Laurie Cobin – Obituary

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Laurie Corbin, MVS Vice President and Regional Engineering Officer (SW), who died on 2nd February after a short illness. 

Laurie was one of the founding members of the MVS and was well known across the service for his dedication, depth of  knowledge, straight talking and of course, for his long association with Appleby going back years before the MVS was formed. 

Laurie was part of the initial crew including Les Quilty, who sailed with her from Portsmouth Dockyard to her new MVS berth on 24th March 1999 – in fact he was previously been in charge of her original conversion from an RMAS Trials Tender into her former second life as a SCC Training Ship, having been Commanding Officer of Exmouth Unit in 1985 and employed by the Sea Cadets as Executive Officer (Engineering) T.S. Appleby .

Throughout his years of service, he held a close affinity with Appleby and was one of a small band of MVS engineers with extensive knowledge of  both her systems and history.   

Very few knew the extent of Laurie’s long service dating back initially with the RAF, moving on to the Royal Naval Mine Watching Service (RNWS) and in turn the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service (RNXS) first as a seaman then transferring to the engineering branch in 1984. In 1994 the year the RNXS was disbanded following defence cuts, Laurie was presented with a clasp for twenty four years service by HRH Prince Michael of Kent. From 2008 to fairly recently, he had been a volunteer with the RNLI visiting schools as an education volunteer speaker.

During 2012, Laurie was part of the support crew at Weymouth on East Sussex 1 during the Olympics and also attended the 2012 AGM at Poole. Since then Laurie was presented with the MVS Long Service Medal together with the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal.

During his extensive service with the MVS, Laurie served in number of positions; including Head of Unit Bristol which he started. He went on to acquire a part derelict cottage from the Bristol Harbour Authority which was subsequently refurbished as the unit HQ. On moving to Devon, along with Norman Brown he formed the South Devon Unit, where he became the DHoU, later moving on to RVO (SW) / Trustee, REO (SW) and a member of the Craft Technical Committee. Until as recently as November 2012 he was still enthusiastically involved with MVS Curlew (South West Regional Craft) contributing  practical refit support to MVS Curlew, travelling down to the Plymouth Unit and out to her mooring on the Tamar River. He will be sadly missed by us all, and in particular by the South West Region which has greatly benefited from his wisdom and tireless work.

His funeral is to be held at 1445hrs  on the 18th February at Torbay Crematorium.


Below are the tributes paid by those of had the honour of meeting and service with Laurie.

Laurie was a good a man and highly respected and valued member of the MVS and will be sorely missed.
Lt-Cdr Richard Upton RD RNR (Rtd), Deputy Chairman of Council

Laurie was a stalwart of MVS over the years and RNXS before then. He was Vice President of Council and I will miss his phone calls and valuable advice on Council issues based on his many years of experience.
Richard Dale, National Secretary

Laurie will be missed as he was an active MVS member still hopping on an off boats when he could. Although the inevitable was expected it is still nevertheless a sad passing.
Les Miller, National Treasurer

Very sad news and loss to the service, and an even bigger loss to those who knew the great man. If anyone would like to add more then please do and I’ll put something together. Laurie Cobin – what a guy! Sadly missed.
Glenn Bramble-Stewart, National Communications Manager

He was a great man and will be greatly missed both in the service and outside of it. During my time incumbent as the Fleet Manager, Laurie has been of a great support and source of expertise on marine engineering matters, especially with regards to Appleby.  A vessel which he knew well as he was in charge of her originally conversion from a RMAS Trials Tender into her her second life as a SCC Training Ship and later took a more than fatherly eye during her third life as the Service’s own National Training Craft. Over the years Laurie served in many capacities within the Service; HoU, RVO, Regional Engineer Officer, Area Engineering Officer and on the Craft and Technical Committee, to name a few. He will be sadly missed by all those who knew him and for all those trained by him over the years . 
God Rest and God Speed.

David Lockwood, National Fleet Manager

Laurie Corbin was my Head of Unit when I first joined the Bristol Unit of the MVS in 2000, he was a great guy to work with and sail with. He was always prepared to give his time and energy to the betterment of the Service and the many people he trained and assisted always speak of Laurie with great respect. He will be sadly missed by us all.
David J E Frazier, RVO Bristol Channel

Laurie’s wisdom, enthusiasm and experience will be much missed.
Liz Glare, National Training Manager

Laurie will be sadly missed in the MVS. His commitment and support of the service was second to none and the effort he put in was exceptional right up to the very end.
David Hankins, former Chairman of Counci

Very sad news and a loss to the MVS. Laurie was an inspiration within the service, knowledgeable and well respected.
David Dobson, National Resilience Manager

All at Humber Unit express the sincere condolences to Laurie’s family. He could always be relied upon for a forthright manner and eminent sense. What a loss.
Nicholas Spencer, HoU Humber