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Welcome To The HMS Highflyer Association Homepage

The “HMS Highflyer Association” was launched informally in 1997 to reconnect friends who had served in Ceylon West Radio Stations. The association is automatically open to the personnel and families of all those who served in HMS Highflyer and its associated tenders, between 1943 and its final closure and handover to the Sri Lankan Navy in 1962.

Currently we have a membership of just under 100 which includes members living in Australia, Canada, the Channel Islands as well as in the United Kingdom.

The membership has now been opened up by invitation to those friends of our original members who support the association and enjoy our extremely successful reunions.

“The Highflyer”, our association magazine, is published quarterly and keeps us up to date with current and future events as well as reminding us of our past.

Each year we have a reunion weekend at different sites around the country. At the same time we hold our AGM. The reunions are eagerly looked forward to by all our members. Well, they just keep getting better every year!

Details of the reunions, both past, present and planned can be found on our news pages.

We are always looking for old friends and new members so why not get in touch? Call 023 92593542 or write to The Chairman, HMS Highflyer Association, 35 Mundays Row, Waterlooville, Hanpshire PO8 OHF, UK.

45 Responses to Home Page

  1. Alick Lavers says:

    My uncle was a HO Shipwright and served in HMS HIGHLYER from about ’43 to the end of the war. His name was Sidney Lavers. If anyone’s father remembers him, can you please let me know?

  2. Helen Appleton says:

    I am looking for any information on my brother William Young ( Billy ) He lowered the white ensign in Trinocamalee in 1957 In the only short clipping I have it says he was with HMS Highflyer at the time. I would love to have a photograph of this. Although it was a long time I’m hoping someone out there remembers something. Billy was 15 years older than me but I remember his stories well. He brought a friend home on leave once his name was Roy Feasey I’m not sure I got the spelling right. I live in hope that someone out there can help me best wishes Helen .

    • BOB RUSHTON says:


  3. Su Barton says:

    My dad, Alan Johnson was based in Trincolmalee and Colombo between 1948 and 1951. I have a super photo of him as the goalie for the winning team. The shield states “HMS Highflyer, winners of the East Indies fleet soccor knockout competition 1951 Italian cup”. Dad passed away 14 years but I hope there maybe someone out there who served with him and can share their memories of this exciting time.

  4. Richard Ashton says:

    I wonder if anyone remembers Wren Gladys Bishop my mother in law who served at highflyer 1943-46 (we think) and remembers the floating dock sinking with HMS Valiant in it.
    We have been in contact with ‘highflyer’ and hope to reconnect with them. I hope that the family will donate various records and signals regarding the sinking and the end of the war. Mrs G Parrick nee Bishop (Bish) is now 92 and frail, and living in Colchester.

  5. Jane Trinder says:

    My father, Herbert Hughes, was at HMS Highflyer from May ’46 – Sept. ’46 and then Nov. ’46 – Mar. ’47. He died in 2008 and never really talked about his time in the navy. I’m finally going through all his papers and have come across his navy records – didn’t know that HMS Highflyer was a shore establishment! Can anyone tell me more about this establishment?

    • hmshighflyer says:

      A reply is already on its way to you Jane. Thank you for your question.

    • Jimmy Hassam says:

      HMS Highflyer was indeed a British Naval Radio station based in Welisara, it was the receiving Wireless Radio station near Negombo, Colombo. The Commanding Officer was Lt Commander High. The transmitting station was based at Kotugoda and run by Lt Commander George Pamplin. I was one of the Mauritian Admiralty civilian radio operator sent with 11 others to relieve the naval radio operators prior to the closing down of the station in Ceylon and open the new British Admiralty radio station in Mauritius, hence HMS MAURITIUS. Best wishes Jim

      • hmshighflyer says:

        Thanks for the telephone call Jimmy. Now Hghflyer’s who were there in’62, especially those who transferred to Mauritius. Does anyone remember Jimmy?

        • Tony Greatrex says:

          Certainly remember the Mauritian operators and felt sorry for them because for some silly reason they were not allowed in the NAAFI.The C.O. was in fact Lt.Cdr.Lee Grey and to my recollection Kotugoda had a CREA in charge. Happy Days!

