Hedley G B Lock
Paying our respects - by Derek Usher

(I thought I'd also add my couple of words/recollections of Hedley's day, to those of our other brave stalwart Richard "Shiner" Wright's. Richard I'm sure that Jenny & family appreciated your efforts enormously for taking so much trouble to travel such a long distance, just to be present for Hedley's draft upstairs! Clearly, with the 'demons' that you're having to fight so bravely yourself, it could not have been in the least bit easy for you. Well done mate! Having said all this I'm the guilty one, for when I spotted you at the wake I was going to pop over & have a word with you, but with so many old faces attending & getting round to speak to everyone of them was proving difficult to say the least! But then just when I was ready to make myself known to you, to say "hello" etc; you'd obviously had to move on! So please accept my apologies.)

But folks, isn't this just one small indicator & yet another fine example of the measure of our ex RMB's being of one mind, sticking together & supporting each other whenever there is a calling or time of need? (Never will you see such camaraderie in civilian life as we all seem to engender. I at least have yet to experience it!).

There many others there who had also travelled from all areas of the UK & it was truly great to see everyone again. If I start listing here I know I will miss them out but I have to mention a big "Well Done" to the other member of the Euph' section, Barry Radford. Barry was yet another member who'd made such a valiant effort to be there in spite of his recent health problems too. Also great to see another one of our family in Bob Baker (who is also not experiencing the best of what life can dish out at present) But Bob, I know, is one of many to keep in regular contact with Hedley recently & hopes to continue supporting Jenny with the odd call to let her know that we're all thinking of her. Well done Bob & great to see you again by the way!

(Bob & I were actually in the same Brass Band Solo Contest in Barnstaple Devon in 1955, - Different Bands! - prior to joining the RM. So imagine the surprised look on both our faces when I walked into the galley as new recruit in April 1957, there was Bob in the queue ahead of me! He'd joined a year or so earlier).

The service was, - as you might imagine, - one of the most moving events. But talk about attempting to get a "Quart into a Pint pot!" - The chapel was at bursting point! I guess it should have been expected, knowing the strength of Hedley's popularity as a man & person, but this was ridiculous! Poor Bob Cummins, who was appointed to the role of Usher, (Should have been me!) did an admirable job. But certainly Bob had his work cut out getting everyone into the large chapel. It was standing room only on both sides, the rear & eventually, when there wasn't a square inch to stand in, the centre aisle.

Jon Yates led a brilliant quintet from the RMA Concert Band that comprised Jon, Roger Hammond, Bob Scarrett, Dave Thomas & Dave Yates (Fully rigged in uni' of course!) It all succeeded in making the occasion just right playing both suitable incidental music, together with the hymns "Abide with Me" & "The Naval Hymn", Eternal Father prior to Hedley's Commendation & Committal.

The service was wonderfully & appropriately led by ex RMB Boy & now RMA Concert Band Trombonist the Rt. Revd Dr J Barry Shucksmith (R.N. Rtd.,) who also added to the many tributes to the life of such a character as Hedley. (A total one off to say the least!)

Ex RMB Alan "Hooky" Walker was a close friend, musical friend & golfing chum of Hedley's and was the first to pay tribute to the "man", in such a way, that he had the whole chapel in absolute "stitches " as he recalled their times together & recounted many of the hilarious pranks that Hedley had carried out throughout his life. "Hooky's" anecdotes were endless as you may imagine. Contact me or Hooky for details! - Suffice to say in a chapel & on an occasion such as this, "Hooky" had to be extremely sparing with his language & not to add too much colour to his recallings!! - Well done Alan however. It was wonderful & Hedders would have enjoyed!

Next up was Hedley's "Auntie" Pate whom he was very fond of & she had written a very moving & amusing poem dedicated to him entitled "Hedley".

The whole occasion appeared to be filled with "Tears of Joy & Tears of sadness" throughout. - But I think Hedley had the best send off that he could have wished for surrounded by so many of his wonderful large family, his closest friends, & most importantly too his old RM comrades, - who had made such an effort to be there with him. An RM Bugler sounded The Last Post followed by Reveille before his coffin, - appropriately draped with the Union Flag topped by his old Pompey Group RM Cap, - moved on to a higher plain for his next reunion, to the strains of "Some Enchanted Evening" played by Jon & the boys.

The wake took place at his old Seaford Head Golf Club and there was the most wonderful spread laid out to feed the 5,000 or more. Free wine for all too. Such magnificent catering. Cheers! Hedley & Co. Glorious Day barely a cloud in the sky & such a perfect setting for a send off. Only Hedley could have arranged such a day! - I think he organised it in order to clearly see his way to Heaven & pick himself a out decent cloud or spot on which to reside on, before he met up with the rest of his old chums, who had been sent there on drafts there before him!

RIP Hedley George Belsham Lock

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