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In Memory



GI Ralph Bladen


  Crossed the bar  
  6th March 2013  
  Funeral Arrangements  
  1200 Wednesday 20th March  
  Church of England  
  On Completion in the Mess at HMS Raleigh collections will go to "The Mustard Tree Macmillan Centre" and "The Royal British Legion"  

Ralph lost a hard fought battle against terminal illness, his courage throughout was unquestionable and a credit to himself and others close to him.

  Calm Seas and Fair Winds Shipmate.  
  To add your memories of  Ralph Click Here  
  The next Thursday GI's meeting at  the St Levens Inn will be a Memorial Tribute to Ralph.  

Hey Oppo,  we had such a great laugh on Friday for that 2.5 hours – how can you be gone soooo soon?  I spoke with both your Boys today and they are good. You touched many lives and you will be sorely missed.  Your courage and strength – an inspiration to ALL. Fair Winds indeed, Mate.  At least you’ll be wearing your GI’s Association shirt on your last Passage – Single Up!!!


Steve Lewis


Of all the ships I have served, you by far had the greatest impact as a CPO (OPS)M, you were a great friend and mentor, a true inspiration. I am so glad I had the chance to see you and share some memories during your final days. I'm sure it won't be long before you're Heaven's Depco, just make sure all the gunners are blue card.

I will never forget you Ralph Bladen x


Gary Stones


I worked briefly with Ralph at FOST. He  had rejoined as a Chief and he was a wonderful fella! He loved to wind me up as I was always  camudgenly and bitter about foreign sea rides, whereas Ralph of course was always positive, friendly and happy to learn about our European cousins. When we rode together (I was a Warrant) it was an absolute delight to be with him. He was funny, gracious, supportive and knowledgeable... But my ever lasting memory of Ralph was that he was honest and open and easy to connect with. I get the impression (and I'm ready to be corrected Helen & the boys) that he was far less scared of his passing than we were... and as such, he stands as a shining example to me. It was an honour to have served with you Ralph.


Scott Stephenson


I first met Ralph all those years ago when I was on killicks course and Ralph was on POs course. Such a lovely guy and later I was privileged to have served with him on HMS Danae. Ralph always looked on the bright side of things and we had some good times and laughter together (especially with his partner in crime Henry Cooper). Ralph you were a good friend, sincere and a true gentleman. Sleep well shippers, you will never be forgotten.


Daz Honeychurch x

  Duty done shippers.  Stand easy.  


I met Ralph (or Fred as he introduced himself to me) on Lime street station Liverpool on our way to Raleigh to join up in May 1976. We found ourselves in the same class (Frobisher 13) and on all the same lessons. We both opted to be Gunners and went to Cambridge together and from there we both joined HMS Salisbury in Hull. We both stayed on the Salisbury until it was decommissioned always trying to outdo each other; who could complete their task book first, who would get their AB's rate first. Usually it was me as I was all of 9 day older than him :)  When we left the Salisbury I got drafted to Pompey and we lost touch for a long time, when we eventually found each other again he would always rib me about giving up our birth right as I had decided to branch change to Seaman Spec, he was always proud to be a Gunner and bloody good one as well. We tried to meet up for our 50th as he was in the Caribbean on one of his HAL cruise liners and I was also out there but on a P&O cruise unfortunately the ships didn't meet in any port so it was a case of happy birthday text messages. Last week he posted the photo of us on our passing our parade, taken by my Mum, asking if I remembered those days, I remember it like it was only yesterday. I wish I could have been back in the UK to go down and see him in his final days but I was away on a skiing holiday or "living the champagne lifestyle" as he put it. I will miss you shipmate and our Facebook chats. God Bless you and May you rest in peace. RIP Ralph Bladen.

  Paul Paton  


Throughout my time in the Andrew I did not actually serve in the same place but our paths crossed several times. He always had a smile on his face and would give up his time to help others. Rest in Peace “Scouse” out of pain and “all night in”.

