Skip navigation
For ex-cadets, students & staff of Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering, founded 1935 as The School of Navigation, and the Warsash Superyacht Academy

Obituary - Captain Roy Kilby-Leonard (1939)

The picture of Roy shown on the right was taken at the age of 90. He was born in Kensington, London on 8.11.1921 to an English mother and a Belgian father who worked for the Belgian Government in Africa. When Roy was just a few months old the family moved to South Africa where they spent a happy 8 years, apart from the fact that Roy caught malaria. Back in England, the family settled in Blackheath, London.

After completing his local schooling Roy enrolled as the 7th Cadet at the then newly established Dept. of Navigation at the University of Southampton which was then housed at South Hill. He left South Hill in May 1939 and signed indentures with Elder Dempster Line. He began his first voyage as a Midshipman on the 17th May on board the M V Wilberforce, bound for West and South Africa, Ceylon, India and Burma. On the homeward leg, World War 2 broke out and owing to those conditions his indentures were reduced by one year and eventually his 2nd Mates Certificate was marked as temporary until he had in fact completed his indentures. Roy remained with Elder Dempster until 1944 having gained his 2nd Mates ticket in 1942.
He then transferred to Royal Mail Lines obtaining his 1st Mates ticket in 1945 and sailing mainly on MV Drince and MV Pardo. He met and married Beryl in Liverpool in 1947and they had three daughters, Maureen, Beth and Anna. Roy then decided to leave deep sea for home trade.

He joined the British and Continental SS Co. in 1948 serving on various vessels and in 1950, obtained his Masters Certificate. By 1954 the Company were selling off 90% of its fleet and chartering in smaller vessels. He then joined Helmsley Bell Ltd of Southampton where he remained until 1970 having been promoted to Master in 1958 and served always on the one ship, 'Helmsley 1' which was on a long term charter to Shell Mex and B.P. later to Shell on their Coastal and Bunkering Fleet. In 1970 Shell disbanded their bunkering fleet and Helmsley Bell Ltd were liquidated.

As he had been in the bunkering and coastal trade for nearly 20 years Roy had no problem retaining his own vessels with the various companies who took over the charter for Shell, namely John Harker, Beagle Shipping Co., Bowker King and Whitakers. He retired in 1983 and since then enjoyed several voluntary jobs including Hon. Membership Secretary of the friends of the Merseyside Maritime Museum and organising the Warsash Association Liverpool Group Meetings. Roy sadly crossed the bar on 22nd July 2012.
Return to In Memoriam