Navy

British Forces In Bahrain Honour Last Wish Of Sailor's Widow

A service at Joe Sullivan's graveside in the Old Christian Cemetery in Bahrain marked the couple's 65th wedding anniversary.

British personnel in Bahrain have carried out the last wish of a sailor's widow, 65 years to the day after the couple were married.

June Daniels had been married to Able Seaman Joseph Sullivan for only 21 months when he was killed in a road crash in the Gulf kingdom in December 1957.

She subsequently remarried and went on to have two children and five grandchildren, living in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey until her death in February aged 82.

Her daughter Michele Weaver said: "Mum was married and widowed in less than 21 months, which was a sadness she kept to herself her whole life.

"Mum had a lifelong hope to one day visit Joe's grave in Bahrain, but she sadly never managed it."

Joe was a keen sportsman, playing for the base's football and cricket teams (Picture: Royal Navy).

Michele reached out to the Royal Navy via the War Graves Photographic Project, set up by retired sailor Steve Rogers to record the memorials of service personnel around the world.

They arranged a service for the couple at Joe's graveside in the Old Christian Cemetery in Bahrain on what would have been the Sullivans' 65th wedding anniversary.

It was led by Naval chaplain Reverend Balogun and attended by the Royal Navy's Deputy Commander in the region, Captain Nick Wood and Army Postal Courier Corporal Jim Allen.

Joe had served as a mailman during his time in Bahrain, collecting and distributing post and parcels from Muharraq Airport to sailors based at HMS Jufair, which had been the Royal Navy's base in the kingdom.

After Joe's death, June returned to the UK as a young widow and enrolled on a nursing course.

A service at Joe's graveside in the Old Christian Cemetery in Bahrain marked the Sullivans' 65th wedding anniversary (Picture: Royal Navy).

"It meant so much to me personally, to be able to fulfil June's wishes and pay tribute to AB Sullivan and the valuable contribution he made to the Naval Service," said Lieutenant Commander Sarah Vines from the staff of the UK Maritime Component Command, the Royal Navy's HQ in the Middle East.

"People are the Armed Forces' most important asset, and whether past or present, they remain part of the Forces family.

"It was a real honour to be able to pay our respects to Joe and his late wife."

Michele said her family has been deeply moved by the efforts of personnel in Bahrain.

She said: "We feel very fortunate to have had the Royal Navy's support in this tribute to them both and we feel at peace in the sense that Mum's dear wish to mark Joe's passing and remember their time together in Bahrain has been fulfilled."

Cover image: AB Joe Sullivan and his wife June arriving in Bahrain in 1956 (Picture: Royal Navy).