pb100183remembranceday2007aThis blog page honours one of our own “Grand Old Soldiers” of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry: (1DCLI) 1953-1955 as a National Serviceman and later in the DCLI TA and many other TA Regiments. The editor first met Swanny on 5th November 1953, in basic training at the Bodmin Depot and was shown the ropes and kit bulling tricks by him then, as the ‘old soldier’ he already was, having had his training interrupted by an operation for appendicitis and recovery.

Swanny’s story is not mine to tell, other than anecdotal reflections from our “A” Company, Bermuda days, from sailing on the Empire Clyde in February 1954 until he left us for demob around July 1955 to return home to Penzance. The very least I can do however is to record here the unfailing support that Swanny has given to my efforts to produce historical memorabilia of our famous Regiment and the part that many of us played during the Caribbean era. It hasn’t stopped there however, as he continues to contribute reports and photographs of West Cornwall DCLI Association and updates about his local mates in Cornwall, who – but for Swanny’s industry – would have been long forgotten.

It is timely that we thank Swanny as our own unsung hero. He is always the first to acknowledge the efforts of others and many of you will know far better than I, what this means. Swanny today is undergoing his biggest challenge yet, which is to prepare for major surgery in December after extensive chemotherapy. Despite the discomfort that this treatment delivers, Swanny remains upbeat and cheerful and resolute in living his life to the full. The following photographs have been forwarded by him after the latest gathering of the Association. Many more photos originating from Swanny and others emailed to me on behalf of other Mates, can be seen on the DCLI websites shown in the rhs Blogroll.

Thank You Swanny – a heartfelt gesture from all your ‘Old Mates’. We wish you a speedy recovery from your illness and look forward to news of a major improvement in your health. Get Well Soon.(Editor: Brisbane Australia, 16th November 2008)

(November 23rd 2012) We are informed sadly by son Donald that Swanny has passed on at 21.03 St Julie’s Hospice, after a long battle with his illness. Funeral notices will be posted to Memoriale when known.

Lucknow Dinner Friday 14th November 2008



Back Row, Fred Phillips,Terry Simons. Then from lhs – John Reardon, C Pryor, Neil Swanson, Trevor Webb, Peter Michell, Barry Cornish, Michael Clarke.



(Photographs above by Jack Madron’s daughter Teresa)


Click thumbnail images to open in a larger page and mouseover for titles


(26 April 2009) Below are 3 B/W photos scanned by Swanny for Leonard (Blondie) Nicholls, Bugler “S” Company, Jamaica, now living in Scotland.




Bob Fox, C Pryor, Swanny, J Madron, Bodmin Open Day 2008

Bob Fox, C Pryor, Swanny, J Madron, Bodmin Open Day 2008

4/5th Bn DCLI A Coy Penzance in 1960s. Back row, Chris Matthews, D Freeman,?,?,?.? ? ? ? Front row,? David Murley,Mike(Nobby) Clarke,? Graham Robertson

4/5th Bn DCLI A Coy Penzance in 1960s. Back row, Chris Matthews, D Freeman,?,?,?.? ? ? ? Front row,? David Murley,Mike(Nobby) Clarke,? Graham Robertson

George Stevens and Neil Swanson 16th Intake Bodmin Depot, early 1954

George Stevens and Neil Swanson 16th Intake Bodmin Depot, early 1954

Recent news clipping from Swanny

Recent news clipping from Swanny

Gaz Watson Farewell at Lands End to Jon o Groats

Gaz Watson Farewell at Lands End to Jon o Groats

Gaz Watson Farewell

Gaz Watson Farewell

Gaz Watson (ex RSM) at Lands End who is walking to John o’ Groats via the Coastal Path for The Army Benevolent Fund. The walk should take 61 days; he set off on 20th April 2009. (ex RSM) Terry Joll, Bob Fox, Mike (Nobby) Clarke from West Cornwall DCLI Association were present to give Gaz a Cornish send off on his long trek to Scotland, he left at 7AM.

Clip in from Swanny depicting the withdrawal of The Rifles from Basra

Clip in from Swanny depicting the withdrawal of The Rifles from Basra

RM Sgnt. Earlier years.

RM Sgnt. Earlier years.


Bert Angwin and myself with Maj, P.Michell our Branch President at the War Memorial Battery Rocks, Penzance on Armistice Day 2007

Doris and I were invited guests at the Christmas Dinner of the RAFA Associations annual lunch at RAF Portreath on behalf of the DCLI Association for the Penzance Branch of RAFA and their President Mr Bill Mcguinness.

