Oldest surviving submarine commander passes away

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Galway said goodbye this week to Commander Bill King of Oranmore Castle, who passed away last Friday at the age of 102.

Galway said goodbye this week to Commander Bill King of Oranmore Castle, who passed away last Friday at the age of 102.

One of Galway’s best-loved characters, Commander King was the oldest surviving World War submarine commander and led a life of adventure as a navel officer, yachtsman and author.

Having joined the Royal Navy on HMS Resolution in 1927, he worked his way up through the ranks before patrolling the North Sea during World War II as Commanding Officer of the T-class submarine HMS Telemachus.

Retiring from the service in 1948, he was decorated with the Distinguished Service Order, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Battle of Britain Star, the Burma Star and the Arctic Emblem.

After his retirement, Commander King married his wife Anita and moved to Oranmore Castle after buying it for just £200 and setting about refurbishing the dilapidated building to its former condition.

Speaking to the Galway Independent in 2008, he recalled “getting up one day to find my father-in-law, who used to always wear a kilt, sweeping dead fish out of the Great Hall”.

Commander King is perhaps best known for becoming the oldest sailor to complete a single-handed circumnavigation of the world, carrying out the amazing feat on his third attempt at the age of 58.

However, it was his passion for life and sense of humour that will be remembered by many, telling a Galway Independent journalist in a previous interview that living forever would be no good as “you’re always cold”.

Survived by daughter Leonie, son Tarka and grandchildren Cian, William, Heather and Olivia, Commander King was laid to rest on Monday following a funeral service at the Collegiate Church of St Nicholas on Lombard Street.

Source – Galway Independent

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