FCWEM William Charles Lidbrooke Talman HMS Fearless 17 September 1941 – 26 January 2018
In the Talman family there were a few men who served in various branches of the Forces over the generations. Bill’s Maternal Great Grandfather John Burley was listed as a Musician and later an Army Pensioner. John and Louisa Blake married in Portsea in 1869, they went on to have at least nine children. Charles Frederick Burley was one of their younger sons born in 1890. Two of the couple’s children were born in Canada but the younger children were all born in the Portsmouth area.
Charles Frederick Burley was born on 19 November 1890 at 27 Finsbury St, Buckland, Portsmouth. Charles married Ivy Edith Manwaring in Stepney in 1913. The couple went on to have five children, their eldest daughter Ethel Ivy Burley was born in Mile End on 20 December 1914, their youngest children were fraternal twins born in 1923. Ivy was the daughter of Henry Manwaring a Ship’s Engine Fitter, by the time Ivy was 15 years old she was in service to the Jones family in Portsmouth.
There was tragedy to come for the Burley Family, Charles’ younger brother Frank Edward Burley served in the Hampshire Regiment in WW1. Frank was wounded and discharged from service on 6 December 1918 like many he did not live into old age. Frank married Ada Kate Dowling in 1922, the couple had three children Thomas, Ada, and Amy, by 1930 their family was complete. Frank died in 1938 he was just 45 years old. By 1939 Ada was living at Fernyhurst, Nursling in Hampshire, she was working aiding evacuees. Fernyhurst was owned by the Poore family who also had a long military history that indeed could be a book of its own…
Lt Col Roger Alvin Poore DSO was killed in France in 1917, his widow Lorne Marjory Poore had been left with a one-year-old son. As WW2 began to rage Lorne gave refuge to evacuees. On the 21 June 1941 one would have expected the occupants of Fernyhurst to be safe but sadly the house came under a fluke attack and was bombed. Tragically both Ada and Amy were killed along with two other young girls.
Meanwhile in the Talman line William Talman married Eunice Beverley Baker in Bedhampton in 1910. The couple had two children Lucy born in 1911 and William Alec F J Talman born on 8 February 1915. William sadly died in 1915 aged just 33, Eunice however lived to a ripe old age dying in Cornwall aged 97.
William A F J Talman married Ethel Ivy Burley in late 1938. The couple had three children their eldest William Charles Lidbrooke, and his twin sister Eunice were born on the 17 September 1941 in Cosham, Portsmouth. Four years later younger sister Kath was born. Like his father before him William as known as Bill, he was to follow in his footsteps in more ways than one.
Bill attended the Northern Grammar School in Portsmouth which is now known as Mayfield School. He also attended a school in Northumberland while his father was a Coastguard for a few years. As a teenager Bill wished to follow in both his fathers and grandfathers footsteps which his mother was not in favour of. Bill had asthma which concerned his mother, his father however, encouraged him to apply reassuring his wife that the Navy would not sign him up…
Of course, they did enrol young Bill when he was just 15 years old and as fate would have it, he did not suffer from asthma for many years to come. Bill commenced his Royal Naval training at HMS Vincent, Gosport. The young man excelled through training, particularly enjoyed range shooting at Browndown as his father had before him.
In time Bill married a nurse named Anne in August 1961, the couple went on to have four children three boys and a girl, Stephen, Philip, Eleanor, and Rodney who was named after the battleship.
In 1962 Bill was drafted to HMS Terror in Singapore accompanied by his wife and baby son. Further service over the years included Striker, Lowestoft, Ambuscade, Alacrity with shore-based Dartmouth, Dryad and Collingwood.
Twenty years later on 2 April 1982 the Falkland Islands were invaded. At the time Bill was on Easter leave and was between leaving CinCFleet Portsmouth, next posting HMS Fearless. Bill’s parents were visiting at the time which gave the family the opportunity to wave of HMS Invincible and HMS Hermes on 5 April 1982. By the time they returned home it was Bill’s turn to receive ‘that call’ he was to report to HMS Fearless the following day, he travelled ‘Down South’ and served throughout the Falklands War on HMS Fearless.
Bill was a long serving naval man by 1982, he was quite matter of fact about going to War saying, ‘That’s what they pay me for’. His daughter Elly says ‘I think he must have had some nerves but saw “active service” as the ultimate test of his 25 years’ service. We heard some tales of events that occurred during the conflict; some good, some bad and some with humour.’ She also says Bill was proud of the part he played in the war, and he was in no doubt as to the justification for Britain’s reaction to the invasion. His only regret would probably have been the damage to his hearing caused by an air raid siren going off whilst he was standing next to it, the effects of which would handicap him for the rest of his life.’
From the time he signed up as a young eager teenager Bill served over 29 years. After leaving the Navy Bill was employed in a support role with the SCOT project, he retired aged 67.
After his retirement Bill could not resist the call of the ocean but this time, he travelled in style visiting Cape Town, New York, the Mediterranean and the Norwegian Fjords accompanied by his wife Annie.
Elly continues ‘His proud and loving family remember him as an old-fashioned English gentleman with a very modern outlook, a great source of information and know-how, but most importantly as a brilliant husband, father, grandfather, son and brother.’
Bill died on 26 January 2018 aged 76, he passed peacefully at Milkwood House Care Home, Liss.
Elly ends with these thoughts, ‘A very proud Englishman and a real, old-fashioned chivalrous gentleman, Bill never really stopped being a matelot and enjoyed any and every festival that celebrated the sea, the navy or English/Britishness. Having heard recently what his shipmates have said about him being a “father figure”, having “quiet authority” and a “good guy and very good gaffer”, I know he would be very pleased with those testimonials.’
A family once again who have spanned generations of service through three Wars.
We thank you for your service!
© Jay Morgan Hyrons
NB Each blog text is copyrighted. Each blog is individually researched and written by the author, unless otherwise stated as personal quotes. Every care is taken to ensure that the information in each blog is accurate though occasionally public records are incorrect. If you have any further information or would like to add to this story, please contact the author…