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Established: 1947

Widows: 60+

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London Legacy

Trade & Investment Queensland Australia Centre Cnr Melbourne Place & Strand London WC2B 4LG England

Phone: +44 (0) 797 280 7399

Email: simon.kleinig@



News - London Legacy

VALE: Gordon Birdwood

February 2017

It is with particular sadness that London Legacy advises the passing of Lt Col Gordon Birdwood,who died suddenly at home on 15 January 2017.

Gordon Birdwood was a patron of London Legacy and a keen supporter of our charity work. He was a regular attendee at our Legacy Annual Reception and the Legacy Anzac Ball. At the 2015 Anzac Ball he spoke eloquently and in depth about his great uncle, Lt-General Sir William Birdwood, commander of the ANZACs at Gallipoli.

Gordon’s record of military and civic service is impressive: his distinguished military career spanned 24 years, and culminated in his command of the Household Cavalry Regiment in London.
He was a member of The Royal Household from 1997, and the Senior Gentleman Usher to Her Majesty The Queen. He served as Deputy Chairman of The Royal Humane Society, a Commander in the Order of St John and as a trustee of the Household Cavalry.

Gordon worked tirelessly for numerous charities. In the Gallipoli centenary year (2015) he served as Chairman of the G-100 committee of the Gallipoli Association, which successfully oversaw planning for the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign.
Gordon was a man of great personal charm, possessed of both a keen wit and an infectious sense of humour which endeared him to all. He will be sadly missed by all at London Legacy, and we offer our sincere condolences to Gordon's family.

He is survived by his wife, Bella and daughters Katie and Atalanta.

VALE: London Legacy mourns the passing of former Hon. Secretary Liz O'Brien

March 2016

It is with deep sadness that we advise the passing of former Hon. Secretary Liz O'Brien. Mrs O'Brien's passing, on Monday, 28 March 2016, marks the end of an era which dates back to the very establishment of the club in 1947.

Mrs O'Brien made a significant contribution to London Legacy over many years. She served as Hon. Secretary to a succession of Presidents, including Noel O'Brien, Ed Bennett, Max Phillips and David Woodcraft. In later years Mrs O'Brien effectively handled the entire administration and running of the club until Lindsay Birrell joined London Legacy, and eventually became President in 2008, at which point Mrs O'Brien tendered her resignation.

Liz O'Brien was married to Dr Noel O'Brien, who was President of London Legacy for over 20 years. Noel O'Brien served on the first council of the club, established 69 years ago by brothers John and Frank Moss, whose father had served as Agent-General for Western Australia.

London Legacy offers its grateful thanks for Mrs O'Brien's long service and contribution, and extends its sincere and heartfelt condolences to Mrs O'Brien's family.

Rest in Peace.

VALE: London Legacy mourns the loss of Rev E.J. (Ed) Bennett.

October 2015

It is with deep sadness that we advise the passing of a former legatee and President of London Legacy, Rev Ed Bennett. Ed dedicated an exemplary 37 years of service to both Townsville Legacy (Qld) and London Legacy.

In later years Ed lived at the College of St Barnabas, a home for retired Anglican clergy set in the peaceful Surrey countryside, until he was discharged in May 2014 and admitted to Andover Nursing Home. Ed spent the last eight months of his life here and died peacefully on 6 January 2015 at the age of nearly 92.

London Legacy’s last contact with Ed was in April 2013, when legatees Cathlyn Davidson, John Crowe and Simon Kleinig visited the College of St Barnabas and presented Ed with a framed Past President’s Certificate in recognition of his long and valued service. Legatee Kleinig rang the College of St Barnabas periodically to enquire after Ed who suffered from deafness in recent years.

London Legacy extends its sincere condolences to members of Ed Bennett’s family.

