15th December 2019

Obituary: Bob Charlesworth

Robert David Islwyn Charlesworth, a war hero and trading standards stalwart, has passed away at the age of 97.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team

We are sad to announce the passing of Robert David Islwyn Charlesworth at the grand age of 97.

The present day Chartered Trading Standards Institute, of which Bob remained a member, grew out of the Incorporated Society of Weights and Measures Inspectors which Bob joined in 1936 after leaving school at 14. His first job was a temporary fuel clerk with Crewe Corporation, before being selected from 30 applicants to join the Weights and Measures department as an office boy in 1940.

Bob Charlesworth

However as with so many at that time, Bob’s early working days were cut short by the Second World War. He volunteered for the Fleet Air Arm, joining 836 Squadron near Londonderry in 1943. At just 21 Bob flew as an Observer in the legendary Swordfish aircraft operating between Nova Scotia and Northern Ireland, protecting the Atlantic convoys. He set down his memories of this time and his hair-raising adventures were published in the CTSI College of Fellows newsletter, where they created enormous interest amongst colleagues.

The accounts included flying in gales, rough seas and thick fog. He describes the dangers of landing and taking off from MAC ships which were converted oil tankers, and grain ships which had been modified by the removal of their superstructures and replaced by a metal flight deck. Not only was it difficult using a flight deck of just 425 feet long and 62 feet wide but that flight deck at times was also often moving up and down and side to side by some 20 feet. This was one of the most difficult and longest continuous areas of conflict in WW2.

War over, Bob married Amy in 1944 and returned to the Crewe Office, qualifying as an Inspector in 1947. From there to Warrington and then onto the dramatically different environment of Penzance in Cornwall where for 16 years he was Chief Inspector – to many of his peers one of the most enviable jobs in the Country. Bob often joked that one of the most onerous tasks was to enforce the law in the Scilly Isles.

He remained in Cornwall for a further five years following the absorption of Penzance into the county. At the time of reorganisation in 1974 Bob moved to Grimsby as Deputy Chief and then to the Management Team of the new Humberside County Council at its inception.

Bob’s colleagues, several of whom were in attendance at his funeral in Hull on 21st November, remember him as a highly professional and dedicated officer with a national reputation, particularly in animal welfare matters.

He was a man of many talents, playing County Cricket for Cornwall, a musician, artist and poet.

We offer our sincere condolences to Bob’s remaining family.

Contribution from the Eulogy by Robert Wright VP, FCTSI – Chair CTSI College of Fellows

If anyone would an electronic copy of Bob’s wartime recollections please contact Chris Armstrong c@chrisarmstrong.ndonet.com


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