John Boyd: 1917 - December 2001
John Boyd died on 21st December 2001 after many years of ill health. Before he retired John was caretaker of the Parish Church Hall and the Mansion until ill health struck him. He was a very interesting man. Talking was his favourite pastime, so that when you visited him you never knew how long you would be, but you always learned a great deal about old Leatherhead, our church and the people who had preceded us. When Joan Burnett's father, who used to be Verger and Parish Clerk, was late for his dinner her mother always knew he had been talking to John. Phoebe, John's wife was an invalid for many years, and John was a very caring husband. When she died in 1998 John missed her greatly.
Until John was awarded a medal from Russia in 1991 for his service and bravery no one knew of his heroic war record. He was a Petty Officer in the Navy during the war serving with Russian convoys and was on the first and the last ships that were sunk.
When HMS Blanch, the first ship to be torpedoed, went down John was in freezing water for seven hours. He was on HMS York when it was sunk off Crete and on HMS Cassandra the last ship to be torpedoed. He was rescued and woke up in a Russian hospital, later being invalided out of the Navy as a result of the injuries he received. It was only of late that he spoke of what it was like to be blown up three times.
John leaves a son, Johnny, a daughter, Audrey, four grandchildren and one great grandson. Olive, a cousin, who came to live with John and Phoebe twelve years ago has been a wonderful carer to both John and Phoebe. We remember them and their loving family in our prayers.
If you have a photo of John or further remembrance to add, please contact Frank Haslam, the editor of these pages.
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