  6. frank wardle says:

    My father was serving there at Highflyer 1952-1953 He was a radio Operator.
    He took his family there , I wondered if anyone knew him and had any photos.
    His first name was Chris

  7. Peter Stone says:

    Hi. My father’s war record shows him at HMS Highflyer from 1 Feb ’44 to 31 Dec ’44. He was a stoker. He never talked about his service experience and I am wondering what he would have been doing there at that time. Any insights appreciated.

  8. Arlene Warwick says:

    Hi, My father James McCrossan was there in the early 50’s, my mum went out on HMS Windrush and I was born there in 1954. My mum often talks of her time there and thinks often of the people she met there, anybody there from around that time ?

  9. gerald esmond says:

    Hello, I am looking to find a decent picture of the HMS Highflyer crest , I am trying to put together something for my father in law who served there in 1957
    I have a list of ships and bases that I am trying to gain the crests of , any help would be fantastic

  10. David Hughes says:

    I believe my uncle was an RNVR officer at HMS Highflyer Ceylon sometime during the war. His name was Lt Richard Hughes from Anglesey, N.Wales. He was a merchant captain before the war and was captain of the Scindia Steamship companies ship the Jalapadma in 1951/52. He was drowned in a ship transfer on the 26th January 1952 in Cochin and is buried there. Does anyone have any information about his service

    • hmshighflyer says:

      Thank you David. I can only suggest the MOD Records Department or the National Archive. Meanwhile I will contact my oldest member to see if he remembers anything of that time. Thank you for your enquiry and I will keep in touch. John, The Chairman.

  11. FernNZ says:

    My g/g/grandfather Robert McCoomb (McComb) serve in the Royal Marines at Plymouth 1854 (19 years): discharged 1877 as Length of service.Plymouth, Company No.35.. A gunner in the 1st Brigade of Royal Artillery. Served in the Crimea in 1855. He possessed Sebastopol & Crimean Medals.Awarded Clasps for,China wars, Canton 1857 & Taku Forts 1860….Served on the ship,”Agincourt”.. Emigrated to New South Wales, Australia on the Clipper, `High Flyer,` 16 March 1864, Departure Tiverton Devon England, listed as Soldier, Royal Artillery, with wife Jane and daughter,Mary Ann and son Thomas.
    While in Australia 1859 till 1913, Royal Naval Vessels on station in Australia. He was listed as Drill Instructor for the Artillery.
    I’d be interested in any information on”High Flyer” while she was in Australian waters at the time.

  12. Stephen Mather says:

    My father Richard Mather served in the Royal Navy as a leading writer during World War Two. His service record indicates that he served on HMS Lanka, then HMS Highflyer between September 1944 and November 1945. He then seems to have returned to the UK on HMS Emperor late 1945.
    I know that HMS Emperor was deployed at Singapore on 10th September 1945, and that it returned to the UK via Columbo and Bombay. This matches my father’s records.
    Among my father’s collection of war memories are several photos of the Japanese surrender on 12th September 1945. They look like they were taken from the crowd that lined the streets of Singapore as Lord Mountbatten lead the procession of allied officers and Japanese generals. I had seen the photos many years ago and had assumed my father had taken them himself. However his service records suggest he was not there. Are there any records to indicate that any people were deployed from Sri Lanka to Singapore for just a few days, perhaps to support the administration of the surrender?
    Sadly my father died in 1998. He never said very much about his time in the Royal Navy. I have only now begun to research my family history. I have found out my father was based for the most part in stone frigates; this matches the few things he did say to me. However this bit of his service record is a mystery.
    Hope there is someone who can shed some light on this question. Thank you.

  13. Phill Rose says:

    I saw a post on the World Naval Ships forum asking for pictures connected with naval bases in Ceylon.
    My father was there after he was evacuated from Singapore, and returned again after going back to the UK.
    If you e-mail me on the address given, I will forward the pictures I have to you in the hope they will be of interest.


  14. Peter Burke says:

    My Mother Muriel GALBRAITH P.O. Wren served on HMS Highflyer from 16 June 1943 to 26 January 1945. I would love to hear from anyone who may know of her.

