I always read the military obituaries in The Times. Sailors, soldiers and airmen are always so much more colourful than politicians or administrators.
Today, it was General Sir Peter Whiteley, a marine who had served in the war in various ships. In Tokyo Bay on the day of the Japanese surrender, he was awarded an RN watch-keeping certificate, something hardly ever given to a marine.
He then qualified as a naval fighter pilot, later transferring to helicopters and gaining his parachute wings. One of his colleagues speculated on his reasons for not learning to command a submarine in terms apparently too rude to print even in today's Thunderer. If anybody knows what it was, please post it in the comments section.
Sir Peter was an avid sailor, and when in Oslo as C-in-C Allied Forces Northern Europe he challenged King Olaf to a race - in Optimists, a boat I cannot even fit in let alone sail. Apparently he even let the King win.
Sadly there seems to be no picture online of this event, so the substitute at the top of the post is defective in that it is not King Olaf, not Sir Peter and not in Oslo. Sorry.
For the story about the bear, click here.
Boat designer and ex-naval sawbones Chris Waite says that grown-ups can perfectly easily fit in an Opti and sent this picture to prove it:
"In fact, this one has been known to take that very same Oppy and his spouse and a schnauzer (miniature) and go afternoon adventuring....All, including the dinghy, lived to tell the tale