This is a précis of son, Jonathan’s, tribute to his father at his funeral at St.Agatha’s Church on 9 July 2010.
My sister Julia and I have been privileged to have a wonderful and loving father. He had a warm and welcoming temperament and a great sense of humour.
He was to complete his preliminary accountancy exams and then joined the Navy as an Ordinary Seaman, as he used to say a very ordinary seaman. He did make it to Able Seaman but was passed over for selection for a commission because instead of looking lively and throwing a rope he was just admiring the view! Spurred on by this early set back he gained his commission and on 8 June, 1944 he was a Sub-Lieutenant in HMS Lawford which was acting as a headquarters ship off the Normandy beaches. At 0500 an enemy aircraft suddenly appeared and dropped a 500lb bomb which penetrated the main deck. When we asked Dad about this he said he remembered the bomb hitting. He also remembered standing on deck looking into the grey channel, taking his shoes off and putting them neatly together and then jumping. While swimming around he thought that he should have remembered his life jacket. Secondly, he remembered, as the chap in charge of the wardroom safe, now on the seabed, and having done reconciliation the day before and found it , he had made up the deficit with his own cash much to his chagrin.
He moved to The Old Barn in Sotwell in 1969 and was welcomed into the Village with much kindness. In turn he was very sociable and welcoming which was much appreciated by Julia and me as we used to bring home many friends from University including, once, a minibus load from various countries of the world. A ready supply of Home Brew helped on these occasions, whether the visitors were students, beekeepers or newcomers to the Village.
He enjoyed his life in Brightwell,be it digging the allotment, walking the dog, helping with the Fete, printing The Villagerand even collecting for the Conservatives! St. James was close to his heart, too, whether as reader, sidesman or just mowing the grass which he did for many years.
It is said that you live on in the memories of others and if this is the case Basil will have a very long and happy after life.
We will miss him very much.
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