  15. Kelly Wood says:

    My Dad was stationed at the RN radio station in Wellisara around 60 years ago.
    I am going to Sri Lanka very shortly and would love to visit Welisara and send my Dad some pictures.
    Does anybody know if there are any buildings still in existence?

  16. MichaelDark says:

    I have a couple of photographs which my Dad sent my Mum during the latter part of the War, one is dated Trinco 9/1/45 (Trincomolee?) and the other just says ‘we are called the round-the benders, Hawkins Hut’.
    Is there any way I can get these pictures on to this site. I also have my dads record of his service during the war so can advise what ships he was a member of. Sadly he died in 1980 and, like many people here, he did not really talk about what he did during the war so there are many blanks.

    Mick Dark

    • liverbird50 says:

      Hi Mick,
      My dad was Gilbert Carr, he, like your dad, sent photos to my mum from Colombo and Trincomolee. He was there in 1945 to November 1946, attached to “Highflyer”. He was a coder, and aged just 18 when he joined the RN in 1944. In Trinco and Colombo his mates, whom he named on the back of several photos, were “Tosh”, “Taff”, Pat and Keith.

  17. Richard Newell says:

    My late father, Marine Roland Albert Newell (known universally as “Ron” d.07/01/1967) talked about the ships he served in during WW II, and particularly those in the campaign against Japan. One of the ships he mentioned was HMS Highflyer. Can any of your members put some info my way as to his service then?
    Many thanks
    Richard Newell

  18. liverbird50 says:

    My dad, Gilbert Carr, was a RN coder. I have his original papers. He was on aircraft carrier Trouncer August to October 1945 then Highflyer, based in Colombo and Trincomalee until November 1946. I have lots of black and white photos he sent to my mum. He mentions his mates “Tosh”, Pat and Keith and Taff. He died 8 years ago, but spoke often about his time out in Trinco. He also mentioned rowing out from his ship to pick up survivors on a passenger ship on fire? Wish I had asked more questions when he was here. Anyone who knew him or was in Trinco back then would be good to hear.

  19. David Redfern says:

    My father William Redfern was stationed at HMS Highflyer from Sept 47 until Feb 50. In which time he meet and married my mother a Nurse returning from Australia.
    I have been trying to locate copy of marriage certificate or further info.
    In have tried Navy Seach, General Records office, Sri Lanka high commission, passport office, all to no avail
    Any ideas where I could find more information would be gratefully received

  20. John Taylor says:

    Has anyone heard anything from John Bilby?

  21. kevin smith says:

    My father was based for 4 years at the Naval Radio station in the middle fifties as a PO Telegraphist I am sure my mum has quite a few photos of his time there.
    His name was Bert Smith obviously known as Smuts or Smudge. A well known RN boxer.

  22. Lois Cains says:

    My father, Don Head served at Highflyer from July 1961 to March 1962 just as it was closing and then he went to Mauritius leaving there at the end of May 62. His service record gives his rating as L.R.O and then A/R.S. Does anybody remember serving with him as he told me some “interesting” stories of his time there. Sadly he passed away in 2011 and I am going to Sri Lanka next year to see for myself the place he called paradise.
    Many thanks
    Lois Cains (nee Head)

    • hmshighflyer says:

      I suspect that some of you who were transferred to Mauritius may well have known Don. Please let me know and I’ll put you in touch with Lois.

  23. Peter Graysmark says:

    I was stationed at Highflyer from December 1960 to closure in Spring 1962 and remember the Mauritian operators not being allowed in the NAFFI. And remember Tony Treaters. I wonder if he remembers me ?

  24. Hello,
    I am a daughter of Reg Tunnicliff who was in charge at Ceylon West Transmitting Station, Kotugoda from 1956 to 1959. We were there as a family, based on the Kotugoda camp in the only family accommodation there, a lovely bungalow. I was there with my father Reg, my mother Mamie, sister Sue and brother John. It was a wonderful life experience for a child below 10. I was 6 to 9 while there. We went to school at Welisera.
    I wonder if there is anyone out there who remembers us? Though my Dad (sadly deceased) would now be 98 and Mamie 91 so it seems rather unlikely.

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