Crew Notes: N - Z
This page is about the crew members I do not yet have enough information to create their own page.
D. M. Neale
Neale was an Able Seaman on the 1957/8 commission. He was also a keen ornithologist or twitcher, at least he was interested enough to send reports to Royal Naval Birdwatching Society. In the December 1959 issue of The Sea Swallow he reported seeing various species of Cormorants, Frigates, Gulls, Noddies, Petrels, Shearwaters, and Terns on the commssion around the Indiana Ocean includingthe Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, and Chagos, Mauritius, Reunion, and Sand islands.
Daniel J. Nelson
Daniel was a stoker and served in the Royal Navy from 1938 to 1950. He was on HMS Gambia from October 1948 to November 1949. His records say he was DBs79 and donkey boiler watch keeper. As far as I can tell, HMS Gambia was laid up during those years and was maybe under consideration for being scrapped.
Charles William "Bill" Nicholson
Bill, CPO CEM(L). Served 1945 - 1968 on board HMS Bermuda, Roberts, submarine Acheron, t. Kitts, Delight, Leeds Castle, Rame Head, Rhyl, Forth and as CPO in charge of electric and electronic Close Range Gunnery Systems on board HMS Gambia (1958 - 1961). Upon leaving the Royal Navy he worked on the Polaris guided missile programme on assignment with the US Navy in Florida. He was a member of the HMS Gambia Association and the Royal Navy Association. He died on March 25, 2012 aged 84. From Navy News, May 2012
T. H. Norman
The obituary page of the December 2001 issue of Navy News lists T. H. Norman as being a Commander who served on Furious, Sheffield, Volage, Caledonia, President, Gambia, Bellerophon, Nelson, and Tamar.
Fredrick Howard Parker
Fredrick was in the Royal Navy from 1940 to 1946 and served onboard HMS Gambia between August 2, 1941 and August 5, 1942 as a Steward. His son, Vincent, was also in the navy from 1967 until 2002. He served HMS Antelope during the Falklands War.
George Harold Pearce
George was a Lieutenant Commander on HMS Gambia for the 1957/58 commission. His son, Nigel, was christened onboard the ship in Rosyth dockyard on October 5, 1958. His baptism certificate was signed by the ships Chaplain, Kenneth Evans. George passed away in 1992.
John Peers came from Warrington, Cheshire and served on HMS Gambia from 1950 to 1952 as a radar operator. He was a winner of a Silver Oar earned in the fleet regatta.
James Pennington was a stoker on HMS Gambia. He was from Taranaki, New Zealand and passed away in 2008.
Allan Pickwick was a Royal Marine, service number RM15295, and he served from 1955 to 1965. He served on HMS Gambia for the 1957/58 commission. He also served on HMS Resolution (1959 - 1960) and HMS Bellerophon (1962 - 1965). In the Marines he became a corporal and Physical Training Instructor.
John George Pike
John was a member of the South African Training Ship General Botha Old Boys Association where this information comes from:
On January 1, 1944 John was appointed Temporary Midshipman Royal Naval Reserve. Served on HMS Newcastle and HMNZA Gambia. In 1944/45 he was serving as a midshipman on HMS Gambia. In 1945 he received Commander in Chief's commendation for valuable service.
1946 transferred Soth African Navy Force (V). Released March 1946. University of Witwatersrand and Imperial College London. Qualified Civil Engineer. 1952 – 1964 – joined British Colonial Service. Served in Nyasaland.
1965 – 1986 joined United Nations. Served in London, Botswana, Saudi Arabia, Persian Gulf, Iran, Thailand and elsewhere.
1985 retired and then practiced as a Consulting Engineer based in the U.K.
John passed away on September 26, 1994 and his ashes were put to sea off Simon's Town.
William Leonard Prosser
William served on HMS Gambia as Chief Petty Officer on the 1952 to 1954 commission. His service number was D/JX.136118. The London Gazette of 16 February, 1954 reported that "The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the British Empire Medal (Military Division) for distinguished service in the Greek earthquake relief operations in August, 1953" to him.
Geoff "Dusty" Rhodes
Geoff served as a Royal Marine on the 1957/58 commission and passed away on February 1, 2013. Fellow Marine and friend Bob Jackson wrote in the original HMS Gambia guestbook:
Geoff (sometimes Dusty) and I became friends in the Marines mess during the 1957/8 commission. Other Marine friends included John Crawford, whose passed away in July 2012, Mick Jordan and Scouse Tait. Following the commission Geoff went to Eastney where he had a serious accident in the gym, breaking his neck and becoming wheelchair dependent for the rest of his life.
Although he had to leave the service he never gave up. He was involved in para olympic sport at Stoke Manderville. He trained in accounts and had a full working life. He married Sandra and had two children and two grandchilden who will all miss him greatly. Despite his problems he never gave up and was a fighter all his life. I am pleased that we retained our friendship and I visited him in hospital just a few days before he died. Geoff was a great character and a credit to the Royal Marines.
Harry Riley was a Commander who died at sea on January 14, 1943 while serving on HMS Gambia. Aged 39 or 40. He was Fleet Commissioner, China Fleet and was the son of George Bruce and Margaret Ann Riley, of Colne.
Stuart was a Royal Marine who served on HMNZS Gambia from 1943 to 1946. Stuart passed away in May 2012, aged 89.
Robert William Horder Rye
Robert Rye C/M39920, was a Master at Arms on HMS Gambia in 1943. The Admiralty Fleet Orders for June 10, 1943 lists him as being awarded the British Empire Medal by King George VI on the occasion of the King's Birthday.