  Father Godson  


Bon Voyage to a true Shipmate, Sailor and Friend. We had great times, fond memories and it was a privilege to have served with you on the Battleaxe.Fair winds and calm waters Shipmate.

  Trev x  

  A good man whom always had time to lift the spirits of those who were down even when he was fighting his own battles. For this I will be eternally grateful. You were a true gent my friend. You shall live on in my thoughts forever. Until we meet again big man.  Your pal George.  
  Ray Mowatt  


Met Ralph at HMS Cambria an RNR training base in South Wales.  I was the AB(M).  Had a great time.  He was an amazing chief but an even better friend.  You will be missed.  It was a pleasure. 

  Andy Meredith  


It is so sad that Scouse is no longer with us, as soon as I found out at work I went straight home, it knocked me for 6. I didn’t think it would but then I thought about how much he’s done for me over the years, stuff he wouldn’t even notice and I owe a lot to him. I first met the guy while running a NAPWTs for my Ship, he was Chief of the Range and I found him to be very helpful and gave me all the support I needed from him and for me to fulfil my remit to the SPO, I couldn’t help but like him straight away. Once I’d finished with that ship and got a Draft to Raleigh NMT I had the chance to get back to the GIs meetings regularly and at that point, he was Social Sec. I remember saying at a meeting once that I was available to help out the Association in any way I could, I was thinking along the lines of turning up for decorating a hospital ward or something but the next month he piped up and suggested me to relieve him as Social Sec, I think his words were something like “I think it’s about time we got some of our more junior members in the committee and Ty would be ideal to take over from me”. That was a bit of a shock and something I hadn’t considered but as things turned out, I beat the dozens of other candidates and was voted in! I did that job for around 3 years before handing over the reigns when my next Sea Draft came through, why I didn’t get sacked I don’t know! I learnt a lot about networking, forward planning, planning, backup planning, crisis management and meeting deadlines with numbers, a lot of those skills came in handy as a Depco without a doubt. To this date, there isn’t a single meeting that goes by which I make it to where the “Thankless Task” callsign doesn’t get mentioned along with a little giggle from all who’re at the table, you could argue that my tenure as Social Sec wouldn’t have happened if Scouse hadn’t put my name forward, I would never have thought of me and I don’t know if anyone else would have either. It was also Scouse who came up with the notion of a Stag Dinner which has had its highs and lows but now we’ve broke free of the Raleigh Money Pit, I think that particular event will only gather more success as the years go on.When he worked at FOST, he was still a regular attendee at the meetings which has proven tricky for others working there but he still managed it, God knows how. His input at those meetings was good and positive stuff, always passing out the latest focus from FOST and for someone like me, a guy on the coal face, it was welcome information. At the last Stag Dinner, I asked him about Cruise Liners, I asked him towards the end of the night as I felt a bit bad about hounding him about this kind of thing when he had his own issues to deal with but emboldened with Lager, we talked. He sent me the contacts for his firm, critiqued my CV and backed up my application with an e-mail from himself bigging me up. He did that in late Jan, with everything he was going through, he was still helping out his Oppos whereas you would expect most to wrap in and concentrate on themselves, I know I would. The thing that’s upset me the most about his loss was because I believed 100% that he’d beat the illness because he was so damn positive about it. Cancer takes no favourites but before Wednesday, I knew he’d come out a winner. I owe a lot to Scouse and I don’t think either of us realised just how much he’s done for me, I’m just an Oppo from the GIs, I’ve never served with him on a Pussers Gray and when I came across him and the GIs scene as a snotty nosed junior PO he unconsciously mentored me. What a guy he was, on my last message to him on fb I said he was amazing and he was everything that that word says and so much more. – Yup, I’m mega gutted and after the last weekend of thinking & reflecting about him, I understand exactly why his loss to me is so profound. What a guy. I’m honoured that I’ll be carrying him on his last passage as it seems to me, he’s carried me for years.


Ty Baker (Thankless Task)



One of lives good guys gone far too early,our thoughts are with Karen and the family, RIP Ralph gone but never forgotten.

  Nigel Loar  




Semper Strenuissima

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