Richard Pratchett

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Richard Pratchett MBE

Richard Pratchett, who brought his family to live in Jersey in 1953, saw service during the Second World War in a Royal Navy mine clearance unit. He had trained as an industrial chemist but joined the Navy at the outbreak of war and volunteered for mine clearance.

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He served in 30th Assault Unit under Commander Edward Obbard, the father of the present owner of Samares Manor and among his colleagues was Quentin Riley, the son of the then owner of Trinity Manor, and Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond novels.

On active service in the Mediterranean

The unit specialised in intelligence gathering, bomb laying and clearing, and Richard Pratchett was also involved in fitting out the block-ships which would be used for creating the Mulberry Harbours for the D-Day landings in Normandy.

At the end of the war he saw service in the Far East, clearing mines from Singapore Harbour. In 1947 he moved to South Africa with his wife and young children, but six years later they were back in Britain and decided to move to Jersey, where he joined JJ Le Sueur wine merchants, becoming a partner in the company at premises in Bond Street.

His experience in bomb disposal was put to good use when he helped the island’s bomb disposal officer Eric Walker on many occasions.

His daughter Geraldine went to Girls’ College and left Jersey to marry in 1960. Tragedy struck the family two years later when 15-year-old son Robert was one of two Victoria College boys who were overcome by fumes in a German storage tunnel in St Peter’s Valley and lost their lives.

Richard Pratchett and his wife Anne never really recovered from this disaster and within five years both had died of cancer at the age of 52.

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