Christmas Dinner of the RAFA Associations Annual Lunch at RAF Portreath

I have been good friends with Bill for many years, and this is Bill’s last dinner in Cornwall as he and his family are returning to Scotland to live next week. Doris and I were treated to the hospitality by all who attended the dinner and in particular by 6 RAFA members of Bodmin Branch who were close mates of many DCLI soldiers over the years.


Update added 3rd January 2010:

Had lovely new year surprise. A visit from my old DCLI Mate from Scotland Len (Blondie) Nicholls, Support Coy DCLI Minden-Plymouth in the DCLI cap, Don Nicholls ex RAF, Jack Callaway B Coy Minden DCLI-KSLI. Car pulls up at our house at 2pm out of the blue – Blondie – what a surprise for new year.

Doris rang Jack on the phone and he came in for short time, Doris then rang our cousin Donald Nicholls, no relation to Len but good mates from Madron years ago, we had a very good afternoon going over old times together. Blondie as we used to call him for his long blond hair in those days. RSM Royffe used to wonder how he got it underneath his beret.

Blondie was stationed in Plymouth with us when he came from the Battalion and demobbed shortly after we left for the West Indies

Heavily doctored news clip entitled 1985. See caption below

Norman Dick (Piggy) KSLI/3LI, Doug Mather (Pioneer Corps-3LI, Tony Marr 3LI. 3 Roomates of Swanny and Nobby at Nescliff Camp, LI Re-Union 2010

Roy Westbrook's undated Wedding Photo, supplied by Swanny 30th July 2010

Swanny reports meeting Bill Millin just a few weeks ago at Truro. RIP Bill

An old photo of my father, 4th Seaforth Highlanders, my Uncle John Swanson 15th Highland Gunners RA and my Aunt Mary taken in Thurso Caithness 1915. Both my father and Uncle John emigrated to Toronto in Canada in 1911 as their parents had died and Aunt Mary, as she was the youngest, was sent to Leith and stayed with relations there. My father sent half his Army pay to keep her till the end of the war.

My father was taken prisoner in 1917 and escaped and lived with a family in Belgium till the end of the war, he lived as man and wife with a Belgian lady and worked in a factory till the end of the war. Their brother Uncle Hugh Swanson enlisted into the Gordon Highlanders when he was only 14 years old. My father was told of this and he was dismissed from the army only to join the Royal Navy and served in the Dardanelles. After the war Uncle Hugh emigrated to Australia and lived there till he died in Perth WA.

This is a little more Clan Gunn History.

Birthday Boy 76, Doris and grandson


67 Responses to NEIL ‘Swanny’ SWANSON. RIP


    Old Mate. This is not the comment that I ever wanted to post, but you have jumped the gun again and beaten us to another Bermuda where there is no pain or suffering. We have reluctantly followed the news over recent months of your battle with a savage illness and have applauded your persistence in the vain hope that we could all welcome you back to banter and bull.

    Rest in Peace my dear loyal old friend, we shall all miss you. Thank you for unsung deeds throughout your life. We are all better people for having known you and having shared the barrack room humour from those early days at Bodmin.

    My condolences to Doris & Family.

  2. G’Day Swanny. Taking Bill’s lead here to wish you well and better travels ‘Ole Mate and to let you know that we in OZ are with you in thoughts and prayers and sincere wishes that better days are ahead for you. We’ve heard from other Old Mates (Johnny Griffin and Barry Cornish) that you ain’t too well these days. Chin up old chep, just expect your health to improve and focus on that cheeky little bugger within and the way you were on that day – 5th November 1953 – when you greeted us as the “Old Soldier” you then were to we rookies at Bodmin.

    Happier Days Old Mate, Get Well Soon Swanny. God Bless and Good Luck.


  3. Bill Griffiths says:

    Hello Swanny old pal how are things?, we are all rooting for you and praying for you. We appreciate you must be tired and blogging gets a bit tiresome. but we all hope everything is OK. Let us know, even if it is only a few words. OK? Bill

  4. John Billett says:

    Swanny, isn’t it a huge relief when they give you the good news, after thinking the worst, even though you’re trying to keep positive, it’s like a big weight off your mind. We’re highly delighted for you, Doris and all the family.

  5. John Goddard says:

    Neil. Good luck and god bless, you are in our prayers we know what you are going through. Tell Doris to hang in there it’s very difficult. We both hope you are not in a lot of pain. Regards and best wishes.

    John and Sheila in OZ.

  6. Neil Swanny Swanson, says:

    Just to say I have an appointment with Mr Ellis at Sunrise Centre next Thursday I suppose to know whether I will have Chemo or Radio treatment for the tumours found on my spine from the MRI scan I had done, let’s hope it will all work out for me, will keep you posted.

    ED. Good Luck Ole Mate, we’re thinking of you.