A brief outline of Ed Bennett’s life appears below:
by Simon Kleinig

Ed Bennett was never one to refuse a challenge or shirk responsibility. In October 1944 Ed found himself behind a 50 calibre anti-aircraft gun on board a ship approaching the Philippines. Under relentless attack from Kamikazi (suicide) aircraft, Ed later explained the difficult situation in which he found himself: ‘The ship ahead of us and the ship following us were both hit and set on fire, but most Jap planes crashed into the sea.’

Edwin James Bennett was born in Bromley, Kent, on 22 February 1923. His father, having recently retired from the British Army, took his family to Australia as part of the new group settlement opening up virgin country in south-west Australia. Ed attended Perth Boys School and in 1938 read in a newspaper that a new army unit, the 9th Anti-Tank Regiment, was to be formed. ‘I put my age up by a year from seventeen to eighteen and volunteered for the new unit, which was a CMF (Territorial) unit.’

Ed rose through the ranks with remarkable speed. Within months he was promoted from Lance-Bombadier to Bombadier and finally Sergeant, all by the age of eighteen. Eventually, Ed’s unit was disbanded and sent to New South Wales to train as infantry reinforcements. Here, Ed was faced with an early choice that reveals the depth of his character.

‘Being a confirmed Sergeant I would be used to check on thieves who were robbing the ships carrying supplies from Brisbane to New Guinea. Instead, I decided to hand in my three stripes and join my boys as an infantier.’

Sailing from Australia on a convoy bound for the Philippines, Ed takes up the story: ‘We landed at Leyte Island but not before we had been attacked twice by two flights of Kamikaze pilots. I had a ringside seat because I told the American transport ship I had been an anti-aircraft gunner (not an anti-tank gunner)!’
The ship was armed with two 50 calibre anti-aircraft guns. Ed was kept busy feeding linked belts of ammunition to the gunner. All around them the battle raged as anti-aircraft fire lit the sky and Kamikaze planes exploded into ships or plunged into the sea.

After discharge and subsequent Paraochial Training, Ed was commissioned as a chaplain in the Australian army, serving between 1952 and 1959. Three years later he was recalled to active service and completed a tour of Vietnam in 1962. Ed’s role as chaplain was important to Australian servicemen in that controversial conflict.

Soldiers in the field, many of them conscripts, were struggling to come to terms with the nature of the conflict and their part in it. Ed conducted services and ministered to soldiers, visited the sick and wounded, and offered advice to soldiers wracked with personal problems far from home.
Not content to remain within the relative safety of base camp, Ed frequently was choppered out to men in the field. Armed with a small communion kit and stole, he offered pastoral care to soldiers in need. ‘I’d go up to a group of men and ask if anyone would like to join me in a service. Often I’d find a group of about six men and I’d just conduct the service wherever I could, sometimes from the back of a truck or even on an ammunition box’.

After Vietnam, Ed returned to Australia and filled various postings there and in Singapore before being offered a Crown Living by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. Arriving in London in 1974, Ed transferred from Townsville to London Legacy and continued his work as a legatee, looking after thirteen Australian war widows living in the UK. Ed also served for two years as President of London Legacy.

‘I remained an active legatee until with age and ill health I was made an honorary member in 2010.’ Ed’s thirty-seven years of service to Legacy is indicative of an exemplary life, frequently spiced with danger, but always lived to the full. Above all, Ed Bennett’s was a life devoted to his faith, self-sacrifice and tending to the needs of others.

VALE: London Legacy mourns the passing of Mrs Naomi Sinclair

February 2011

Mrs Naomi Sinclair died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Dorking on 21st February 2011. Mrs Sinclair’s husband Dick was killed in action flying off HMAS SYDNEY III in KOREA in 1953. She leaves her son Roger (14 weeks old when his father died) a grandson Felix.

At the Annual London Legacy Reception held at Australia House in 2010, His Excellency John Dauth LVO High Commissioner for Australia to the United Kingdom and Patron of London Legacy and Commodore Peter Lockwood Head of the Defence Staff, made a presentation to Roger Sinclair for his mother Naomi Sinclair, who was unable to attend the reception.

