Lieutenant Laurence Hardy, RN
Laurence Carey Hardy was born at Horsted Keynes in 1929, the youngest of three children. He was a conscientious scholar, particularly in mathematics. He suffered severe hay fever until the age of 25. In his spare time he enjoyed stamps, model trains, jigsaws and photography.
The young Laurence won a scholarship to Dartmouth in 1942. Dartmouth having meanwhile been bombed, he entered Eaton Hall in January 1943 at 14. In addition to naval training and studies, he took part in rugby, sailing, boxing and shooting.
After training he served in, principally, HM Ships Flint Castle, Glory, Loch Ruthven, Veryan Bay and Orwell, latterly specialising in navigation. Whilst in Glory he went to a party given by the Governor of Dartmoor Prison as a blind date for his daughter; she turned out to be a six footer, so he swapped her with another guest.
After Glory, Laurence was appointed, at 22 in November 1951, to command SDML 3508 of the Royal Malayan Navy during the Malayan Emergency. When one of his crew put in for leave, and Laurence asked why, the man explained that two of his wives kept fighting and he needed time to sort them out.
Laurence left the RN in January 1958. He was belatedly, in 2016, awarded the Ambassador for Peace Medal for service in the Korean War.
After naval service, he worked until 1985 with Allied Leather Industries, his stepfather-in-law’s firm, rising through the group as it expanded and diversified. After the restructuring and sale of those companies, he became Executive Chairman of the Hardy family firm, Freshfield Lane Brickworks Ltd, with his son as MD. He joined SANO in 2004
He was committed to the church throughout his life. His wife Rebeka, nee Watson, m1953, survives him.
Commander Mike Porter, OBE RD* RNR
Commander Mike Porter, who has died aged 82, was for many years in HM Customs & Excise and also an officer in the Royal Naval Reserve.
An indication of the high regard in which he was held in both civilian and naval life is that in 1991 he was unusually nominated for two OBEs at the same time, one military and one civil. He accepted the civil one, which was for outstanding work on a Customs project.
Michael Henry Porter was born in 1938 at Guys Hospital, London and lived in the London area for all his younger life. At the age of 16 he joined the Sea Cadets and subsequently the Royal Navy. In the RN he saw service in the Radar Plot Branch and spent time in the Far East.
After leaving the RN he joined HM Customs & Excise and also the RNR. He worked for a number of different departments within the Customs and had several promotions, resulting in moves to Hampshire, Sussex and ultimately Southend in 1985. Apparently whilst working on fuel testing with the Customs, he came home smelling rather and with ruined clothes. Always one for trying to make improvements, after ruining his clothes he then applied for protective clothing!
In the RNR he was in Naval Control of Shipping, and due to his moves with the Customs he served in HMS WESSEX, HMS SUSSEX and HMS ESSEX. Whilst at HMS SUSSEX in the 1970s he was for a time NCS Training Officer and he undertook exercises in the senior role of Staff Officer NCS, where he was able to apply his wide knowledge of ships and shipping.
In both his civilian and naval roles, he was always recognised for the keen and precise way in which he performed all his activities.
He joined SANO (or the Sussex RNVR Officers Association as it was then) in 1976, when he was still on the active list of the RNR. During his time at HMS SUSSEX and living in Hove he was a regular and popular attender at Association functions.
In recent years Mike had not enjoyed good health and had several hospitalisations, passing away whilst in hospital on 23 June 2020.
Major Mal Weobley, RMR
Malcolm (“Mal”) Weobley, whose death was announced in August, was born in Northamptonshire in 1942. He joined the Royal Marines Reserve in 1981. In civilian life he was a divisional manager for residential and day care services in West Sussex.
Following his retirement he took a keen interest in service related organisations, including ARNO and the Royal Naval Association. He also acted as an instructor for his local Sea Cadet Unit. Joining SANO in 2019, he attended several of our events and greatly enjoyed them.
We send our condolences to his wife, Val, and all his family.