A Celebration of the life of Mr Colin John Way.

12th January 1949 – 11th February 2024

Bear Hearse

The service was held in the Whippingham Crematorium chapel, Isle of Wight and the service conducted by the Life Celebrant, Mr Jonathon Skeet.

The standard was paraded by Phillip Barrington of the IoW (Vectis) Branch

The turnout at the service was impressive with the chapel full to capacity and standing room only for some. Mourners attended from worldwide including retired Commodore Paul Branscombe, (Bear’s CO on Swiftsure), who flew in from Australia the previous evening!

The service was conducted with dignity by Jonathon and the eulogy delivered by Colin’s cousin, Beverley, which was both touching and humorous. It gave us many insights into Bear’s early life living on the Isle of Wight, and also included anecdotes of his service life in submarines, including when he met the then PM Margaret Thatcher, who was visiting a submarine in Faslane and he was introduced to her as “Bear”. She used that name to address him throughout her visit to the submarine!

A final tribute of the Submariners Prayer was read out by Tony Smith of the Gosport branch

O Father, Hear our prayer to thee
For your humble servants Beneath the sea:

In the depths of oceans, as oft we stray
So far from night, so far from day
We would ask your guiding light to glow
To make our journey safe below.

Please oft times grant us patient mind,
Then ‘ere the darkness won’t us blind.
We seek thy protection from the deep
And grant us peace whene’er we sleep.

Of our homes and loved ones far away
We ask you care for them each day,
Until we surface once again
To drink the air and feel the rain.

We ask your guiding hand to show
A safe progression sure and slow.
Dear Lord, please hear our prayer to thee
For your humble servants Beneath the sea. Amen

The wake (or celebration of life) was organised (and paid for!) by Colin himself at the Binstead Arms, (formerly the Fleming Arms), just outside Ryde. A superb lunchtime buffet, and, more importantly, a free bar, was enjoyed by all who attended!

A large contingent of SA members from the Wales branch also made the journey to pay their respects to Bear.

Colin Crossed the Bar on 11th February after a long battle with cancer and spent his final hours being made comfortable by the staff in the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, Newport, IoW. Thankfully he was in no pain and passed away peacefully.

I had the honour and privilege of attending the final farewell service yesterday for our submarine comrade – ex WO(Coxn) (SM) Colin Way (aka “Bear”). Colin was a legend in the Submarine Service and will never be forgotten.

George Guthrie

Membership Secretary, Gosport Branch, Submariners Association

You can read the order of service here