The letter and special Pin was prepared and sent by Captain Peter Leavy RAN Captain of HMAS SYDNEY IV. Naomi's late husband Richard (Dick) Sinclair served as a fighter Pilot on HMAS SYDNEY III during the Korean War in 1951. He was shot down in action, bailed out but hit his head on the wing of his Seafire and was killed instantly. His body was recovered and was buried at sea with full honours.

Naomi kept alive Dick's memory for 60 years, never remarried, and brought up her son Roger and grandson Felix. Roger was 14 weeks old when his father was killed. Naomi's written story given to Legatee President Lindsay Birrell some years ago can be accessed from the link below.

To read Naomi's Story click on the link:
Naomi's Story

London Legacy mourns the passing of Legatee Mel Quinn

February 2011

A lovely, moving service was held on Friday 4th February 2011 for the funeral of Legatee Mel Galvin Quinn who died on the 19th January 2011 aged 62 after a 2 year battle with a brain tumor.

Mel was not born when his Australian father Mel Quinn was killed during the Berlin Air Lift 62 years ago. After completing 6 successful missions his DC3 crashed in bad weather on his 7th mission. He was the only Australian airman killed in the entire action.

Margaret Quinn was a Legacy war widow for 60 years and her son Mel became a Legatee in order to help and other war widows who may have been in similar circumstances to his mother.

Mel is deelpy mourned by his wife of 40 years Pam and their wonderful children Joana, Ian & Caroline.

Rest in Peace.

President of London Legacy presents special memorial tribute to Roger Sinclair

June 2010

His Excellency Mr John Dauth LVO The High Commission for Australia to the UK & our Patron, Commodore Peter Lockwood head of the Defense Staff & Lindsay Birrell President London Legacy have presented a special memorial tribute to Roger Sinclair for his mother Naomi, whose husband Richard then aged 22, was killed while serving as a fighter pilot on HMAS SYDNEY III during the Korean War in 1951. Naomi was unable to attend due to illness.

The memorial tribute was arranged because Naomi never broke faith with the memory of her husband and was sent by Captain Peter Leavy RAN Captain of HMAS SYDNEY IV. Dick Sinclair served as a fighter Pilot on HMAS SYDNEY III during the Korean War in 1951. He was killed in action. He was buried at sea with full honors.

Naomi has kept faith with the memory of her husband for 59 years, never remarried, and brought up her son Roger, just 14 weeks old when his father was killed. The rest is history, Legacy then London Legacy have supported Naomi and her son all these years and still take a keen interest in her welfare.

You can read Naomi's story at: Naomi Sinclair's Story

Dr. Kathleen Lucy Browning

March 2010

London Legacy widow Dr. Kathleen Lucy Browning sadly passed away on Thursday 25th March 2010 at the age of eighty nine years.

The funeral service was held on Monday 12th April 2010 at the Memorial Chapel at the Oxford Crematorium and the reception was held at Wolfson College Oxford University. Dr. Browning was an Alumni of Wolfson College.

London Legacy Assistant Secretary Legatee John Crowe attended the Funeral on behalf of Legatee President Lindsay Birrell who was overseas.

A plaque is to be erected at the “Cenotaph Section” in the Remembrance Gardens of the Oxford Crematorium in memory of Robert John Browning and Kathleen Lucy Browning which London Legacy will support.

Donations can be made to London Legacy Queensland House 392 The Strand London, WC2R OLT or by email at

Dr. Browning has a living nephew Robert Browning based in Singapore who was able to visit her just one week before her death. Dr Browning was a great supporter of London Legacy, always keeping in touch with Legatee Secretary Liz O'Brien, who expressed great sorrow at the passing of such a dear friend and colleague.

Lieutenant Commander David William Woodcraft RAN C.Eng.,F.I.Mar.EST

November 2008

London Legacy is saddened to announce the passing of Lieutenant Commander David William Woodcraft RAN C.Eng.,F.I.Mar.EST on the 25th October 2008 aged 69 years.

