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Ronald Alexander Spedding

Stoker Third Class
Service no. 38040


My Grandfather was a survivor from the HMS Repulse sinking.
He was a stoker and I have heard many times the stories of that fateful day.
I am and always will be very proud of him.
His name is Ronald Alexander Spedding, he has never showed any willing in a reunion but myself and family would love to hear from anyone who knew him.
He lives in Stockton-on-tees.
He was a Third class stoker, service number 38040 he said he never forgets his number as he had to quote it each time he went to receive his pay packet, I guess some things never leave you.

There's lot of lovely stories to be told and it would be great for our family to see them forever on your site.

Andrew Cockerill (Grandson)

Ronald Spedding shortly after enlistment in the Royal Navy

Ronald Alexander Spedding, in February 2003 on his 90th Birthday

Ron Spedding, was a character, truly one of a kind.....

He was part of a concert party before the war, maybe playing on the "Bogie" looks in the local pubs and clubs, he was the singer, always said he continued singing even if the place was full of drunks fighting, or folks throwing stuff at them.....
He said whenever you are off duty never sleep under the guns of a battleship on a sunny day incase some bugger moves the could get sunburnt & end up on a charge of being "unfit for duty"

After the Repulse sank he ended up on a destroyer that spent time going to the smaller islands before the Japs arrived, blowing up equipment, oil tanks etc., on one island Ron & his buddy found a fully stocked bar that had been abandoned, so after setting the charges to whatever was to be blown up they found a wheel barrow, filled it up with all the best booze & hightailed it back to the ship, of course they never got it on board, it all ended up in the sea except a small bottle one of the officers allowed him to keep for his birthday.

Nearly jumped overboard on his next ship when it was attacked, he was going to be charged until the Captain found out he had been on the Repulse.

Was in the US when he needed treatment for something, ended up in a New York hospital for old folks and was the laughing stock of his shipmates, until they met the young nurses making a fuss of a handsome suntanned sailor who looked like "Bogie".
While in New York he tried to see one of his favorite bands, Harry James & his Trumpet, in a ritzy night club, when told the cover charge was $5 he said he only wanted to see Harry James not buy his bloody trumpet! He never did see him.....

Ron never talked much about the war, but one time when visiting us in Canada, he sat outside on the patio in the warm summer air drinking Canadian beer, he was telling us it wasn't very strong we were just quenching our thirst because it was cold, anyway he was telling the New York story about those young nurses & the Harry James tale, the more he drank the louder he got, & the girls inside the house kept turning up the volume on the radio so Violet, his wife, couldn't hear. Eventually he got up from his chair & promptly fell into the bushes....he never really drank too much beer, he loved his Navy rum a whole lot more.....

Anyway this is a little about Ron, he was a great man

Regards...Jeff Taylor (Son in Law)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (ex Stockton -on-Tees)

Ron in his tropical rig (232612 bytes)

Visiting cape Town in 1941.jpg (282735 bytes)

Ron with a new uniform and haircut just after he was called up (128184 bytes)

Here are some photos of Ron, one in his tropical uniform, one from the visit of HMS Repulse to Cape Town & the last one of Ron in his new uniform (and haircut) just after he was called up. He was quite the character right up to his last days, all his grandchildren, and indeed his children, always received advice on everything under the sun, whether we needed it or not. After his wife passed away he always did his laundry the Navy way, (so he said), throw it all in the bathtub, with the washing powder, and with bare feet stamp up & down on it all, then rinse & dry. The laundry on his washing line was the cleanest in the street !

Ron in a very smart suit looking like Humphrey Bogart (364699 bytes)

Humphrey Bogart in a very smart suit looking like Ron Spedding (16901 bytes)

Ron bore more than a passing resemblance to the movie star Humphrey Bogart, a fact which he took advantage of on a number of occasions. But then you would if you had the chance!

Update 25th March 2005:
My Grandfather has died of a culmination of a chest infection caused by Pneumonia thus damaging his heart. After a couple of weeks in hospital he passed away on Friday 25th March at dinnertime. He'll now be re-united with his former shipmates, wife and eldest daughter. He was 92 years old.

Andrew Cockerill

Please contact Andy (webmaster) with any information.

Andy Wade (Webmaster)

Ron on his 90th birthday in February 2003 with his Son in law, and his Grandson Andrew  (39794 bytes)

Ron on his 90th birthday in February 2003 with two of his daughters, Dorothy and Margaret (45847 bytes)

Information provided by
Andrew Cockerill (Grandson) and Jeff Taylor, Son in Law.