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Hubert Charles Bailey Spencer

Also known as: Hubie.


Picture of Hubert Charles Bailey Spencer.

Hubert was born in Walkley 14th July, 1924. He was the youngest son of John and Elsie Spencer

He grew up at Walkley, then Wisewood, Sheffield enjoying the company of two elder sisters, Irene and Miriam. and has always kept in touch with their family

Hubert was a quiet man, slow to anger, a book lover, well travelled, loving family member, reliable and honest and always kept a brave face to adversity and sunny outlook to all around him. He was always there to lend a hand and support any of his friends or family.

His first work was in a Sheffield Photographic Studio

He joined the Royal Navy at the outset of World War 2, and was sent to guard The Royal Hotel, Brighton, but while on home leave, at 50 Wisewood Avenue, Sheffield, he received a call to go abroad.

Following training at Invergordon and Hayling Island, Hubert took part in the D-Day Landings, in a converted Thames Barge, carrying Petrol for the landing barges and ships. He originally landed at Ouistreheim, which is where Sword Beach extended from. Shelling from Calais caused him to move to Arramanche.

While back, on leave at BRADFIELD village hall dances, Hubert met Vera, his future wife.

In 1946 he joined the HMS Formidable Aircraft Carrier, as a stoker and served in the Pacific and India. He celebrated his 21st birthday in mandapam Bombay, getting very tipsy on his shipmates combined rum rations, waking up with a sore head and a vow never to touch rum again. It was here that Hubert learnt to drive, in 10 Ton Lorries

He returned home in 1947 and married Vera at Underbank Chapel, Stannington in snow, in January 1948 and moved to Dungworth near Sheffield, beginning work at “John Fairest” funeral directors, where his driving skills were put to good use.

Later he became a long distance lorry driver for “Thomas Wragg & Sons” and travelled regularly, delivering “refractory bricks”, to steelworks around the country

In May 1952 Margaret Ann was born during a thunderstorm and in January 1955 Robert John followed, born at home.

Hubert and Vera had many friends in Dungworth, especially Sheila and Frank who shared many happy times and the two children later shared Hubert and Vera's life in village activities, seaside holidays and home life. Both Robert and Margaret enjoyed day trips in Hubert's lorry. On one occasion, year's later, Hubert somehow managed to assist Alan, into the cab of his lorry and take him to Wales and back. On one visit to a steelworks, Robert brought home a “stray” steelworks kitten.

Hubert was a “born engineer” and made a remote control boat and train set for Robert and a doll's house for Margaret, and “tinkered” with many mechanical devices, during his life, especially clocks and watches.

Hubert never lost his love of boats and built his first craft, “Can Tiki”, made from oil drums and planks. After test “floats” on Loxley Reservoir, with Robert and Margaret, Hubert and his friend Ron valiantly launched “Can Tiki” into the Humber, from Wintringham Haven, 10 miles from here. As Can Tiki disintegrated during bad weather. They had to spend the night on Reeds Island and repair before sailing back.

The family spent happy times with Uncle Bernard and Auntie Nance, on camping holidays in Derbyshire, where they also met “Lord and Lady Lettuce” (Derek and Norma)

Margaret met Alan, while nursing him in LodgeMoor Spinal Injuries Unit and they were married in 1972, when they moved to Lincolnshire. Hubert, Vera and Robert spent many weekends at their new home in Scawby.

Robert met Beverley and married in 1982 and they eventually moved to Wisewood, only a few yards from where Hubert spent his youth.

In 1987, Hubert and Vera moved to Kirton in Lindsey, making new friends and enjoying Lincolnshire life, visits to Cleethorpes, agrigultural shows etc.

When his disabled son-in-law started a computer business, Hubert was there with him, working at first from his garage. Later Hubert learnt to operate computers and helped build and deliver them, proudly helping open the first shop in Brigg

Sadly in 1991, Vera passed away. Leaving Hubert, who embarked on further new adventures, on a boat named “Formy Pleasure”, after his aircraft carrier. He moored his boat at Stockwith, and met Barry & Irene, (Tugbugs crew) and dozens of Yacht cClub members, many of which will remember him and his, Jack Russell, (Penny), to this day.

Hubert once spent 7 weeks on the Norfolk Broads, with PENNY, on the boat and the family joined him there at weekends etc. - Robert and Beverley hired a boat of their own and joined him for a week. At other times Penny and Hubert travelled hundreds of miles up and down the waterways of England.

Hubert's passion for travel, took him to Tenerife, Gran Canaria and France throughout the 90's and he was rarely at home. Sadly his trip to Tenerife, in 1998, was to be his last. As he suffered a “stroke” while on holiday, severely limiting his mobility from that date, though he remained independent.

The memory of his wartime activities came alive again, when he joined the HMS Formidable Association, in 1992 and he attended reunions every year at Kegworth, until the association was disbanded in 2007. He helped plant a tree at the Memorial for HMS Formidable at the National Arboretum. He returned to Ouistreheim in the 90's to attend the erection of the memorial for Landing Barge crews.

He attended the 50th and 60th anniversaries of the D-Day landings alongside the Queen, Prince Phillip, and heads of state of 57 countries. He proudly wore his medals and especially his memorable “D-Day Cap” at many functions.

Since his wife's death, Hubert has always managed to maintain his independence, living on his own, at Kirton in Lindsey, enjoying life to the extent of his abilities, always making that extra effort when asked, to attend family functions and events or “days out”.

Even though Hubert was the very mildest of men, it can truly be said that …

Hubert fought for his country, his family and right to the very end, … for his life.

He will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him.

His full story appears on the www.hmsformidable.com website, in "Shipmates Yarns" and also where he appears at the very start, on the homepage

Added by: Alan Brown on 28 March 2012.



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Picture of Hubert Charles Bailey Spencer.
Picture of Hubert Charles Bailey Spencer.
Picture of Hubert Charles Bailey Spencer.
 

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