  7. John Goddard says:

    Great news Swanny, I know just how you are feeling having a couple of scares a couple of years ago [bladder,& prostate cancer scare] you just relax and take care. I will put you on light duties for 7 days also no boots then you are back on active service we need good men up on the line, kindest regards to you and Doris.
    John and Sheila

  8. Neil Swanny Swanson, says:

    Good news! I went with Doris and my two daughters to Penzance Hospital yesterday and saw my PR Cancer Team nurse Thea Barlow who showed us the results of my CT Scans and PET Scans and the results showed no signs of any cancer but grey areas from the scarring from my operations etc which is in my spinal areas and I will have to go to Treliske Hospital to have a different scan to check this out. So relief all round. As I said before I told my surgeon about having bad pains in the abdomen area so Thea gave me a ECG while I was there and results seem OK. It makes you feel so much better when you recieve good results. Doris, I and my family would like to thank you all of my friends for your close friendship and god bless of you for that.

    ED: Bugger me Mate! – You had us worried for a while, now with that news – I suppose that Guiness will be at a premium price again with Penzance consumption on the increase!!

    Well Done Swanny

    • John Billett says:

      Well done Swanny, good news indeed, lets hope it continues on that course, that Guiness is going to cost more, never mind it’s a good medicine. All the best to you and Doris.

  9. Neil Swanny Swanson, says:

    I wish!! I used to love my Guiness but alas there comes a time but if I never have another I have had more than my share! Thanks JG for your kind words, it is so nice to have you on the blogs and for us all to have each other on them. I really enjoy our blogs especially from you guys in OZ to keep us informed of your company, I can see how you settled there as after a holiday there in 1995, I fell in love with the country and the Aussies sense of humour etc, Doris and I loved everything about it and it was a special holiday for us.

  10. John Goddard says:

    You guys [that includes Derek] are all great. My doc just says to Sheila and me “keep going keep going’ I like a punt and thats what I shout to my nags. Have an interest, and something to look forward to like a trip etc etc that will keep you going never give up. I have never seen a many of you guys but I love you all like brothers if you are passing by drop in. keep moving, keep going never give in.

    ED: Thanks JG, well done both of you. We’ll drop in when next down on the GC. Not very often these days, but we’re due a trip to the German Club soon. Dunno that it’s wise to invite that bugger Swanson – he’ll drink all your Guiness.

  11. Neil Swanny Swanson, says:

    Hi John and Peggy
    Nice to hear from you and thanks to you all for your support while I go through the motions again, hope you are both keeping well as none of us is getting any younger. As said before John its a pity a few more don’t go on our blogs all credit to Derek for being our benefactor for our blogs, we all owe him for keeping it still going. I would miss it as you all would that have helped Derek for keeping it going, and it has been my main thing since the onset, We all thank him for all his work since he started it, and especially me since my ailments has kept me going, again a big thank you to him.

  12. Neil Swanny Swanson, says:

    Thanks John and Sheila for your kind words and thoughts. My son-in-law drove me to Plymouth yesterday to the Peninsula Radiology Academy and as I had been there before in 2008 I knew what to expect of the proceedure, it is quite a mind bender on your first visit as it is very scary as doors are shut behind you from reception to the rooms for the scans as it is Radio active areas and takes four hours from arrival time to complete this procedure, but as said as I had it before was not so bad. This is a private facility and immaculate and clean and only has four patients a day and apparently costs £7,000, all went well and afterwards you are very tired but lets hope I get a good result, again thanks John and Sheila will keep you posted when I get the results.

    • John Billett says:

      Hello Swanny, I have just read all your updates, I must agree that the hospital procedures can be very tiring, but they are keeping on top of things, Peggy and I are keeping our fingers crossed for you and hope you have an all clear outcome. Good to hear that Doris is doing fine and that your coping with the household chores, as Derek said practice makes perfect, if you do perfect it we will present with the’ Stick’ for the day, what you do with it is entirely up to you. Positive thinking Swanny, take care, love to Doris.

  13. John Goddard says:

    Hi Brother Swanny Swanson, our thoughts and prayers are with you you must be very worried let’s hope everything will be OK. We is all getting older we is! but we don’t want to go to the scrapyard just yet. Hang in there you are getting the best of care let us know asap of the results. Regards and best wishes
    John and Sheila Goddard

  14. Neil Swanny Swanson, says:

    Thanks Derek as always I will soldier on.

