A seafaring Cromer man who was a relative of Henry Blogg has died aged 88.

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Gilbert Jack Blogg, who was born in Cromer and whose second cousin was the legendary lifeboatman, died on May 15.

As a youngster, he lived in one of the old fishermen’s cottages next to Cromer Church, which are now the Cromer Museum. During his childhood he would often go out crabbing with the Cromer fishermen, which gave him a love for the sea.

Mr Blogg, who went to Paston Grammar School in North Walsham, joined the Royal Navy when he was 18 years old, with the second world war in progress.

With only six weeks training at HMS Ganges in Shotely, Suffolk, he was sent to Lowestoft for drafting to a minesweeper. He then sailed on the Queen Mary to New York, and during the journey served as a Bofas gunner. He went on to serve as a chief gunner and a coxswain, when he was just 19, on a minesweeper ship.

He also played a role in D-Day as his flotilla swept a path inshore for the invasion fleet, and remained there for nearly 12 weeks until his minesweeper was damaged by a German mine.

His wife Mary said: “These naval war years moulded Jack, and they certainly carved him into the man he was – strong, determined, considerate – the perfect gentleman.”

After leaving the Royal Navy, Mr Blogg worked for British Rail in Cromer, then Norwich and Southend in the payroll section, then Enfield in the commercial section in charge of nearly 100 people, and finally London as a budget forecasting accountant for various companies, including the National Freight Corporation and freightliners, before retiring at the age of 63.

He married his first wife Patricia, a Cromer girl, when he was 23 years old and they had three children, Jane, Jonathan and Justin and two grandchildren – Heather and David.

Patricia died in 1968 and in 1973 he married Mary, an Australian girl from Brisbane, Queensland, who he met when she had come to work for him as a temp.

Mrs Blogg said: “He thoroughly enjoyed his retirement – living each day as it came. He was an avid reader, loving all sea sagas, and historical novels.

“He was always busy as a keen gardener, vegetable grower and woodman. He was a ‘Jack will fix it’ man, and everything he took on he did quietly, methodically and successfully.”

He also enjoyed researching his family tree and trips abroad, with hiking a favourite pastime – especially in Austria and Switzerland.

Mrs Blogg said: “Jack had many accomplishments. He lived a life showing a deep love for all his family. He came from many generations of seafaring people, and to quote Jack, ‘my heart has always been with the sea’. I thank God for my Jack. He was my gentleman, my best friend, my kind and loving husband.”

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