Clive Swatton – 1939 – 2013

Clive was the son of Major Charles Henry Swatton and Bertha Slade.  He was born in a British Military hospital in Karachi, India on 21st June 1939, the last child of four children.

As the war had just broken out the family were requested to return to England. At two months old they prepared to travel by ship to Southampton when Clive developed dysentery.  Due to this their departure was delayed, and were instructed to travel on the next available ship.  Clive’s dysentery saved their lives. The ship ahead was torpedoed, and sank.

For the next 6 years Clive lived with his mother, 2 brothers (Mick and Sid) and sister (Patsy) in Titchfield, near Portsmouth. Their family home town.  His father was supporting the war effort in India, Egypt, and Iraq to name a few. In Titchfield the sirens would signal an incoming air raid, and it was essential for everyone in their homes to “run for cover.”  Brother Sid recalls one typical instance of a raid when after the very first note of the sirens, a tiny three year old Clive had jumped out of his cot and was observed racing downstairs and out to the shelter before anyone had even got out of bed. 

When the war ended the family were reunited, and posted to Berlin, Germany. Even when young, Clive seemed to have “warrior” characteristics. Although he would always be prepared to fight the usual bullies, invariably dragging his older brother, Mick, reluctantly into the melee. Clive often told stories of his time here, being shoved off the bus by the German boys on the way to school, and how he was champion at not wincing to a Chinese burn.

On return to England the family set up home in Dover.  These were happy years for Clive, the best being when at the tender age of 15 he attended the Army Apprentice School in Aborfield.   He trained as an Instrument Technician making “satisfactory progress” although needing to improve his map reading.

On completion of his apprenticeship in 1957 Clive passed out as a soldier and tradesman where he joined the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).

He really took to the engineering lifestyle, enjoying the company of his army comrades, and making good friendships, which lasted many years after finishing his actual military service.

During his military service Clive was posted to a camp in Gibraltar, which his father had served in years previously.  It was here, in Gibraltar, where Clive eventually met, and subsequently married, his lovely wife, Terri just after his 21st birthday in June 1960.  Somehow Clive managed to climb the ranks to Sergeant and returned to Swindon, England with Terri where they had their first child – Cedric in 1965

As a devoted father in 1967 Clive joined the Army Reserves.  The family set up home in Herne Hill, London where Clive took work as a civvy technician in Camberwell, South London. After a few years his work took him to Cricklewood, where he managed to put a deposit down for his first home in Bushey, Watford. Soon after in 1971 Michelle was born – His family was complete. 

Clive was a hard working family man taking many family holidays to Gibraltar. He even started his own business making camera filters, but after the start of the technological age he spent more time brewing beer in his garage. 

Clive and Terri were married for over 52 years spending a lot of their time in their 3 time-shares, (Malta, Madiera and Tenerife).

In later life Clive and Terri visited his older brother, Sid, who lived near Philadelphia, USA, and he enjoyed seeing all the sights. In return, Sid would come over to England to join Clive in many enjoyable hiking holidays along the coastal trails of Devon and Cornwall. They also travelled to see Michelle in Australia several times and Clive loved the Aussie lifestyle, Sun , sea , Barbecues and of course beer.

Clive and Terri loved to travel and see the world experiencing new things and dancing together.  Their home was full of happy memories for family and friends with open arms and an open door. 

He remained in the Army reserves until 1988, after-which he joined the Home Service Force,  E COMPANY,  THE 6TH (VOLUNTEER) BATTALION THE ROYAL ANGLIAN REGIMENT. It was his role to guard key points and installations in the UK likely to be the target of enemy ‘special forces’ and saboteurs. 

Clive was former Chairman of his Company’s local HSF veterans association, and an active member of the working party which brought about the Home Service Force Grove at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire.  In fact it was his idea!   To the end he was dedicated author of the Boots and Bergen quarterly newsletter.  

Clive had many happy years attending annual events at Twinwoods, Family Camp and on his annual remembrance trips to France.

He never forgot his army routes and was an avid member of AOBA – The Arborfield Old Boys Association.

Clive had a strong sense of loyalty and devotion towards everyone and everything he did.  His later years were spent fitting in all his activities around caring for his wife, Terri.  After Terri’s passing earlier in the year, Clive planned a fresh start with Sedge in Colchester.  He embraced his new home wholeheartedly, and was making plans to join his friends in France and travel to Australia.

He will be sorely missed by family and friends alike.

A true gentleman.

Leave a Reply