Mr John Shorter

By Joanna Hunt

Published on Friday, October 07, 2016 - 13:30


Mr John Shorter

Walter John Shorter obituary

A FORMER policeman who survived the sinking of the IW ferry, Portsdown, during the war by a stroke of luck, has died at 93.

Walter John Shorter, known as John, was born in Ryde and went to Oakfield school.

After leaving school, Mr Shorter began an apprenticeship with Wheeler and Son building firm, before joining the LDV, which later became known as the Home Guard.

At the age of 18, he joined the RAF and trained in Guildford, Weston Super Mare and Wales.

Returning to the Island from Wales on his first leave, Mr Shorter caught the early morning mail boat sailing of the ill-fated ferry, Portsdown.

The boat hit a mine and sank but Mr Shorter managed to survive the ordeal after falling asleep in the engine room in the first-class section, rather than using his third-class ticket with the servicemen and women below the decks. It meant he was able to get out quickly when the ferry began to sink.

Between 1941 and 1946, Mr Shorter was in the 8 Squadron and saw active service as an armourer in Aden, and Egypt as a gunnery officer.

His career was littered with medals and he received the Africa Star, the 1939-1946 Star, and the 1939-1945 Defende Medal and War Medal.

After the war, he joined the police in 1947 and served for 29 years in the Hampshire and IW area.

Mr Shorter married Eva May Pocock in 1947 at the IW Register Office and they were married for 59 years before he was widowed in 2006.

The couple had two children, Jane and Robert.

Mr Shorter leaves his daughter and son and his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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