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Obituary: Eddie Franklin – former manager of Natwest New Milton

Eddie Franklin served in the Royal Navy
Eddie Franklin served in the Royal Navy

A NEW Milton bank manager who spent more than 40 years serving customers during his career has died aged 96.

Edward John Franklin MBE, who was known as Eddie, had been living at Barton Lodge Care Home prior to his death on 5th January.

Eddie, who moved to the town in 1969, spent 15 years at the Natwest branch before retirement, serving thousands of customers, and he always took an interest in the welfare of not only his own staff but that of the company generally.

This led to him being national chairman for five years of the trade union Natwest Staff Association, formerly known as Westminster Bank Guild.

He was made an MBE in 1977 in recognition of his service with the Royal Naval Reserve and Sea Cadet Corps, witnessed with great pride at Buckingham Palace by wife Joy and daughter Julia.

Eddie was born in Westhampnett, near Chichester in West Sussex, on 19th November 1924 but the family moved shortly after to Arundel.

Eddie began working for Westminster Bank in 1941 but just a year later, as he approached his 18th birthday, he volunteered for the Royal Navy. He saw service in escort ships in the Atlantic, taking the first large convoy to north Africa and Sicily, and at the Syracuse beaches for the 1943 invasions during which his ship sank an enemy submarine.

He also served in Canada, New York and Trinidad. His last active service appointment was working in naval control, overseeing ships going east of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka.

It was while boarding an American tanker off Colombo in a heavy swell that he came dangerously close to death as he had to leap from his small boat to a jumping ladder dropped over the side.

Unfortunately, as the sailors had not thrown the whole ladder out Eddie dropped between the two heaving vessels, but managed to survive.

On his next wartime trip, Eddie had another lucky escape. While he left the ship to undergo officer training, all his crewmates were killed when the stern was blown off by an acoustic torpedo.

On his return to banking at the end of the war, Eddie moved to Worthing after marrying his high school sweetheart Joy. They had a long and happy marriage until Joy passed away in May last year.

Eddie was a founder cadet member of the Arundel and Littlehampton Unit of the Sea Cadet Corps. He was later awarded the Cadet Forces Medal and a special certificate for service of over 40 years.

He continued to serve with the Royal Naval Reserve as a mines counter-measure officer, for which he was awarded the Reserve Decoration.

Over the years the couple enjoyed caravan holidays, as well as cruises to Egypt, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

Eddie also spent many years as a police authority lay visitor and a Home Office lay observer, positions which involve providing independent oversight on how detained people are cared for.

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