Tributes to former head of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society

Tributes have been paid to the former chief executive of Chichester-based charity The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, after his death following a collision in Waterlooville.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 5:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th April 2021, 5:51 pm
Commodore Malcolm Williams CBE
Commodore Malcolm Williams CBE

Commodore Malcolm Williams, 69, of Gains Road, Southsea, died following a collision on the A3(M) on Tuesday, April 20, Hampshire Police confirmed.

Paying tribute to the retired Royal Navy officer, his family said: “Commodore Malcolm Williams CBE RN was a man of principle, fortitude and compassion and a loving husband, father, grandfather and brother.Both his naval career and his subsequent work were immensely important to him. He will be missed by those that had the privilege to know him.”

Cdre Williams had a naval career spanning 31 years, during which he served in the Falklands War.

He was awarded CBE in the New Year’s Honours for coordinating the joint response to crises in Sierra Leone, Kosovo and humanitarian responses to natural disasters in Mozambique and Honduras.

Having left the naval service, he was appointed as chief executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, a national charity based in Chichester where he turned his attentions to the welfare of merchant seafarers and fishermen.

With others, he spearheaded the campaign to halt the abolition of the cheque by banks and was a staunch advocate for proper representation and coverage of merchant seafarers during the November Ceremonies.

He was later admitted into the Fraternity of the Younger Brethren of Trinity House.

Cdre Williams retired as the society’s chief executive in 2018 after 14 years at the helm.

Members of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society paid tribute to him, and said: “Commodore Malcolm Williams CBE RN was a man of principle, fortitude and compassion. Both his naval career and his subsequent work for the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society were immensely important to him. He will be missed by those that had the privilege to know him.”

“During his Royal Navy service Cdre Williams served as operations officer on the Type 21 frigate HMS Ambuscade during the Falklands conflict.

“He also served as navigator aboard aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious and commanded both HMS Andromeda and HMS Scylla. He was commanding officer on HMS Fearless while she was deployed in the Far East for the handover of Hong Kong in 1997.

“Following his naval retirement Malcolm took up his role with the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, focusing on the welfare of merchant seafarers, fishermen and their dependants in need.

“He led a campaign to stop cheques being abolished by banks and called for acknowledgement of merchant seafarers during remembrance services.”

Speaking following the news of Cdre Williams’ passing, society chairman Captain Nigel Palmer, said: “Malcolm was a true gentleman and respected by all who knew him. He instigated reform and modernisation of the society during his time as chief executive and we have much to be thankful to him for. When he retired he left the Society on a solid foundation for the future and his legacy will live on.

“His tireless campaigning for proper recognition of the role of the Merchant Navy in wartime was successful in raising the profile with the public. He will be very sadly missed by us all.”