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.

Funeral to be held at Kemnal Park, Bromley, BR7 6RR, Friday 6th July 1100 hrs.


Pamela Farnes

Pamela Farnes wife of TCA Welfare Officer Tony ‘Charlie’ Farnes. After a long illness Pamela passed away late Sunday afternoon 3rd June.


Jacqueline Pitter

Jacqueline Pitter, wife of TCA Member Thomas Pitter passed away on the 2nd June after a long illness. RIP


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)


Derek Southerton

Some of our older members may remember our second association treasurer Derek Southerton who crossed the bar some years ago. Derek was ably supported during his long membership by his wife Audrey. It is my sad duty to announce that Audrey Passed Away last Sunday the 8th April. Her funeral is to take place At Kings Lynn Crematorium on the 3rd May at 12:15.                                                                           RIP


Tony Sutcliffe TCA Member from West Sussex has Crossed the Bar.                                                                                               His funeral is to be held at Chichester Crematorium on Wednesday 2nd May at 1315 Hrs. All TCA members who wish to pay their respects are welcome.                                        RIP


Eric Camps RNR

Eric served on HMS Curzon/Fittleton between 1962 – 1967 when based at HMS SUSSEX. His son, John, has asked that an announcement and request be made regarding funeral arrangements which is to be held at Clayton Wood Burial Ground, Hassocks,Clayton, Sussex

TCA Member Dave Walker attended and represented the association. His report is as follows: –

There was a good turnout by all and sundry. I have attached  photos which you might be able to use. I sought the family’s permission to send them to you and they were happy with that. I hope this meets with your approval.

Kind regards,

Dave Walker

The burial took place at Clayton Wood burial ground, near Clayton, West Sussex, on Friday, 23rd March, of Eric Camps a former member of the Sussex Division RNR (HMS Sussex). Eric served on the division’s tender HMS Curzon (later renamed HMS Fittleton), from 1962 to 1967.

About fifty people attended including many ex service men and women plus friends of Eric’s family. Two standards were paraded, Clayton and Keymer  Royal British Legion and Chichester RBL. Also attending were ex members of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force as well as members of local RBL branches. Also in attendance was the chairman of Sussex County RBL.

Four young men from the local Sussex University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) attached to Sussex University and the former Sussex Division RNR attended.

Eric served as an Able Seaman during his RNR service.


Terrance (Buster) Brown, November 19th 2017

Terry was a long term member of the association. He is best remembered as a London Black Cab taxi driver often working out of Heathrow. During times waiting for a passenger Terry committed to memory all the names and pennant numbers of the Tons. He supported the TCA Display when we appeared at Chatham and other venues. Terry was awarded TCA Man Of The Year for his project where he wrote to every local newspaper in the UK so as to advertise the association.


Norman Ellis EM RNVR of Basingstoke, November 2017. Served on HMS WARSASH 1954-56 RIP


Captain Ian Powe

I was very sorry to learn in October’s edition of Ton Talk that Captain Ian Powe had crossed the bar.  As Commander Powe he commanded HMS WALKERTON, the senior ship of the 7th Mine Countermeasures Squadron, based in Malta, from 1967 to 69.  His official title was MCM7, but he was known irreverently, albeit affectionately, by the lads as “7 up”. I was the sparker in HMS ASHTON throughout his time in Malta and the Squadron couldn’t have wished for a better boss.

I found it very poignant therefore to learn of his passing on page 33 of Ton Talk edition 188, and then on the inside of the rear cover see a photo the then Commander Powe in HMS WALKERTON taking the 7th MCMS out of Grand Harbour for the last time. The more eagle eyed members of the Association will have noticed that although the 7th MCMS consisted of 6 sweepers – only 5 are seen departing.  Coaling Island at Gibraltar could only cope with a maximum of 5 sweepers, so HMS STUBBINGTON left a month early 

Happy Days in Jack’s Bar – Sleima!!!

Your aye

John Lawler  Lt Cdr (SD)(X)(C) Rtd.

(but known in ASHTON as “big John L”


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.