We are sorry to report that Bill Bamber sadly passed away in October 2018.

Bill served in Illustrious 5 on her first Commission.

Abs Sirodkar, John Gibson, Phillip (Taff)Paisley, Gareth Morgan, Anthony (Blue) O'leary, attended the funeral which was held at Aldershot Crematorium. Afterwards an informal reception was held at a Hotel in nearby Fleet. The service was very well attended with family and friends from Bill's work. There were officers from navy and RAF/MOD personnel and a standard bearer. It was a very moving and also very funny service reflecting Bill's wonderful and mischievous sense of humour. Bill would have been very proud of the whole occasion and the wonderful tributes so rightly paid to him. At the hotel, John Gibson read a Heartwarming and very apt, humorous poem to Bill, which was also in a frame for the family to keep before he had to leave.  

Condolences from the HMS Illustrious Association were conveyed by Abs and a lovely wreath was laid on behalf of friends and comrades of the Illustrious Association.



We are sorry to report that Don Smith, the last chairman of Northern Branch, died peacefully in a local Preston Nursing Home on Tuesday 6th February after a long illness.

Don took over the Northern Branch Chair following Dixie Dean in 2011, serving until the dissolution of the Branch in 2017. 

His Service of 23 years in the Fleet Air Arm included time in HMS Illustrious, HMS Eagle and other Carriers, leaving the Service as CPO AM 1st Class, Airframes and Engines.  He then joined BAe at Wharton as a Quality Engineer until his retirement.  In addition to his membership of our Association he was a member of the FAA Association, Manchester Branch.

Madge, Don's wife, that his funeral was be held on Tuesday 20th February, at 1pm, Preston Crematorium.  With refreshments afterwards at the White Bull Pub nearby.


Our thoughts go to Don's wife Madge, and their family.



We were contacted by the family of Charles Alfred Burton [Alf]  with the sad news that had died on Thursday 27 January, aged 98.  He had a mini-stroke a couple of months ago, although he then seemed to be getting back onto a normal keel.  However, he moved into a care home near Edna in Tunbridge Wells since it was clear that he could no longer look after himself.  He was in the care home for only about six weeks.  Then last week he became ill with some infections and was admitted to hospital where he died after a couple of days.


He was a wonderful man and father and our thoughts go out to his family.

The funeral arrangements are as follows:

Venue:  Victorian Chapel, Benhall Mill Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 5JJ


After turning off Forest Road into Benhall Mill Road, proceed for about 300 yards and turn right into the cemetery.

Do not take the slightly earlier right turn to the crematorium.


Date/time:         Tuesday 20th February at 11h30



We were contacted by Brian Bunn, Basil's Son and he gave us the sad news that our former shipmate had crost the bar on the 12th April 2017.

Basil was a valued member of the HMS Illustrious Association and will be fondly remembered by his shipmates. He served in HMS Illustrious ( Illustrious 4 ) between March 1944 and October 1945 which must have been a very difficult period of maritime operations.

We, as an Association were proud to have had Basil as one of our valued over 90’s members and we know that all of our members will be truly saddened to hear of his passing.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time.

A Letter of Condolence has been sent to his family from the Association, with personal

condolences from the President and Committee.

Basil Bunn's Floral Tribute



Many of the older members will be shocked to hear of the death of Peggy - wife of Associate

Member Harold Binney. Harold and Peggy have been stalwart supporters of the

Association for many years, always attending Reunions,  even in recent years when Peggy

had to use a wheelchair.

We do not have any further information but understand Jim Clavell and Frances Garton

are hoping to attend the funeral.

Many personal condolences from the President and Committee have been sent to Harold

with a Letter of Condolence from the Association. 



Sunset and evening star,

      And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

      When I put out to sea,


   But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

      Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

      Turns again home.


   Twilight and evening bell,

      And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

      When I embark;


   For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place

      The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

      When I have crost the bar.