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Royal Naval Writers Association

Formed in 1887 - The Oldest Military Association

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Crossed The Bar

Crossing the Bar

‘Crossing the Bar’ is a term generally used by the military/ex-military and more specifically the Royal Navy to politely inform and advise of a person that has died.

The term is taken from a poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson as meaning to cross the “sandbar” between the tide or river of life, with its outgoing “flood,” and the ocean that lies beyond death, the “boundless deep,” to which we return. The “Pilot” being God.

He wrote the poem after a serious illness while at sea, crossing the Solent from Aldworth to Farringford on the Isle of Wight.

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 though 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 crossed the bar.

Crossed the Bar

Details of funeral arrangements, when known, will be promulgated via the RNWA website providing sufficient notification has been received from the respective family or source of confirmation of death.

RIP 2024

  • Richard Coupe OBE of Wellington, Somerset – 27 June
  • Gladys Harding of Braintree, Essex – 4 April
  • Sydney Richard Eddy of Australia – 29 February
  • Pat J McCarthy of Thornton-Cleveleys – 29 January

RIP 2023

  • Gerald R Jarvis BEM of Norwich – 21 December
  • Denis Bartlett BEM of St Austell – 9 December
  • Janet Vockins of Highworth – 26 October
  • Peter F Wead – 15th August 
  • John Ballinger of Stroud – 1 May 
  • Mary McIntyre of Buckie – 1 May 
  • Ken Baish of Esther – 16 January
  • George Mytom-Hart BEM of Titchfield – 10 January
  • Richard W. Lawrence of East Grinsted – 31 January   

RIP 2022

  • John Roxburgh – 20th March
  • Tom Bardsley of Scarborough – 13th April
  • John Garner of Leominster – 30th April
  • John Hargraves of Waterlooville – 14th May
  • Frank Cooper of Frinton-on-Sea – 21st May
  • Gordon Wilkinson (aka Peters) – 15th June
  • Bryan Hayter of Melksham – 9th July
  • David Abdy of Pudsey – 4th August
  • Brian Murphy of Kent – September

RIP 2021

  • Brian Coghlan – 19th Feb  

RIP 2020

  • Brian Dolling 27th Dec
  • John Cotter – 16th Nov
  • Marjorie A G Woods – 10th Oct
  • Bernard (Jim) Dimmock – 24th Oct
  • Peter Easton – 24th Aug
  • Gordon Skeens – 21st Jul
  • Knud Warren Nielsen – 1st Apr

RIP 2019

  • Gordon Kershaw – 19th Dec
  • Frank Hookham – 7th Dec
  • Roland Carter – 10th Nov – Click here to read obituary.
  • Peter Robilliard – 16th Oct
  • Ralph (Dickie) Henderson  – 28th Aug
  • Douglas Jewell – 15th Mar
  • Sir John Miles Huntington-Whiteley VRD – 19th Feb
  • David McQuitty – 11th Feb
  • Bob Muir – 5th Feb
  • Grahame Boyett – 18th Jan
  • Stella A. Brown QSM – 3rd Jan

RIP 2018

  • Mervyn A Mortimore MVO – 31 Sep
  • John Kinghorne – 31 May
  • Alan Leon Hawken – 28 Mar
  • Douglas Macaulay – 3 Mar
  • Gerald Beard – 14 Feb

RIP 2017

  • Don McGeorge Snr. – 12 Dec
  • Howard Grass – 17 Nov
  • Albert John Parsons – 10 Oct
  • Kenneth Dunstan – 2 Oct
  • Alan Price – 1 Oct
  • Geoff Luton – 30 Sep
  • Michael Colborne LVO – 21 Sep
  • George Hemmings – 12 Sep
  • Geoffrey Straw MBE – 29 Mar
  • Fred Davenport – 14 Jan

RIP 2016

  • Peter Grocott

RIP ­ 2015

  • Pat Brannen
  • Henry Marchant
  • Joseph Roe
  • Paul Rowe
  • Robert ‘Ben’ Lyon

RIP ­ 2014

  • J E Baker BEM
  • Frank Curran
  • Joe Dolman BEM
  • David Doole
  • Dennis Le Marquand
  • Alan Liddel

Crossing The Bar Information


White Ensigns

The Association of Royal Naval Officers (ARNO) HQ has White Ensigns suitable for ceremonial occasions including funerals.  These can be provided free (except for P & P) to ARNO members and for a nominal £10 charge to non-members subject to a refundable £50 deposit.

Committal of Ashes

Portsmouth, Devonport and Clyde Naval Bases provide this service, subject to weather conditions, on a regular basis.  These are provided free of charge with the exception of casks which must also be biodegradable. A limited number of family/friends are also able to attend.

Contact telephone numbers are: –

Portsmouth 0239 2723 000

Devonport 0175 2555 427

Clyde 0143 6674 321 x 6150



Any veteran, who has served for 22 years or has a campaign medal, irrespective of rank, is entitled to the services of a bugler, free of charge, at their funeral.  This is subject to operational commitments/availability.

Queries should be directed in the first instance to: –

Phone: 0300 169 6605.


RNWA Standard

The RNWA Standard can be made available for members funerals subject to: –

  1. The family accepting the cost of transporting the standard to their home and return including insurance or arranging for its personal collection and return from the RNWA President.
  2. The family arranging a standard bearer using local organisations e.g., RNA/British Legion
  3. Subject to location and availability, it might be possible if local to the Portsmouth area for a RNWA Committee or member to be made available to act as standard bearer subject to request via the RNWA President and voluntary member availability.

Veterans Bereavement Support Services

The Veterans Bereavement Support Service is a bespoke FREE service for families needing assistance and support with bereavement including advice on funeral care 365 days a year from their office in Romsey. Further information is available on their website , or email or call 07885 498462.