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News > Announcements > Obituaries > In Memoriam: Commander M.F.D. Padwick RN (47-51)

In Memoriam: Commander M.F.D. Padwick RN (47-51)

Michael Francis Drummond Padwick (47-51), retired Commander RN, died on October 13, 2018 aged 84
11 May 2020
Written by Robin Knight
Obituaries

Michael Francis Drummond Padwick (47-51), retired Commander RN, died on October 13, 2018 aged 84. His family writes: 

“Mike was born in Hastings. He attended Hereford Cathedral School for three years before entering the Nautical College Pangbourne in 1947, the start of “four very happy years” (his words). He was chess champion in his final year, won Maths and Navigation prizes, loved rugby, became a CC in Hesperus and, in summer term 1952, was awarded HM The Queen’s Gold Medal as outstanding cadet of his 1951-52 year.

Mike began his Naval training in BRNC Dartmouth in 1951 and went onto the Royal Naval Engineering College, Manadon for studies in mechanical engineering. He continued at HMS Dolphin, Gosport where he qualified as a diving trainer and submariner.  Many undersea deployments began from there and Mike was in his element.

He met his first wife, Nita Harris, in 1957 and their daughter, Lisa, was born in 1958. Mike was then sent on a 13-month assignment in HMS Belfast and it was during this time that their son Steuart was born.  In 1961 the Padwick family sailed on the SS Oriana for Sydney, Australia following the offer of a post with fellow submariners to coach the Royal Australian Navy in spotting and tracking submarines. Their third child, Robert, was born in December 1961. After a posting to Rosyth, Scotland in 1963 Mike returned to Sydney for a further two years. He then returned to Gosport, Hampshire and was again based at Dolphin – home of the Royal Navy Submarine Service. 

In 1973 the family moved to Durham. Here Mike oversaw the building of the Type-42 destroyer HMS Newcastle, until its completion, working at Swan Hunter Dockyard, Newcastle. This required him to work alongside civilians and unions and, to his great credit, he gained both respect and admiration from all involved.

After a brief spell in Kingston London, 1978 saw the family settled into a new home in Acton Turville, near Bath. During the 1982 Falklands War Mike was in London ‘on watch’ duty. About this time, he met Freda, a widow with two sons Michael and Jeremy. In 1983 the couple married in Bath. 

After Mike’s retirement from the Navy in 1984 he worked for British Aerospace in Bristol and later worked for Devonport Docks from an office in Bath which he enjoyed immensely. But retirement for Mike really meant an opportunity to engage in many local projects which have greatly benefited the community. These included the restoration of the village pond, producing a parish magazine for five villages and serving as church warden for several years. 

Mike was extremely active all his life, with a passion for skiing, sailing, golf and much more. Sadly, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2004. He also had a brush with cancer which he fought with huge stoicism and without ever complaining. He is sorely missed by his wife Freda, his three children, two stepchildren and four grand-children – Todd, Ryan, Ruby and Solim.”

[Editor’s Note: Before he died, Mike Padwick returned his Queen’s Gold Medal – the first awarded during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 11 – to the College for safe-keeping. It is now on display in Devitt House in the Gerres Cabinet of College memorabilia.]

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