Tony Snelling (1923-2024) Memorial Page

Tony Snelling at 'Art at the Front' exhibition in London, 2016

Tony Snelling at ‘Art at the Front’ exhibition in London, 2016

The year of 2024 marked the departure of one of the special members of our community – Cornelius Anthony Ryder Snelling, known affectionately as Tony Snelling, who celebrated his 100th birthday on 1st April 2023.

Katya Parker and I first encountered Tony on 9th of May 2015, at the Soviet Soldiers Memorial next to the Imperial War Museum in London. He was there with a group of the Second World War veterans-members of the Kennington Russian Arctic Convoys Club, chaired by Jimmy and Dianne Pitts at the time.

Later that year, Tony and his veteran-friends came to visit CamRuSS in Cambridge to share memories from their wartime experiences. The Evening of History and Memories with British Arctic Convoy Veterans took place in Churchill College. Tony stood out with his kind and gentle manners, soft voice and shining sense of humour. Those of us who were fortunate to experience his compassionate presence in our meetings, will have undoubtedly been touched by his optimism and zest for life, which he managed to preserve until his last days.

Tony suffered a serious heart condition and had to go through a series of surgeries, but one wouldn’t expect to hear a word of complaint from him; rather expressions of gratefulness for his eventful life, admiration for the world and people surrounding him. He was deeply loved and cared by his family: daughter Susan, son Peter, as well as 5 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. We are grateful for the opportunity to share Tony’s eulogy by Mark Holmes, Tony’s Son-in-Law and Susan’s husband, which allows to better understand the outstanding character and fascinating story of Tony’s life. There is also a copy of a captivating interview by Robert Veitch taken in November 2020 for Sussex Living Magazine, where Tony reflects on his service in the British Navy during the years of the Second World War.

Having seen and lived through so much – which for most of us is impossible to imagine – Tony’s unwavering optimism is an inspiration to us all. He is one of those unforgettable people that you look up to and feel inspired by their example. Tony’s legacy and our fond memories of his encounters make an important part of our community’s memorial archive.

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