Friends and family pay tribute to tragic Sea Cadet
SCORES of friends and family members gathered to pay tribute at the funeral of Sea Cadet Jonathan Martin who died in a sailing accident.
Ashford Sea Cadet Jonathan, 14, of Shadoxhurst, suffered fatal chest injuries after falling between 20 and 30 feet into the sea from the rigging of the training ship TS Royalist near Portsmouth on May 2.
Fellow Cadets and leaders from TS Churchill marched behind the funeral cortege from their base at the Ashford TA Centre in Chart Road to the St Mary the Virgin Church in the town centre for the funeral service last Thursday.
There were more than 100 people in the congregation, which included pupils from Cranbrook School, where Jonathan had been a boarder since September last year.
The former Friars Prep School pupil was remembered in prayers at Rochester Cathedral at a service to mark the 150th anniversary of the Sea Cadet movement and VE day on Saturday, May 8.
Speaking at the funeral, Captain of the Sea Cadet Corps Mark Windsor, a serving Royal Navy captain, said: “Last week aboard TS Royalist we, the Sea Cadets, lost a member of our Sea Cadet family.
“We all join Jonny’s family in the celebration of his life and to say farewell to a much loved son. We will remember him.”
The Cadets’ chaplain, the Rev Colin Preece, read out a eulogy written by members of Jonathan’s boarding house School Lodge.
They described him as a thoughtful and fun-loving friend who was there if they needed someone to talk to, a typical teenager who liked climbing trees and making people laugh.
His friends said: “He was so full of life, sometimes a bit too full.
“The fact that he was here just yesterday but is gone now seems so unfair.
“We really miss you Jonny and hope you have gone to the best place. It really was an honour and a privilege to have known you.”
Rev Preece said: “Jonny came across to me through these tributes as a typical boy with some special attributes.”
“He liked fishing and was fairly musical. He learned to play the piano and, more recently, the guitar.
“He liked science and was fascinated by physics. His dad described him as a little inventor.”
Jonathan had been in the Sea Cadets for two years and had achieved his sailing and canoeing qualifications. The accident happened while he was on a weeklong training exercise with 19 other Cadets in Hampshire.
An inquest was opened by the coroner in Portsmouth but was adjourned for a date to be fixed later in the year. The Sea Cadet Corps are working with the Department for Transport’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch to find out the cause of the tragedy.
His family said he was a wonderful son and grandson who died tragically while doing something that he loved.
Rev Preece said: “He probably loved the sailing aspect of the Sea Cadets most of all. He was fun-loving, adventurous, brave, someone others could talk to, mischievous and got into trouble some times.
Sense of humour
“He liked to make others happy and lived for the moment. He had a wicked sense of humour and liked to make people laugh. He was a stickler for doing things properly.”
“It’s tragic that a life so full of promise has been lost. We will never know what Jonathan would have achieved in the rest of his life but he probably would have succeeded in whatever he did.
“I hope he has inspired us to live our lives to the full and not just for ourselves but for him.”
Poignantly, the service came to an end with the hymn Eternal Father, Strong to Save, which is traditionally sung at naval funerals, before Last Post was sounded.
Donations collected have gone to Ashford Sea Cadets and the money raised may be used to install a bench in Jonathan’s memory.
Standard-bearers leading the funeral procession
Jonathan Martin, who fell to his death