  15. Neil Swanny Swanson, says:

    Went and saw Mr Peyser, my cancer surgeon and he said he had the results of my C Scan and there was a grey area on it where I had had problems with the pneumonia and other parts but the pictures were very vague and he said it could be the tumour had come back! but he thinks it is the lungs area. So he is arranging for me to have a Pet Scan in the Nuclear Hospital at Plymouth as soon as possible as this scan is a lot more defining scan than the other one. He was pleased to see that I hadn’t lost any weight but all the same since I came out of Treliske in 2009, so lets hope everything works out OK. I am still carer for Doris and she is going on fine with her walking etc still moans about my cooking HA HA I was never meant to be a carer.

    ED: Good Luck to you ‘Ole Mate. We’re all confident that the fresh scan will be clear and you can long continue to improve your culinary skills.

  16. Neil Swanny Swanson, says:

    Had a visit today from one of the Royal Marines Cadets that I trained in the 1970s, he had to finish in the Met Police on medical grounds after having a brain tumour removed in 2006 also he lost a young daughter to cancer after suffering for several years and sadly passed away. Steven comes from a long line of family that were in the Corps of Royal Marines and he wanted to join but his father would not sign the forms for him to join when he was sixteen years old. He was a first class Marine Cadet and was really a credit to the Royal Marines Cadets. We were reminiscing the old days about commando training at Lympstone etc and how the youth of today could do some sort of military training of which would be so good for them.

  17. Neil Swanny Swanson, says:

    I go for a meeting with my surgeon tomorrow at West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance for hopefully good news on my CT scan I had a couple of weeks ago. It’s a bit like D Day in your mind if anything is awry. as I get very bad pains in my bit of a stomach after my operation in 2008, it is always in the back of your mind that something could be there. I am fine in myself but have not put on any weight at all 9 stones which is the same as 3 years ago.

    ED: Our thoughts for a good outcome are with you Swanny. Good Luck.

  18. Neil Swanny Swanson, says:

    Hi Andrew
    I do not know anybody by that name as I served in Bermuda from 1954-55 and the DCLI was spread over the Brit West Indies, I suggest you put your comment on the DCLI Blog as someone there might know this chap.

  19. Andrew Fedrick says:

    Is there anyone out there who remembers my neighbour Pte Terry Rogers – 23075940, who now resides between Pilton and Shepton Mallet, Somerset. He often recants tales of how he and his colleagues terrorised the Caribbean coast!! I will be visiting the Museum over the festive period and will hopefully find out some more info for him.

  20. Neil Swanny Swanson, says:

    Doesn’t seem to matter to soldiers today, all that serve today their badge is half way in the middle of their head. As you know Derek I was always rebellious and don’t think I will alter now, thanks for that Derek.

  21. Stick Orderly Swanny in 1954 and Guiness Orderly in 2007

    Hi Derek, now found this photo of me going to Armistice Parade in November 2007. I was 13 and a half stone and now since all my ailments etc I weigh 9 stone on. Wish I could put on a bit more weight, but I don’t think it will happen, could you please put this photo on my blog page for all to see, that’s what Guiness used to do for me.


  22. Neil Swanny Swanson, says:

    I would like to thank all of my blog family and friends for their kind thoughts and words on Doris’ behalf. She had her hip operated on yesterday and was successfull. Doris was looking very well when my daughter Lesley and I saw her at the hospital and very alert and bright, she was still numb in her bottom half but we were surprised how bubbly and bright she was after such a short time after her OP. Most probably she will feel a little more pain in her hip area today but that is expected, will keep you posted Derek on her future welfare, again thanks to all that have contacted us on the phone etc and my facebook page.

  23. Neil Swanny Swanson, says:

    Doris goes to hospital on Monday 1-8-11 and have the operation on her hip on Tuesday 2-8-11, she has been waiting over a year and has been in constant pain every day, so hopefully she will get relief after the operation.Lets hope everything goes to plan.


      We’ll be thinking of you and sending healing thoughts to get well quick after your operation. Best Wishes from Derek and Audrey in Brisbane

  24. Neil Swanny Swanson, says:

    Saw my surgeon last Thursday, checked me over etc and will see me again in six months time. He said I was looking very well, I said I haven’t put on many pounds but he said I was looking fine. I still have problems with my voice box etc and get some problems with my breathing but he said that was due to my heart problems when I had my OP. Still soldiering on Derek and good to know you are going on OK after you said about your health was a bit poorly, don’t think we could do 30 mile route marches any more. Ha Ha, as Spokeshave said. You can’t be first and last, best regards to all on the blogs.

  25. Bill Griffiths says:

    Hi Swanny,

    Hope all is well, and that you are in fact in better shape than they have found. he fact that your specialist has decided he need not see you for at least six months, must surely prove that you are as well as can be under the circumstances. Neil, we are all praying for you, keep smiling, keep up the fun side of life which you so obviously enjoy and keep at the computer, it is a godsend, we are all connected at the touch of a button.