Clarence Sheffield (1908 - 1997) served on HMS Gambia as Engineroom Artificer 1st Class for the 195/56 commission.
Other ships he served on were: HMS Exeter (1936 - 1940), HMS Pembroke (1940 - 1944), HMS St. Angelo (1940 - 1944), HMS Cormorant (1940 - 1944), HMS Ferret (1940 - 1944), HMS Spartiate (1940 - 1944), HMS Caroline (1940 - 1944), HMS Tyne (1941 - 1944), HMS Afrikander (1945), HMS Highflyer (1945 - 1945), HMS Sparrow (1946 - 1947), HMS Sheffield (1948 - 1948), HMS Cumberland (1949 - 1951), HMS Perseus (1949 - 1949), HMS Pickle (1952 - 1954), HMS Gambia (1955 - 1956), HMS Orion (1956 - 1956), and HMS Adamant (1957)
I. G. Spence
I. G. Spence's service number was NZ2230 and he was a Leading Stoker on HMNZS Gambia from 1943 to 1946. He also served on HMS Achilles and was awarded the 1939/45 Star, Atlantic Star, Pacific Star (Clasp: Burma), 1939/45 War Medal, 1939/45 NZ War Service Medal.
Ron served as an Able Seaman during WWII. He served on HMS Gambia between 1941 and 1943. this photo of Ron was taken in 2007 and was submitted by Bill Hartland.
Victor Steeple wasa Royal Marine from 1950 to 1961. He served on HMS Gambia as a sergeant for the 1955/66 commission. Other ships he served on were HMS Ceylon (1950 - 1952), HMS Cleopatra (1953 - 1953), HMS Superb (1953 - 1954), HMS Gambia (1955 - 1956), and HMS Pembroke (1956 - 1959).
Wilton "Bill" Sterritt
Bill was born in 1923 and his service number was RNZN4585. He served on Gambia as Able Seaman (Radar) from her commissioning in Liverpool until his discharge in 1946.
Geoff, who served as Electrical Mechanician 1st Class on the 1959/60 commission of HMS Gambia, passed away in early May 2017.
Edward Courtney Thorne
The future Rear Admiral EC Thorne, CB, CBE, RNZN Chief of Naval Staff: July 1972 – December 1975, served on HMNZS Gambia as a Lieutenant at the end of WWII during the time the ship was returned to Britain. The RNZN Communicators Association website has a biography of this distinguished sailor.
Thomas "Tommy" Sweeny
Tommy was born on August 3, 1925
Fred, who served as Mechanic (E) on the 1955/56 commission of HMS Gambia, passed away on July 2, 2013.
Robert, who served as Stoker Mechanic on HMS Gambia from 1948 to 1952, passed away on August 23, 2011. His service number was D/SKX 838000.
Ken was on HMNZS Gambia at the surrender of Japan in 1945. He lived in Napier, New Zealand.
John Charles Warsop
John Warsop rose to Rear-Admiral. He was born in 1927 and joined the Royal Navy in 1949. He was made Rear-Admiral in 1981 and retired in 1986. He died in 1995.
The following comes from the Liddell Hart Military Archives:
Born in 1927; educated at Gateway School, Leicester, and Royal Naval College, Eaton Hall, Chester; attended Royal Naval Engineering College, Keyham, Plymouth, 1945-1948; served on HMS Theseus and HMS Gambia, 1949-1950; Royal Naval College, Greenwich, 1950-1952; served on HMS Superb, 1952-1954; Staff, Royal Naval Engineering College, 1954-1956; Ministry of Defence, 1956-1959; Senior Engineer, HMS Ark Royal, 1959-1961; Ministry of Defence, 1961-1965, 1968-1970, 1972-1975 and 1979-1981; British Defence Staff, Washington, USA, 1965-1968; Engineer Officer, HMS Blake, 1970-1972; Commanding Officer, HMS Fisgard, 1975-1978; Rear Admiral, 1981; Port Administrator, Rosyth, 1981-1983; Flag Officer and Naval Base Commander, Portsmouth, 1983-1985; retired, 1986; died in 1995.
Edward "Ted" Webb
Ted may or may not have served on HMS Gambia during WWII. His granddaughter, Dawn explains:
Grandad didn't talk much about his service during the war but we were led to believe he served on HMS Gambia at some point. He had a painting of HMS Gambia on the wall and spoke to my Uncle about being on board.
We did know my Grandad was a telegraphist at HMS Ceylon and we have found photos of him at this station. We know he was part of the team intercepting Japanese code. I have tried to trace his service via the Royal Navy records but although they could provide a brief service history, there are gaps in his service which can't be traced. I know my Grandad did say that he took on different names, so he could go on board other ships or submarines and not be traced. My Grandad did make a comment that he was entitled to more medals for his service than he received but they were listed under another name. Perhaps he took on a different name for his time on HMS Gambia.
Peter was a Royal Marine Bandsman serving on HMS Gambia 1957/8. His funeral took place on Wednesday, June 27, 2012.
Robert Widders, Amos's son, emailed me in March 2009 saying that Amos served on HMS Gambia as a stoker during the Suez campaign, which would have been in 1956.
Robert is quite a man, he is thought to be the last man alive who served in all three armed services. He wrote a book of his adventures "A Few Deeds Short of a Hero"
Ivan was a torpedoman on the Gambia during WWII. He also served on the HMNZS Matai, a lighthouse tender and QT4045 Fairmile motor launch.