You don’t look bad on a golf course and obviously you can play quite well, so what about playing with me?”

They won the first competition they entered and became firm friends. “We bonded because we were both bloody-minded,” she recalled. After Bader’s first wife died prematurely in 1971, they married in 1973. Bader proposed after driving his car into a wall, with Joan in the passenger seat, hurting her leg; they were on their way to stay with Bader’s fellow wartime ace Johnnie Johnson. “Douglas said in front of everyone: 'I’ve managed to damage Joan, so I think I’d better ask her to marry me, don’t you?’ ” she recalled. “I said 'Yes’ immediately.”

Joan Bader remembered him as a very different man from the jovial character portrayed by Kenneth More in the film Reach For The Sky, describing the actor as “an absolute pansy compared to my husband”.

Bader was not an easy man to live with, yet Joan always knew how to deal with his bouts of bad temper: “We didn’t fight much, but we did if he was rude to my friends. And, oh boy, was he rude. You just had to bury your head in the sand when he started swearing.” Yet he could also turn on the charm, and he adapted to the role of father to her three children by her earlier marriage even to the extent of removing his prosthetic legs so that he could go swimming with them.

By the time of his death from a heart attack in 1982, Bader had become an inspiration to thousands of physically handicapped people for whom he had campaigned, work for which he had been honoured with a knighthood in 1976. His wife recalled that when they had discussed a possible memorial Bader had rejected the idea of a statue, observing that “the children will shoot it and the birds will p--- on it”. He wanted a charity set up in his memory.

Immediately after his death his widow and friends established a charitable foundation in his name, of which she became president, to promote the welfare of people who are born without or have lost one or more limbs, or are otherwise physically disabled. After announcing the new foundation at his memorial service, she received £5,000 in two days and went on to raise much more, participating in many fund-raising walks and bike rides.

She was born Joan Eileen Hipkiss on March 17 1918 in Aldridge, Staffordshire. Her father ran a steel business making guide rails for lifts. Educated at Beaurivage in Weston-super-Mare, she became an accomplished horsewoman, competing in showjumping. During the Second World War she worked briefly as a Red Cross nurse. Shortly after the war she married Derek Murray, with whom she had a son and two daughters. The marriage was later dissolved.

Small and energetic with bright blue eyes, Lady Bader was a generous hostess at dinner parties at the Baders’ 19th-century Berkshire farmhouse. Her daughter Wendy recalled her mother as more sociable than her husband: “He’d arrive home to find it full of people. He’d say: 'Suffering cats! Haven’t you lot got homes to go to?’ ”

When Bader died aged 72, Joan was in her sixties and in good physical health. She remained so until forced to move into a care home after a stroke.

Despite her husband’s wish that there should be no monument erected in his honour, in 2001 Lady Bader unveiled a statue of him at Goodwood Aerodrome, from where he had flown his last wartime mission on August 9 1941.

In 2000 Lady Bader was appointed OBE for services to disabled people.

Her children survive her.

Lady Bader, born March 17 1918, died December 18 2015

She is something special to put up with him!
Fred Walker, Chelsea Pensioner - obituary
Commando who witnessed the 1942 raid on Dieppe and was wounded behind enemy lines in Sicily

Fred Walker during the war

6:13PM GMT 07 Jan 2016


Fred Walker, who has died aged 91, was a former Army Commando who, in June 2014, was one of 19 Pensioners at the Royal Hospital Chelsea appointed Chevaliers of the Légion d’honneur by the French ambassador, Sylvie Bermann, in recognition of the part they played in the liberation of France and Europe.

Frederick John Walker was born in London on July 29 1924 and volunteered for military service with a friend during the early years of the Second World War, when both were under age. As neither could provide parental letters of consent they each wrote a signed letter for the other and Walker was accepted for the Commandos.

Following basic training with the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment, he joined 3 Commando, and in his first action was involved in the disastrous 1942 raid on Dieppe, on a leading gunboat towing smaller craft. The boats came under fire from German E-boats, “creating havoc,” as he recalled, and the gunboat had to return to Newhaven.

Then 3 Commando was sent to Gibraltar, and from there to Alexandria to train for the invasion of Sicily. In July 1943 Walker was involved in the capture of a coastal battery at Cassabile where the Italians surrendered without a fight.

Later on the same month, 3 Commando embarked on their transport vessel, Prince Albert, with the task of landing behind enemy lines in the Bay of Agnone, and capturing the Ponte dei Malati bridge (later called “3 Commando Bridge”) over the Leonardo River, pending the arrival of the advancing 8th Army. They succeeded in capturing the bridge but came under heavy German mortar fire and shelling and were eventually forced to withdraw. During the action, they had contended with the 1st German Parachute Division which, in the confusion, had retreated without destroying the bridge – which was recaptured as the 8th Army arrived a short time later.

Walker, now wounded, was among the last to leave the bridge. He returned to the landing area where his overloaded boat sank. He was captured and given a drink by a German officer who believed the Allies would eventually take Sicily. Escaping from his captors, he was approached by another German officer who offered him a cigarette with the words “We are all in the same boat”, before disappearing.

Walker (3rd from right) at East Grinstead at the end of the war, standing next to Lt-Col Peter Young, MC and Bar

Shortly afterwards they received orders to return to the United Kingdom in order to prepare for the invasion of France.

On D-Day, Walker crossed over to Sword Beach with 3 Commando, now part of the 1st Special Service Brigade, which had been tasked with linking up with the 6th Airborne Division on the eastern flank of the beach and securing the high ground near La Plein. 3 Commando lost 20 men when a landing craft received a direct hit but went on to fight its way through France to Holland, where Walker was injured during a confrontation with fanatical German defenders at Linne.

After convalescence in Manchester he rejoined 3 Commando, before returning to the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment after the war ended, for a year in Greece. He was demobbed in 1946 .

After the war he had various jobs, including as a night driver inspector for two London councils.

He joined the Royal Hospital Chelsea in 2010 and proudly wore the uniform on Remembrance Sundays, marching past the Cenotaph and at the Royal Albert Hall Festival of Remembrance. He enjoyed giving television interviews about his memories of the war and also made regular visits to Normandy and Arnhem. Last year, despite worsening health, he travelled to Holland to mark the 70th Anniversary of D Day.

Walker’s first wife died, possibly as a result of TB contracted in London Underground bomb shelters during the Blitz. In 1946 he married his second wife, Annie, who died in 1993.

Fred Walker, born July 29 1924, died October 6 2015
He must have missed the D Day 70th commemorations if he went to Holland ... sloppy editing there.


There is already a very good obits thread, and in the correct forum.

I see no need for a second one, and certainly not in this part of the forum.

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