    All best wishes. Bill

  26. Swanny Swanson says:

    Not long got back from hospital where I saw my surgeon Mr Paul Peyser who examined me etc looked at my scars etc and said I was in very good shape. He was a bit concerned as I have had a husky voice for some days now and he made an appointment to see a ENT doctor at Truro as he was a bit concerned it might be my voice box which I had considerable problems with when going through my operation. Afterwards seeing a speech therapist when I was in hospital at that time as there was a hole in it at that time and after when I was at home, Mr Peyser said he would see me in six months time.

  27. Bill Griffiths says:

    Hi Swanny and all. I just can’t believe that another year has passed by, but it it must be right according to my calendar, that is if I am looking at the right one. Never mind, keep plodding on and keep taking the medicine, preferably a very good Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz (by the bottle of course) and to hell with the consequences.

    My local undertaker often smiles at me, but I tell him to take the smile off his face ‘cos he ain’t taking me yet, fingers crossed.

    Swanny, it was really MY pleasure meeting up with you last June. I feel that I have known you for years. I wonder if it might be possible again this next June, perhaps we could get together a small gathering?

    Anyway, all best wishes to all of you and your loving families


  28. Swanny Swanson says:

    How time flies. It is two years now since my life saving operation and I thank god I am one of the lucky ones, and with the day by day love of my dear wife Doris who herself is in constant pain still waiting for surgery on her hips and knee. 7 months since she has seen the Consultant about her operation, but thats life, she has been my rock and we help each other in everyday life and I am such a lucky man to have such a devoted wife.

    I have emails from so many close friends and Ex service people which is such a lift for me, in particular my very special friend Bill Griffiths in Hereford who also has had a very difficult year looking after his dear wife Nancy and meeting him in the flesh at the LI Re-Union at Shrewsbury this year was one of the highlights of my year.

    God Bless you all.

  29. Swanny.

    Just today I heard an ABC Radio commentary from the son of Bill Millin, regarding Bill’s exploits with the bagpipes at Arnhem (?) 1944. He was a quiet man who never sought the publicity that his bravery attracted. Evidently his pipes were shrapnelled out of commission during a shelling barrage. Thank you for the clip.

  30. Swanny Swanson says:

    No, sorry to say after all the phoning and trying to get in contact with Roy it came to nothing, as you know I invited him when we got in contact I thought sure he would be more interested but to no avail. As you also tried to contact him at that time to come and stay with me for our Re-Union, he had my address, phone number etc but hasn’t ever been in contact with me, alas win some, lose some.

    ED: Too bad Swanny, thanks for update though, maybe one day!

  31. Editor in Brisbane says:


    This latest pix of Roy Westbrook’s Wedding that you sent me and I have published above – are you back in touch with him?

  32. Trevor Webb says:

    Neil sorry to hear that Doris is in such pain give my regards I hope to see you both next month in Heamoor.
    Best Wishes my old mate.


  33. Swanny Swanson says:

    Saw my surgeon last Thursday he was very pleased to see me looking so well, had quick glance at my scars etc and said he would see me in December. I said I was going to LI reunion at Shrewsbury in June and asked about if it was all right if I had a drink or two. His answer was your stomach will tell you as you only have half a one in there. Doris is still in a lot of pain and hope she can have her hips etc done as soon as possible as the pain tablets do not help ease the pain, but got to soldier on.

    ED: Good news about your progress ‘Ole Mate, don’t overdo it, you’ve a great deal of soldiering to do yet with Doris still in trouble. Let’s all hope that she is shifting up the queue for the attention she badly needs. Best regards to you both.

  34. Swanny says:

    Hi Derek
    Thanks for your kind words. Doris goes to the local swimming pool and meets quite a few that she knows up there and it is one hour for pensioners in their own area of the pool and a manual lift which gets them out of the pool, so no stretching to get out and she really enjoys it.

  35. Swanny says:

    Drove to Truro last week for Doris to see an Orthopedic Surgeon, Mr Bracey. He said that she will have to undergo an operation on her two hips and one knee. He has advised her to go on a diet etc. to lose weight and also gave her a regime, ie swimming as to most days and exercising in a mild way, no riding on her exercise bike or anything of that nature. Hopefully this operation will be done sooner than later as she is in so much pain most of the time, between the pair of us caring for each other ie getting in and out of the shower etc, and me having to help her dress etc ie putting on her socks etc. as the Cornish say. What a couple we pair make, also as all of us we ain’t getting any younger.

    • G’Day Doris & Swanny

      Tough news indeed for Doris and for you too ‘Ole Mate, giving her the support that she needs. I write on behalf of all your Mates in wishing you both the best and a quick and satisfactory treatment and recovery for Doris.

