Saturday, June 06, 2020

Procedure for reporting deaths of members and AOBA Remembrance Scrolls can be found on the right side of this page

John Frederick Northam 47A

14590530 WO1 (ASM)  REME 29th August 1932 – 23rd January 2015

image to follow

John Northam came from an extended military family background. His father, E.F.W. Northam retired from the REME as a Major and so it was no surprise that John enrolled into boy service in 1947 at the Exeter recruiting office (aged 14) and then completed more than 28 years army service before retiring in 1975.

After attending the army technical school at Arborfield (intake 47A) John transferred to REME himself as a fitter and completed his Artificer training in 1957. He was subsequently trained in works study at the Royal Military College and saw service in Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore during this time.

Also in 1957 and by now a S/Sgt. John met and married June in Harwich. Shortly after their wedding they were posted to Cyprus where their two children Christopher and Suzanne were born.

Whilst back at home in 1963 John was promoted to WOII which preceded postings to Malaya, Singapore and BAOR before finally arriving permanently back in the UK with the rank of WOI (ASM) in 1972 and finally retiring from the forces in 1975 when his service conduct was noted as 'Exemplary'.

These service notes (handwritten by the OIC at that time) also stated that John “is a calm, confident man with much experience as a man manager and organiser.........particularly able at combining his engineering knowledge and workshop practice with his work study training and experience... a most reliable and completely trustworthy man”.

In the 1980/90's John was back at  Arborfield college as an Instructor and it was his brain child to start newsletters for the AOBA; this developed into OBAN making him it's first editor.

John died on 23rd January 2015 after a long period of suffering from acute emphysema (C.O.P.D.) and he leaves his wife June, daughter Suzanne and son Christopher.

John's funeral took place on 20th February 2015 at Hawkinge Crematorium in Kent with a good few  ex-Arborfield old boys voluntarily present. John's wish was that any donations be made, if desired, to the Army Benevolent Fund as the army was his life.


                                                  Dieu et mon droit

Notifying Deaths of Ex Arborfield Boys and requests for an AOBA Remembrance Scroll

Reporting Deaths

In the event of an ex Arborfield Old Boys death it would be most helpful if members could report as much of the following information to the Bereavement Officer or to any AOBA Committee member: The full name of the deceased, his intake number and date of death. Also the full name and address of the next of kin (n-o-k) of the deceased. Normally who ever reports the death is a friend or is known to the family and it is better that they negotiate on our behalf, with the n-o-k or family, not myself or committee members to obtain all the necessary information.

Note: After some drumhead services a few members mentioned that some deaths were not read out and no crosses were planted for them. Majority of the names mentioned were found to be from the previous year and were recorded, a small number were not. The reason why we miss some is because we have not been informed or we have insufficient information to record the death. Members are reminded to report deaths as and when they are aware of them. If you know of an ex Arborfield boy who has passed away and is not listed in the AOBA Roll of Honour (Can be seen on the AOBA Website) then please let me have their details.

A request for an AOBA Remembrance Scroll

I would like to remind members that I do not automatically send out a Remembrance Scroll when I’m notified of a death.  I only send them when requested by whoever has made contact with the family of the deceased and only then when the n-o-k has confirmed that they would like to receive one.  Remembrance Scrolls can be requested in the memory of the deceased for both AOBA members and non members. The minimum information required, before a scroll is sent, is listed in sub paragraphs a. & b. below:

a. Full name of the deceased, his intake number and date of death.

b. The n-o-k or family member’s full name, ensuring that we have their first name, and the address to where the scroll should be sent.

c. If a member of the AOBA his membership number, if available.

When it has been confirmed that the n-o-k of the deceased has requested a Remembrance Scroll, I will only send one if I have all the detail as listed in sub paragraphs a. & b. above. I will not send a scroll until I’m in receipt of all this detail. As you can imagine, if we get any of this detail wrong, it could cause extra grief to the bereaved.

You can contact me through the completion of the short webform found here