Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

Funeral of Surgeon Capt Rick Jolly

12 February 2018
The funeral service for the late Surgeon Captain (Surg Capt) Rick Jolly OBE, who ran the Field Hospital during the Falklands conflict, took place at HMS Raleigh Saturday 10 February 2018.

Around 550 mourners attended the service conducted by the Reverend Ralph Barber, Royal Navy Chaplain, and the Reverend David Cooper, who was the Chaplain to 2 PARA during the Falklands conflict and is the Chaplain to the South Atlantic Medal Association.

The mourners included Surg Capt Jolly’s wife, Susie, other family, neighbours and friends together with friends and former colleagues that he served with throughout his Service career and during the Falklands conflict. 

The eulogy was given by Surg Capt Jolly’s long-standing friend Dr Richard Page, who trained with him at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

Rick, an outstanding commando doctor, was a large, compassionate, ebullient man, a gifted mimic and raconteur.

Major General Thompson

Major General Julian Thompson, who commanded 3 Commando Brigade in 1982, represented His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. 

Major General Thompson said:  “Surgeon Captain Rick Jolly was in charge of the field hospital at Ajax Bay during the Falklands War of 1982. 

“Here, in the ‘Red and Green Life Machine’, Rick Jolly and his staff treated more than 650 British and Argentine casualties, and carried out some 210 operations.

“Awarded the OBE by Britain, he was the only person to be decorated by Argentina as well for his care of many wounded Argentines. 

“Rick, an outstanding commando doctor, was a large, compassionate, ebullient man, a gifted mimic and raconteur. 

“We will miss him very much.”

Admiral Sir James Perowne was the representative for His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, while Surgeon Vice Admiral Alasdair Walker represented His Royal Highness The Duke of York and the First Sea Lord.

Surg Vice Admiral Walker said:  “I first met Rick when I was the Medical Officer in HMS Plymouth during the Falklands conflict. 

“The ship was damaged by several bombs and our wounded were evacuated to the field hospital at Ajax Bay. 

“They like many others benefitted from Rick’s acute intervention.  Our paths crossed several times in subsequent years as we were both based in the South West. 

“Rick continued to encourage and support young Servicemen and women after leaving the Royal Navy and was also an advocate for veterans of the Falklands conflict.  Regular visits to the Islands were established and continue thanks to his involvement.

“Those who knew him within the Royal Naval Medical Service will miss his support.  More importantly his patients will miss him terribly.

“On behalf of the Royal Navy I would like to pass on our condolences to Susie and the rest of Rick’s family.”

The mourner’s also included former members of the Medical Squadron of the Commando Logistic Regiment Royal Marines; the squadron that Surg Capt Jolly headed up during the Falklands conflict.   Nine of these men acted as pallbearers. 

John Thurlow, a former Royal Marine, said:  “We worked under Rick’s direction at Ajax Bay.  He was a fabulous boss. 

“It was a very difficult time for him, as he had a lot of responsibility, but he knew all our names.  He came round to see us after particularly difficult days for a debrief and to give us a tot.

“I believe he was the right man in the right place at the right time.  We’ll miss him as a friend as well as a former boss. 

“He referred to us as his steady men and it’s an honour to carry the Boss on his last journey.”

The squadron provided the vast majority of the medical support to UK land based Royal Marines and Army Battalions as well as those ships in Falkland Sound and San Carlos Water, from a disused refrigeration plant at Ajax Bay.

Erich Bootland, a former Royal Navy Captain, said:  “I was one of Rick’s Troop Commanders. I was responsible for the provision of a 50-bedded dressing station, of which there were two. Both dressing stations had surgical teams attached to them. 

“The majority of my relationship with Rick was centred on work through shared operational experiences in the Falklands, but on a personal level, particularly as friends and because of our proximity as neighbours and our children growing up together, my wife and I very much appreciated Rick’s thoughtfulness, kindness and all round support. 

“I knew that should we ever have had a crisis, he would have stepped in to help regardless of the circumstances. 

“Rick had an engaging personality, was larger than life, generous and good spirited, and was well known for those particular aspects of his character.  It is clear from the many hundreds of messages Susie has had how far that was extended to others.”

Ken Enticknap was one of two men plucked from Falkland Sound by Surg Capt Jolly after the sinking of HMS Ardent.  He and John Dillon had struggled their way through the smoke, fire and razor sharp twisted metal after the air-raid on the ship and were drifting in the freezing water.

Ken, who was then a Chief Petty Officer, said:  “It was early evening of 21 May 1982 and little did I know that this was the day I was to come into contact with an amazing man, someone who would save my life and become a really good friend. 

“Rick has had a significant impact on my life ever since the moment we met going up on a wire dangling from a helicopter.  

“He was always engaging, jovial and full of bon-homme; an all-round good egg. 

“He will be remembered, indeed, for all the things he did, from surgery on the streets of Northern Island, to the Ajax Bay field hospital and for bringing Jack Speak to the bookshops, I have a signed copy of course.  

“He will always be in the forefront of my memory as the man who, having very little regard for his own safety did something amazing to allow me to live.  He will be sadly missed.”

Other attendees included Senator Renato Carlos Sersale di Cerisamo, the Argentine Ambassador, Group Captain Fernando Luis Mengo, the Argentine Defence Attaché, Mrs Sukey Pullen, representing the Falklands Islands government and Commodore Inga Kennedy, the Head of the Royal Navy Medical Service.

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.