Alan Spong

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Papillon
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Joined: 29/01/2009

The Association is sad to record the passing of Alan Spong aged 94. At the age of 20 Alan volunteered to take a Thames passenger vessel the QUEEN BOADICEA II across the Channel. With a draught of only three feet she was not ideally suited to a Channel crossing but in the event coped admirably.
Alan with one naval rating left Ramsgate on 31st May and first went to Dunkirk harbour which was under constant bombardment, then to the beach at La Panne. The waiting troops were ferried out to the royal naval vessels cruising in deeper water. The small ships were subjected to constant bombing and strafing by the Luftwaffe. The vessel next to Alan’s blown to pieces by a direct hit. Dismembered bodies in the water, and wounded. He rescued three survivors from that incident and a great many more . “I tell you cocker, I was ....scared”
Alan recited a lovely story. In the midst of all this savagery he manoeuvred QUEEN BOADICEA II alongside a naval frigate. There was a wash of great rolling waves from many other naval vessels travelling at speed , Alan’s vessel and the frigate collided violently. An officer appeared on the bridge pod – with muck and bullets all around he yelled through a loud hailer at Alan “do you mind old chap we have just painted that side.”

After Dunkirk Alan volunteered for service in the Royal Engineers. He was commissioned to the rank of major and was transferred to the Indian army. Rumour has it that pay in the Indian army was better. He commanded a company of Sikhs in the Regiment of Waterborne Engineers. Alan learned Urdu.
Later Alan was posted to Burma where the Japanese were conducting a savage campaign. At Chittagong his troops were constructing barges. But under constant attack from Japanese fighter bombers. During one particularly heavy bombing raid Alan was quite seriously wounded.
At base hospital he was nursed by a VAD, a voluntary nurse who was to become his wife. He and Aidin were married in Singapore.

Alan was a long-time Member of Leander Rowing Club, a past President of Kingston Rowing Club as well as being a former Master of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen. Until two years ago Alan was a regular attendee at the Association's Veterans Cruise where he was well known for enjoying the hospitality of the Little Ships.
With Alan's passing another link with Operation Dynamo is lost.
13 August 2014