Maritime Volunteer Service

Patron: H. R. H. Prince Michael of Kent

East Sussex Sovereign Harbour Unit

A Company limited by Guarantee No. 3003565. A Registered Charity in England and Wales No. 1048454 and in Scotland SC 039269. Registered Address: International Business Centre, Delta Crescent, Warrington, WA5 7WQ

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Updated 05 / 03 / 2018

HERO'S SEND OFF - World War II sailor honoured for saving drowning pals after destroyer was sunk protecting supply ships buried at sea after dying at 101  - Article in the Sun Newspaper by Kathryn Cain

Bryan Clowes served with the Arctic Convoys

Before his body was taken to the burial site, which is eight miles off the coast of Newhaven, a service was held at Royal Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne, East Sussex, attended by his family and friends on Tuesday. Helped by a team from the Maritime Volunteer Service (MVS), Mr Clowes’ coffin, covered in a Union Jack flag and poppies, was taken to sea as the Last Post played. The service was a touching tribute to war time sailor Mr Clowes, who joined the Marine Society aged 14 in 1930 for training, before transferring to the Royal Navy two years later. He climbed the ranks to Chief Petty Officer serving on the destroyer HMS Bedouin on the Arctic convoys, protecting merchant ships heading to Russia.

But while escorting merchant vessels carrying much needed supplies and food to the besieged island of Malta in the Mediterranean, the ship engaged in action with two larger Italian cruisers. Outgunned she sank with the loss of 28 men. Mr Clowes was one of the 213 survivors picked up by the Italian Navy following the sinking in June 1942 and made a prisoner of war. Mr Clowes returned home in 1945, and in 1947, while on recuperation, he met his future wife Enid on Eastbourne pier during a dance. Mr Clowes stayed in the navy until 1955 and then joined the civil service, but remained in the Royal Navy Reserve.

David Hughes, from the Maritime Volunteer Service said: “It is rare for someone to be buried at sea. We’ve only had two this year, one in January and then Mr Clowes. But given who he was and what he achieved, it was truly an honour to help out.”