Author Archive for Ray Pogson

Steve Potten – Obituary

Former RNPA member Steve Potten died of pneumonia and other medical complications on Friday 29th of January in Maidstone Hospital, Kent.

Steve, 82, who lived in Snodland, Kent, had been in poor health for most of the past two years.

He joined the Navy in 1956 aged 17, and served for nine and half years. He was a member of No 24 Phot II’s Qualifying Course which included Tony Parsonage, Gordon van Dyke and Ray ‘Scouse’ Marshall under instructor PO David ‘Taff’ Eyres.

Steve was a popular member of the phot section team for the first commission on the newly launched HMS Victorious which, following her seven year £20M rebuild, made her the most upto date aircraft carrier in the world.

After leaving the navy Steve freelanced as a wedding photographer and supplemented his income working in bars before, with partner Cliff Kent, creating a highly successful photographic business operating from the Hackney area of London. A prestigious client list included American multi-national company Estee Lauder.

Steve is survived by wife Linda and her three children from a previous marriage, Nichola, Karen and James, who Steve adopted as youngsters.

The funeral will take place at 10.20 on Wednesday, 3rd March  at Medway Crematorium, Chatham.

A more detailed obituary featuring Steve’s navy career will appear in a future edition of the RNPA Newsletter.

Steve is pictured top right with fellow photographers from HMS Victorious, who were meeting up to attend the final Royal
Tournament at Earl’s Court in 1999. They are Bill Porter, top left, Nigel Craft and Steve.…and lower left, Ray Pogson and Pete Thorne on the right.

Sadly, Pete died in 2018 and Bill left us in 2020.


Thurl Craft – Obituary

Nigel and Thurl CraftA love story that started with a blind date and endured 61 years of marriage finally drew to a close with a funeral service which had more than a touch of military precision.

For Thurl Craft, aged 81, wife of RNPA member Nigel Craft, used her army background to ensure every aspect of her death from an aggressive form of cancer, and her funeral, was just as she wanted it.

“Thurl was a very organised person during her life, and she remained so right up to the end.” said Nigel. “She wrote the Order of Service, choosing the hymns, music and readings. She even discussed with our daughters how she should be dressed. But above all she wanted to ensure we remained a stable and functioning family after her passing.”

Nigel first met Thurl when fellow photographer Ian ‘Soapy’ Watson, invited him on a run-ashore to Guildford’s Queen Elizabeth Army Barracks, where ‘Soapy’ had arranged to meet a WRAC from his home town of Liverpool. At the time the two naval airmen were serving on Portsmouth-based HMS Victorious during the carrier’s first commission following its seven-year rebuild.

“I met Thurl that night and that was it… but there was a problem,” said Nigel. “She planned to serve with the WRAC for three years and then leave the UK for Australia, but I begged her not to go.”

The couple were married on 27th June 1959 in Thurl’s home town of Melton, Suffolk, and they subsequently had three children, daughter Christina, son Richard who tragically died in 2007 aged 46, and Angela, born in Malta while Nigel was serving at RNAS Hal Far. The extended family includes nine grandchildren and a further nine great grandchildren.

“Thurl was an avid reader with broad interests, and she always had two or three books on the go at any one time,” said Nigel. “She taught all the kids and grandchildren to read, and enjoyed introducing them to literature.”

The funeral took place at St John The Baptist Church, Felixstowe, on Friday, 24th July 2020,  followed by interment at Felixstowe Cemetery. Only close family attended due to Covid-19 restrictions.