      Regarding the swimming exercises – is this to happen on Penzance Beach? If so, some photos please. Gotta Larf!

      Get Well Soon Doris, the Old Bloke could never cook.

      PS: Doris. We expect no less than a 100% recovery in time for a 2011 Bodmin Day Parade, when we have arranged for you to drill the troops in the Grand March Past.

  36. Sylvia says:


    Good news about your blood test, but not so good news with regard to Doris. I do hope the docs can do something for her, it must be awful to be in constant pain. My prayers are with her. xx

  37. SWANNY SWANSON says:

    My doctor rang me last evening and said my results of blood test was good, he has now prescribed Simvastatin tablets but upgrading the dosage from 20mg to 40 mg and I may have to take these all the time. Doris is not so well these days full of arthritis in her knees and hips, I have to help her with day to day chores, dressing etc. I have to take her to Truro on Friday to see an Orthopedic doctor, so lets hope he can get some help for her constant pain.

    ED: Good and tough news ‘Ole Mate, good also to know that at least one of you can do the housework. Get the acid outta yer diet Mate, more greens and veggie juice.

    We’ve always been on a high neutral Ph diet, couple with Condroitin and Glucosamine, and lots of Omega Oils 3, 6 and 9.

  38. SWANNY SWANSON says:

    I have now come from my docters surgery. I have been off colour a wee bit for last week or so and last night was a very difficult as I have had a bad cough etc. I think I got cold or something attending the funeral at St Ives and have been down since then. I went for a blood test and I have a cholesterol and am now taking tablets for that problem, and the results on Friday next to go on stronger tablets for a course of two further weeks as they have to be careful. Some tablets affect the liver and thats the last thing I want.

    Sorry to bother you Derek with my ailments but hopefully I will get better as the weeks progress.

    ED: Swanny ‘Ole Mate, get well soon. Your comments are well received and appreciated, and we all are barracking for you. Keep us informed of your progress and tell Doris that an extra Guiness or 2 are OK, if your doc approves. Surplus fluids are always good for a virus, Swanny, just don’t trip on the garden steps.

  39. SWANNY SWANSON says:

    Just to think a year has past since my homecoming from hospital, as you all know my operation has been a great success. Thanks mainly to my surgeon Mr Paul Peyser who I saw last Thursday 31-1-2010 and who sees me every 3 months. I haven’t gained a lot of weight but am eating and drinking with no problems which he was glad to hear.

    I have a problem walking due to my spinal injury many years ago now and have to use a walking stick so I think my marching days are over ie Parades etc. I will miss that very much as I have always enjoyed my stints at Armistice Parade especially, which with many of my old mates have passed away and I miss their company so very much. But I am lucky that we have a very good membership of our Branch DCLI, I look forward very much to our meetings and dinners etc and hopefully long may it continue.

    PS: The icing on the cake was for Derek to initiate the Re-Union last year and meeting up with so many of my closest friends of that era. God bless you ONE AND ALL.

    ED: Plus that crab sandwich ‘Ole Mate!

  40. SWANNY SWANSON says:

    ED, I just thought I would just write a little note about Rex Trevor Wallis, as I said on MMG Blog about him would put an insight on his life.

    I would like to say this on a personal note. I had been for years trying to get Rex to join our DCLI Association but to no avail, but this year after his various ailments, out of the blue he arrived at our West Indies Re-Union at Heamoor RBL and he joined the West Cornwall Branch. He said to me how he regretted not joining when previously asked. With hindsight this is the case of so many still in our area not joining and not knowing the close friendship that we all enjoy being a part of our close relationship of the DCLI Associations in Cornwall. Again (RIP) REX WALLIS.

    • Editor in Brisbane says:

      G’Day Swanny,

      Just re-read your Comment and digested your remarks about Rex arriving at Heamoor – out of the blue. I failed to register that until now and must say how pleased I was (personally) to be there at that time. I had in fact, some weeks earlier picked up Rex’s message (on looking for Old Mates) on the BLI Guestbooks and initiated an inquiry back to our own blogs, where I think Jack Madron identified him.

      Anyway, all that aside, we were privileged to get to know Rex over that short time, and further at the Old Blogger’s Dinner. He certainly appeared to enjoy himself and we have him captured on our Re-Union photo records.

  41. SWANNY SWANSON says:

    Ed, nice bit of poetry thanks, to write poetry as you do you must have been a keen pupil at school, or was it while we were doing our Army Education Tests. I was never a good pupil for learning, always dreaming when at school, didn’t do bad in exams in later years, going on courses in the TA etc, but took me nearly twenty odd years before I got senior rate.

