Photographs CRS(RCI) Johnstone

CRS(RCI) Colin Johnstone

© RN Communications Branch Museum/Library

  CCY Digby Denby (now serving as a Radio Officer in RFAs), whilst browsing in a Weymouth book shop came across a photograph album which he bought on a whim. He soon realised that it actually belonged to an ex ‘Telegraphist’ and decided to do some research.

  He placed a couple of photographs on Facebook asking for any information. Ex CY John Green recognised the photos as being of Colin Johnstone and Terry Hankey on the flightdeck of HMS Intrepid. John had first met up with Colin when he joined HMS Intrepid in July 1968 in Singaporte. Colin was then a CRS(RCI) and was I/C of Intrepids Communications Department. John was an LRO(T) and Terry was the CCY at the time. John served with Colin until February 1971.

  After Intrepid, John and Colin went their separate ways and it wasn’t until many years later that they met again in a Plymouth pub. From then on they continued to be good friends for over 44 years until Colin sadly passed away on the 12th May 2014 and it is believed that Colin’s son-in-law cleared Colin’s flat and it is surmised that he got rid of Colin’s books and mementos.

  Digby and John decided that John should have the album and they arranged to do the handover at Colin’s old drinking haunt, the Famous Firkin, in Stonehouse, Plymouth. Also at the handover were ex CY Pete Fairchild and ex CCYs Graham Lloyd and Alan Barry. After several ‘tots’ and banter they all decided that the album would be better placed in the Communications Branch Museum/Library and subsequently John passed the album to Ken Sutton, then the curator of the Museum/Library.

  The album contains many photos of Colin’s life in the RN, from the time he joined HMS Ganges in 1948 through to his time on HMS Intrepid. Wherever possible and without damaging the album, information has been extracted from the back of some photos, where available, and added to the description of the photograph.

  Since publishing Colin's photograph album I received the following from Robert Reeves "I was particulary interested in the piece about Colin Johnstone who I served with on HMS Intrepid. When my son was born we were in Singapore (Jan 1969) and I got the call to go to the MSO for a telegram at 0100 and on my way up I met Colin who asked me where I was going, I told him and he said come round tomorrow for my tot. I was an RO2 (T) at the time and along with a Killick Sparker (Ken Alner) ran the ships newspaper whilst at sea, amongst other dayman jobs, some may remember, the Outward Bounder, the Roustabounder, and the Homeward Bounder. WOCCY TC Hankey once told me that the Bounder was on top of the Captains Signals each morning. Our Captain was J E Eberle, later to become Admiral Jim Eberle, who sadly crossed the bar this year, he was a life President of HMS Belfast, and his son Commodore Peter Eberle is now on the committee of HMS Belfast (I am an associate member and attend the Remembrance Service on her each year). My son previously mentioned became a Squadron Leader RAF and coincidentally has worked with the Commodore, small world and great memories. Incidentally, HMS Intrepid was the only time I got a VG Superior."

  If you have any further information on any of the photos, e.g. where taken, when taken, names of those in the photos etc then please contact me either via the contact page on the website or direct via (substitue AT with @).

CRS(RCI) Colin Johnstone Certificates

Ganges Entry - 1948