Jack English R.I.P.
As I lay here in my Hospital bed it is Thursday evening 1700hrs I am looking at the still picture of the Hospital Chapel on the wall mounted TV in my room. I think of my colleague Jack English as lies peacefully waiting for Declan, Albert and his many colleagues to guide Jack's Coffin Slowly and carefully from the Hearse up the long Isle to the Alter in Mourne Road Church.
There waiting is the local curate assisted by our own Chaplin Fr Des Campion. I can feel Jacks happiness as he smiles unseen listening to the many voices he recognises, family, friends Navy Colleagues there to show how well Jack was loved by us all. Jack smiles when he sees the Limerick Lads in large numbers smartly dressed in Uniform and their Greek Fisherman's caps they love to wear when not part of the official colour party. Great to see them travel from Limerick to pay their respects to Jack and his family. Tommy Kavanagh and wife Christine from Waterford there with many of our wives who loved Jack for his dry humour and lovely singing voice.
Lovely to see Paul Stephenson travelled from the Country to represent the Royal Naval Association and many nice messages sent to the family including Commander Chris Dovey OBE Chairman of the Royal Naval Association.
As the ceremony for this evening is over we say goodnight to Jack as tomorrow will be a long day. I close my eyes and say my own little prayer for Jack and his family and my colleagues in the Irish Naval Association.
It is early morning 1000hrs Friday 27th June and I was hoping to get out of Hospital today but that is not to be. I turn to channel 17 on the TV and the still picture of the Hospital chapel lights up ready for morning Mass.
While looking at the Alter on the TV, In my mind I see Zippy Moore dress Jacks Coffin with the tri-colour making Jack very proud. Lovely to see so many arriving in uniform 5 more from Waterford and of course Herbert McManus in wheelchair who is a Pillar of our association and a true friend to all. Fred Elliott and Neville Brennan will look after Herbert.
More members arrive making that special effort to be here for Jack and his family Fr Campion as our Naval Chaplain will celebrate the Mass. and as I look at the Still photo of the hospital chapel on the TV and I can clearly see in my mind, as it happens in Mourne Church.
Declan as our President reads a lovely poem from a Mass Card sent by the RNA. It is a very moving poem and Declan delivers it so well He gets a round of applause while others wipe the tears from their eyes. Lovely to see John Joyce and partner representing the UNVets and ONET dressed smartly in Uniform. Hughie O'Neill dressed smartly as always moves to the front of the Alter with bosuns pipe to render honours at the consecration, Jack must surely have a smile on his face as the communion was administered to all his family and pals as they filed past.
We head off to Palmerstown Cemetery.
On arrival nice to see the Irish Naval Association Colour Party formed up to remove the Coffin to Jack's final resting place. I am sure Jack would have got a big surprise as John O'Neill dressed in Kilt and Bag Pipes played the lament. First time we have our own Piper. Well done John
Impressive how well rehearsed is the colour party, who on command removed the colours in drill order and carried out the ceremonial procedure for folding our tri-colour.
Then for the last time we say farewell to dear Jack. please say a big Hello to all our friends who have gone on ahead. Have a good sing along tonight with other great singers Shay McCarthy, Ray Murphy, and poor Monica who went yesterday to be with Ray, and never forget Gerry DeRenzy's lovely rendering of "The Moon behind the hill"
May you rest in peace Jack and we will all miss you.
I lay back and say my own prayers for Jack and Family and my Irish Naval Association Colleagues who are wonderful friends
Terry Cummins 27th June 2014