    ED: G’Day Mate. Limericks, poetry and prose always fascinated me from childhood. The Lure of the Limerick is quite an adventure in terms of English expression and some very clever writers have left their mark on society.

  42. Editor says:

    A young lad who once hailed from Newlyn
    A Guiness he sinks, now and then.
    All his Regiment’s ties; we do swear
    At Parades he does frequently wear,
    Each time to get a pint thrown in!

  43. Sylvia says:


    You have given 50 years of support to our Regiment, because you can no longer lead the parade doesn’t mean that your support will be valued less. You will always be the gentleman to look up to as a leader amongst men.


    (29th August 2009) Swanny has just emailed this old print of his RMR days, now doctored to best rendition. He tells me that it has been sent off to Dave Besley, newly discovered by John Billett, living in Bridgewater, Somerset.

    On another note, I enjoyed the hospitality of Swanny and Doris while at the Cassino Dinner and Bodmin Open Day weekend (late June 2009). It was a real pleasure to catch up with my ‘Ole Mate again, from Bermuda days and to enjoy a beer or two at the Heamoor British Legion Club.

    Keep Well Swanny and Good Luck!

  45. Paul (Barney) Barnes says:

    Hi to all and especially Neil and family. Ain’t been on here recently, so I suppose I’d better take some extras? Glad that Old Swanny is coming along OK, I really must get down to PZ and see him, didnt get to the hospital when he was there, as every time I had the chance, he was not too well, or I had a cold and flu so didnt want to cross contaminate.

    Keep up the good work Swanny, and get back to fitness soon, thinking of you and the family as always, take care me old mate.

    Paul B.

  46. JT says:


    Expect you are interested in this Clean Coal Technology. Look at the soap you might have saved and that coal dust – you know where.

  47. Swanny Swanson says:

    Thanks Terry for your kind remarks ie Nurses, I have now 2 lovely nurses who call twice a week to change my feeder dressing, in our bedroom I might add??

    ALL, I am going on very well at home, now having yoghourts 4 times a day as well as my Osmolite on my feeding machine which takes me from 6pm till 7am in the morning, leaving me me free from the feeder machine all day to move around and be taken for short trips in the car, on the PC etc and I am feeling stronger as the days go on. Hopefully put on some extra fat on my skinny body over the next few months. I get regular visits from former DUKES which I appreciate so much also daily phone calls from mates from afar as Scotland etc.

    Again I would like to thank you all for your kind thoughts, Swanny.

    ED: Who’s getting better then? 2 sheilas in his bedroom to change dressings! – Bloody Coal Shed all over again! Doris – send the Old Devil back to work!

  48. Terry Joll says:

    I wish to add that on the occasions that I managed to get in to see Swanny I can confirm that he had the very best treatment from the Doctors and his Nurses. He had his own personal Nurse, us other poor buggers had to share one between three of us.

    Good to hear that the old devil is on the mend again.

  49. JT says:


    Well Well, so what’s this about you getting 2 body rubs when you were in the Light Infantry?

    Did your platoon get special visits from Cardie?

  50. G’day Swanny

    I’m hoping that at some time in the near future, you’ll get to read this message, written on behalf of your Old Mates – doing it easy, while you tough it out – back in Treliske. We’re with you in spirit ‘Ole Mate and hoping that you’ll get your system back in working order real soon.

    Can’t be much fun stuck in the ward with all those nurses with big tits and legs up to their armpits and wishful smiles on their faces. Must be real tough – you having to get a body rub twice a day – worse than the bloody Light Infantry.

    Anyhow Swanny, all the gang miss your banter and bullshit and we need a fresh injection of updated stories of your antics around the wards!!

    Get Well Soon Old Son.

    Best Regards from all the boys.

  51. John Tenniswood says:

    Thank you Donald. What ward is Swanny in please?


    Broadcast request copied from direct email

    Since my last update on Dad, there have been a few twists and turns in the medical plan for his care, but essentially he is getting better, though not without minor complication. He is regaining his voice and able communicate much better, but I fear he is in danger of over using it at this early stage!!

    The medical team have advised him that they suspect that he may have experienced some sort of stroke during his operation whilst he was under the anesthetic. This is an explanation they have provided for the fact that he is still unable to swallow sufficiently well to eat or drink; when attempting to do so, a malfunctioning epiglottis is allowing some of the consumed product to go into the lungs rather than down into the newly manufactured stomach.

    Dad had hoped to be able to sit at his computer and provide you with this update himself; he was allowed home temporarily over the festive period, and he said he was feeling much better. I sensed that the period of rest at home has done him well. However he has now experienced complications with the input of his fluids and nutrition; as he is unable to take anything by mouth his food and drink are administered by means of a machine which I have not seen so cannot explain! This machine frequently malfunctions, requires attention from nursing staff as it is something which cannot be rectified at home without their assistance. Sadly, this has been the case again over the past days.