David was a loving husband and father to a large family. He was born on the 17th of April 1939 in London, UK. He married Elaine Reddan on the 11th of February 1961 and leaves behind four daughters, one son, fourteen grandchildren He was deeply devoted to them, and during his long final illness they were always with him. Also were his Navy, London Legacy widows and colleagues, Royal British Legion, and service mates from the HMAS Sydney Association in Australia who kept in touch right down to his last hours.

David passed away just 3 weeks before the memorial service for HMAS SYDNEY II, a subject which was dear to his heart. The service is to be held at St Clement Danes church in London on 19th November to remember the 645 officers and sailors who perished.

From top left to right Legatee Fred Lewis, the late Noel O'Brien, Legatee, Hon Sec Liz O'Brien, Legatee President Lindsay Birrell RAN (also member HMAS SYDNEY ASSOCIATION) and the late David Woodcraft RAN (past member HMAS SYDNEY ASSOCIATION). From bottom left to right Legatee Frank Beeny RN, Legatee John Gwilt RAN (member HMAS SYDNEY ASSOCIATION) and Legatee Peter Gibby RAAF.
David followed our steps day by day in the planning and organizing of the London service and the HMAS Sydney Association, London Legacy and all his mates will be thinking of David and his family at this service at which Elaine, David Jr and daughters will attend.

A special Anthem will be sung by Helen Parker, with Peter Long on the organ in memory of David and all sailors who have served their Country with pride including those officers and sailors from HMAS Sydney II and HSK Kormoran.

Davids distinguished career qualifications include:


Certificate First Class Engineer of Steamship and Motorship, Chartered Engineer, Fellow Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology.

Service Record

1955 – 1957

Home Guard

1955 – 1964

Merchant Navy 1955-64 - all ranks from Engineer Cadet to Second Engineering Officer. 1960 served in HMT Dunera. RNR Sub Lt (E) 1961-64, 1962 HMS Victory, Excellent & Llandaff.

1964 – 1974

Royal Australian Navy

Transferred to the Royal Australian Navy as Engineer Lt Supplementary List.

Served in HMAS Sydney III 1964-66 during confrontation with Indonesia and Vietnam War.

1966-69 HMAS Cerberus as Depot Maintenance Engineer and MTO then Divisional Officer- Senior Engineer of Marine Engineering School.

1969-71 Senior Engineer HMAS Stalwart, promoted to Lt Cdr and transferred to General List.

1971-72 MEO & electrical Officer HMAS Moresby.

1972-74 HMAS Moreton as BEO & command Technical Officer Queensland.

1974 – 1999

Transferred to RAN Emergency List/Reserve List.

1974 MN Chief Engineer Officer of chemical tanker MV Stainless Warrior.

1974 Joined Lloyd’s Register of Shipping as Engineer Surveyor, with service in London Outdoor, Nigeria, Abu Dhabi, Lowestoff, Tilbury and London HQ, RETIRED 1999 as Senior Ship & Engineer Surveyor in charge of Machinery Defects Database.


Transferred from Reserve List to Retired List RAN.


Royal Naval Association, Basildon 1997-2002, Treasurer & Standard Bearer.

London Legacy Treasurer 1999-74, President 2005-2007.

Royal British Legion Basildon Branch 1999, Treasurer, Welfare Caseworker, standard-bearer.

RBL Essex County 2002, Treasurer, Independent Examiner, County Instructor.

UK representative HMAS Sydney & Vietnam Logistic Support Veterans Association (Vic) Inc.
Collector for King George Fund for Sailors.


Legatee, London Legacy (www.londonlegacy.com)

Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia

Vietnam Veterans of America

HMAS Sydney & VLSLA (Vic) Inc.

Royal British Legion

Fellowship of the Services

Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology

Life Member 4th Battalion The Essex Regiment Comrades Association

Association of Royal Navy Officers

National Trust


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