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Lifeboatman's ashes to return to Cromer

PUBLISHED: 09:30 05 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:57 22 October 2010

ED FOSS

The ashes of the last survivor of a famous rescue involving legendary lifeboatman Henry Blogg will be sent thousands of miles from America to Cromer and scattered at sea.

The ashes of the last survivor of a famous rescue involving legendary lifeboatman Henry Blogg will be sent thousands of miles from America to Cromer and scattered at sea.

Dick Barker was the last lifeboatman left alive to have been involved in the celebrated rescue of 15 men from the stricken Dutch tanker Georgia in November 1927.

He died peacefully in his sleep on May 22, just days after his 99th birthday in Oregon, USA, the country which had been his home for 30 years.

The dramatic events of nearly 80 years ago saw Blogg - and the Cromer crew - reach new heights of fame. Blogg received his second of three gold medals for bravery and every crewmember, including Mr Barker, was awarded the bronze medal.

Now Mr Barker's grandson, Paul Barker, said he plans to make arrangements for his grandfather's ashes to be lain at sea from the current Cromer lifeboat. Details of the ceremony have not yet been finalised, but Paul said he hoped to confirm a date sometime in the coming weeks.

The ashes are currently in transit between America and Essex, where Paul lives.

"It was his wish to have his ashes scattered from the lifeboat, so it seems only right.

"The same thing was done with my father's ashes, so it keeps the tradition up."

Mr Barker had remained deeply fond of Cromer, even though he had lived so far away for so long, said his grandson.

"He loved Cromer, simple as that.

"He would have dearly loved to have come back and if I had won the lottery I would have got him back here.

"His affection for the sea continued in America - even though he lived a couple of hours from the coast he always liked travelling to the sea.

"He had salt water running through his veins!"

Mr Barker was "quiet, unassuming and mild mannered", said Paul, and a "great character" who never lost his Norfolk accent.

Both of Mr Barker's former wives and his two children died some years ago, but he has been survived by a number of relatives, including several grandchildren, great grandchildren and even one great great grandchild, most living in America.

He worked on the minesweepers in the second world war and was involved at D-Day. He worked as a crab fisherman and also as a painter and decorator, said Paul.

Further details of Mr Barker's life may become clear in the coming weeks because a tape recording of him speaking about his memories will arrive in England with his ashes.


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