    As a consequence of not receiving minimal fluids/nutrition he is feeling very weak and so that he can receive the relevant level of care, he has been re-admitted to Treliske hospital and is waiting to see his consultant.

    I hope to be going down to visit him in the next few days and I will try and update you further from there.

    With best regards



    I spoke to Doris just 5 minutes ago and she reported that Swanny will be in hospital for another couple of weeks until the doctors can get his swallowing action functioning. He’s not able to take fluids by mouth and it sounds as if they’re feeding him by tube. He’s very weak still but nursing staff are getting him out of bed for some short walks and sitting up. Doris said that he tries to talk but is still very poorly.

    I passed on our thoughts and prayers and hopes for a prompt recovery and Doris said that his face will light up when she reports my call.

    Get Well soon ‘Ole Mate and if you happen to read this – we miss your banter and bull and look forward to seeing you in print again very soon.

  54. Barry Cornish says:

    Thank you Paul. I really appreciate the latest news on Neil. He has certainly ‘been through the mill’ but his positive outlook and unfailing good humour will stand him in good stead for his continuing battle to recovery.

    He and his family are continually in my thoughts and prayers and we who are within a reasonable distance of Penzance will do anything that we can to help him, Doris and their family.

    ED: Here is the most recent update (verbatim) from Donald Swanson Jnr.

    It has been a few days since Dad’s Operation and I thought I should send out a brief message to let you know how he is getting on. Firstly, thank you all for your kind wishes, which both Dad and Mum really appreciate. Whilst I would prefer to reply to everyone individually, it is much easier to update you all in one go, so please excuse the seemingly impersonal nature of these email updates, but it makes it easier and quicker for me and ensures you all get the same information.

    Despite coming through his operation well, Dad has suffered a minor set back in his recovery; overnight on Thursday he experienced some difficulty with his breathing, caused by an excess in internally draining fluids. He was unable to cough properly due to being anaesthetics and subsequently required the assistance of a ventilator. He remains in a stable condition, but in order to guarantee his comfort, he has been given some extra sedation and continues to use the support of the ventilator.

    Consequently, he will be remaining in the IT for a while longer. We spent some time with him yesterday and his physical appearance is amazing, save the multitude of bits medical apparatus to which he is wired! He is unable communicate verbally, due to his airway being restricted by the ventilator tube, though this hasn’t stopped him trying!

    I phoned the hospital this morning and spoke with the duty Staff Nurse. She told me that she had been trying to communicate with him using a pen and paper. He wrote one word – ‘Penzance’, which indicates where he wants to be!

    The level of care being provided by the nursing staff is absolutely second to none and we are delighted that he is in safe hands.

    Throughout these difficult times, Mum is comforted by your good wishes and has asked me to thank you all for your support.

    I will update you further when I have some news.


  55. Paul (Barney) Barnes says:

    Glad to say that Swanny has had his Op, and as far as is known has been successful, it appears that Neil was on the table from 0830hrs until 1730hrs on the 3rd December 08. A monumental battle has been fought by Neil, but as we all know it’s not over yet. Neil is in the Intensive Care unit at the moment, but all signs are for a good recovery. Please continue your support for Neil and his family, as they have all been extremely brave, keep sending out your loving, healing thoughts and prayers to Neil and his family.

    Well done to all.


  56. Swanny Swanson says:

    ED, Doris and I would like to thank you for kind words on the write up you have given me, we both felt humbled with your kind words etc on your write up of me on our new Blog page Neil (Swanny) Swanson.

    It has been a very happy day for Doris and I as we went out today with Doris’s sister to the local market and when we got home our daughters and families had laid on a birthday meal etc for Doris’s 70th Birthday, which is 18th November Tuesday next. Again Derek many thanks for your kind words and deeds, I treasure very much our close friendship with you and Audrey and hopefully meet with in the near future. Also Derek being on our website you have brought so many of us so close as all the contributers of our Regimental site has shown over the past few years, long may it remain.


    ED: Thanks Swanny, you deserve our thanks ‘Ole Mate. Happy Birthday to Doris also. Selected Birthday Bash photos now published.

  57. Jack Madron says:

    Hi Ed.
    The above photo’s were taken by my daughter Teresa. I’ve taken some but haven’t put them on PC yet. Will get around to it as soon as possible. I have got two nice ones of Doris and Swanny and Trevor Webb and Barry Cornish.

    ED: Thanks Jack, Teresa’s contributions duly acknowledged.

  58. Editor says:


    Many thanks ‘Ole Mate.

    Get Well Soon. God Bless you


Comments are closed.