Tributes have been paid to a heroic ship captain who saved the lives of those trapped in a hurricane in the Caribbean after his sudden death at the age of 49.
Rob Anders came to the Bahamas rescue as captain of the Royal Fleet Mounts Bay auxiliary ship in September 2019 on a hurricane relief mission.
The area was hit by the Category Five storm that ravaged homes with winds of up to 185 mph and left residents homeless and without supplies.
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The man from Warrington requisitioned his ship in the area and saved the life of an elderly woman as she remained trapped under the rubble for four days.
The Navy man, from Longford, used a Google Maps reference sent by her desperate husband who helped rescue her, using a Wildcat helicopter, and also rescued an American woman and her three children, including a seven week old baby with sepsis.
The 49-year-old, who received an OBE for his efforts, died last December, three days before Christmas, the same day he was due to have surgery after being diagnosed with a brain tumor a few weeks earlier .
Late last month, family, friends and former colleagues of former high school student William Beamont boarded Mounts Bay to say goodbye to him and scatter his ashes overboard.
A service was held for the former Commander in the presence of his widow Phillipa and the couple’s children, Nell and Will, as well as the Chief of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Commodore David Eagles.
He said: “I am honored to welcome Phillipa, Nell and Will aboard RFA Mounts Bay, a vessel Rob has commissioned with such distinction.
“She is the most appropriate backdrop for all of us to remember him and from which to confide his ashes.
“I am especially pleased to be joined by Rob’s extended family and friends as well as Admiral Connell in this act of remembrance.”
During the Bahamas rescue effort, more than 6,000 people were assisted by the ship’s crew in some of the worst affected areas of Great Abaco Island and the surrounding region – one of the worst natural disasters in the region within living memory.
Mr Anders was well known as a huge Warrington Wolves fan and a Wire flag was hoisted over the ship during the ceremony.
His widow said: “The events aboard the Mount Bay have left us with lasting memories and my children and I are so touched that today has been made possible.
“A truly wonderful tribute to a husband and father who we miss dearly.”
After the disaster, Mr Anders, who also served in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the South Atlantic, said: “The whole ship was united in a common goal of helping people ashore and let them know the community cared.
“The ship’s company has delivered something called Hope. It was something that was visible in the people on the ground, who went from shock and loss to the belief that they could rebuild. “
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