Sadly, another distinguished Marine down. Could not replicate his image, but try UK Telegraph, He might feature in the London Times later also?
Colonel David Storrie, who has died aged 82, reintroduced flying into the Royal Marines, and achieved many “firsts” during his career.
In 1961, when the Royal Marines saw their opportunity to resume one of their previous roles as aviators in the Fleet Air Arm, Storrie was among the first volunteers. He was awarded his wings in May 1962 and joined 845 Naval Air Squadron flying Wessex helicopters from the commando carrier Albion, which sailed later that year for a two-year commission in the Far East Fleet.
In the next few weeks Storrie landed 41 Commando in Aden and 40 Commando in Kenya before crossing the Indian Ocean to Singapore when Konfrontasi, the Indonesian assault on the newly formed Federation of Malaysia, began.
On December 14, Storrie landed Marines on the racecourse at Kuching, on Borneo, to assist the civilian population during floods, then operations seamlessly morphed into fighting Indonesian incursions. This caused Albion’s captain to cancel Christmas “due to operational commitments”, but after Storrie and his fellow officer, David Rowe, were invited to the senior rates’ mess, events led to their wine bills being stopped.
In the New Year, 845 NAS deployed to Sabah and Sarawak, and for the next 16 months Storrie flew his single-engined Wessex in support of Gurkhas, RM Commandos and the SAS in the most testing of conditions.
They endured 40-degree temperatures at high latitude, refuelling by hand pump from primitive landing sites cut out of the jungle. They landed through clearings where the jungle canopy was 250ft high and Storrie was unable to see the right-hand side of the aircraft, carefully calculating the pay-off between range and payload. He and his aircrewman often operated on their own. Maps, too, were rudimentary, Storrie recalled, often with little more information than “Here be dragons”.
Once he was forced to carry out an engine-off landing; on another occasion he provided airborne fire support for an attack on an enemy camp, and fired – for the first time in British usage – the SS.11 air-to-surface missile which he had earlier spent six weeks being trained on in Paris.
For his outstanding operational flying, Storrie was Mentioned in Despatches.
Storrie had joined the Royal Marines in 1957 after a failed attempt to join the Royal Australian Navy. Still under training, he joined 45 Commando in Cyprus during the Emergency there – learning in B Troop the importance of the relationship between a troop subaltern and experienced Senior NCOs, who guided him as the 19-year-old found his feet. On the unit’s return to Malta he rescued a man drowning offshore, for which he was awarded the Ralph Garrett Memorial Award.
Storrie in Borneo
On returning to the UK after flying with 845 NAS, Storrie and Rowe were selected to fly helicopters into the gardens of Buckingham Palace as part of the Royal Marines Tercentenary Royal Review.
In 1966 he became a qualified helicopter instructor and converted to the Sioux light helicopter. Storrie’s compelling personality, allied to his very evident experience, ensured that a majority of his pupils graduated with confidence.
He next commanded 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron in Singapore, where once again his dynamism and professionalism ensured that the squadron dealt efficiently with a wide range of routine and emergency tasks, including the evacuation of an injured Royal Marine from the casing of a submarine off the coast of Malaysia.
In 1972, at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Storrie was the youngest and most junior company commander of M Company, 42 Commando, under the legendary Jeremy Moore. During two demanding Belfast tours, Storrie showed his ebullient, enthusiastic and positive character. As a senior officer recalled: “An exemplary Royal Marine. Very fit, he was a natural leader with high personal and military standards, being tough and demanding when necessary, yet compassionate and sensitive to the needs of the individual Marine.”
Promoted major in December 1974, he attended the US Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia, before returning to Belfast as second-in-command of 41 Commando. In 1979 he assumed command of Royal Marines Poole, a diverse establishment comprising the Special Boat Service, the Landing Craft Branch, RM technical training, as well as Army personnel specialising in naval gunfire support. Little escaped Storrie’s scrutiny, but he watched with envy and frustration as his friends and much of his command went to war in 1982.
In 1984 Storrie was appointed OBE. His career culminated in his appointment, the first for a RM officer, as Director of Naval Physical Training and Sport.
In retirement he joined Holts’ Tours as a battlefield guide. Perfectly balanced by the calmness of his wife Linda, and by her constant smile and kindness, he became one of Holts’ most popular guides, building a following who chose to travel with the Storries wherever they went.
He had met Linda Cole, an air hostess based at Gatwick, while undergoing flying training at Redhill. They married in 1963, and she survives him with their two sons, one of whom joined the Royal Marines; both are successful gold and diamond mining engineers.
Colonel David Storrie, born November 16 1938, died August 21 2021
PS Did you crack code? The son of LCDR Bill Storrie, DSM, RAN, Rtd. ("Uncle Bill", XO of Harman 1970-72). His sister was married to an RAN officer.
Death Notices, Obituaries, Remembrances of Departed Shipmates
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