Barry Barnes

It is with sorrow that we learn that TCA Member Barry Barnes Crossed the Bar on the 4th July 2018.

Despite his disability Barry was a staunch supporter of the TCA and attended as many functions as possible. He will be sorely missed. RIP

The funeral of Barry Barnes will be held on Wednesday 25 July at 12.00 in St Peters Church HOLWELL, Herts, near Letchworth, followed by a service at the Crematorium at 13.00 and hospitality at the Bowls Club Hitchin.


Kim Styles

After a six month illness TCA Member Kim Styles Crossed The Bar on the 3rd July 2018,

The funeral will take place on Monday 16th July at 1230.

St Helen’s Church, Thorny, Newark Notts. NG23 7BS.


Olive Palframan

After a long illness Olive Palframan, wife of TCA member Gordon Palframan, passed away on Sunday 10th June.

Olive was a great supporter of the TCA Historical Group. She and Gordon were the driving force for the group by attending the National Archives facility at Kew, London. Here they would obtain the ships logs and transcribe the contents for the TCAHG so that the Ton Histories could be updated.


Brian Dutton DSO QGM RN

It is with great sadness I have to report that TCA member Brian Dutton crossed the bar on Monday evening.

Brian Dutton with Prince Harry at the Vernon Monument ‘Falklands 35’ Dinner at Trinity House  July 2017

In 1975, Brian was gazetted for the award of the QGM (Queen’s Gallantry Medal) for a bomb disposal operation:

Lieutenant Dutton, the Officer-in-Charge of the Portsmouth and Medway Clearance Diving Team and Leading Seaman Brett, a member of the Portsmouth and Medway Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team, boarded the Suction Dredger THE SOLENT moored off Felixstowe at 2100 on 3rd August 1974 to investigate a mine which was immovably jammed in the vessel’s drag head.  The mine, a Ground Type GD, is the most difficult and dangerous to render safe of all the types used by the Germans in World War II.  Because of the location and condition in which the mine was discovered, the normal procedure for rendering the mine safe was not possible. After Lieutenant Dutton had organised the evacuation of non-essential personnel from the dredger, he and Leading Seaman Brett commenced the difficult task of removing the mine from the vessel’s drag head.  The damage to the fuse in the dredging operation prevented identification and normal defusing procedure. Although aware that the fuse might be in a highly dangerous state, Lieutenant Dutton and Leading Seaman Brett continued with the task until the mine was eventually freed, lowered to the sea-bed and detonated the following morning. Lieutenant Dutton’s skill and calm efficiency and Leading Seaman Brett’s courage and devotion to duty during the prolonged operation were in the highest tradition of the Service.

In 1982, Brian was gazetted for the award of the DSO (Distinguished Service Order) in recognition of service during operations in the South Atlantic.

During Argentinian air attacks on 21st May 1982 HMS ARGONAUT was struck by a 1000 Ib bomb which did not explode.  The bomb caused extensive damage and lodged between two missiles in the forward magazine where it was also surrounded by damaged and extremely dangerous ordnance.  Lieutenant Commander Dutton, as Officer in Charge of Fleet Clearance Diving Team 1 was tasked to remove the bomb.  He decided that it was too dangerous to defuse in situ. Instead he took the decision to lift the bomb from the magazine and hoist it overboard.  The task proved extremely complex and hazardous requiring clearance of ammunition from the magazine and cutting through sections of the ship’s structure.  The operation took the team seven days during which HMS ARGONAUT came under further air attacks.  The slightest jar or disturbance to the precise lifting angle would have resulted in an explosion which would almost certainly have caused the loss of the ship. In spite of these difficulties the bomb was successfully removed, largely due to the skill and ingenuity of Lieutenant Commander Dutton. He displayed staunch determination, steadfastness and courage of the highest order.

Having joined the Royal Navy as a sailor, he accomplished much as a rating and officer.  After leaving, he was Mayor of Petersfield and an East Hampshire County Councillor while performing much charity work. 

Photo and some of the text taken from the MCDOA website (Rob Hoole)


Lt Colin Churcher MBE

Tribute by John Soanes

I was saddened to learn after the AGM (where we had been informed that at least 44 members had Crossed the Bar in the past year)  I read on the Minewarfare Clearance Divers Officers Association (MCDOA) website that yet another member, Lieutenant Colin Churcher MBE, had C.T.B. in Aberdeen on 28th September.  Colin was the author of an autobiographical book entitled “To Render Safe” in which he takes the reader through his forty years service in the RN from the lower deck to Lieutenant (SD). He joined the RN in 1943 as a Hostilities Only rating (HO), served on Russian Convoys in HMS MYNGS, and in the same ship took part in the re-occupation of Singapore after the war ended. Before the ship returned to the UK he decided to change from HO to General Service and signed on for twelve years. Whilst in the Mediterranean Fleet in HMS CHEVIOT he volunteered for a shallow water diving course, this was the start of what was to become his forte. He eventually rose through the ranks finally becoming a Lieutenant SD (D). During many years service with Royal Navy diving bomb and mine disposal teams he was responsible for dealing with many incidents including a 550lb German bomb which had been discovered under Blackfriars bridge in London and was awarded the MBE following the disposal of another German bomb found in Walthamstow Reservoir. He served as 1st Lieutenant in HMS KIRKLISTON  and HMS HUBBERSTON in the 1960’s based in Singapore.