Tributes to popular ‘seadog’

Eldon Harris
Eldon Harris
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TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular ‘seadog’ who died in Eastbourne earlier this month.

Eldon Harris, who served in the Second World War and the Gulf and Falklands conflicts, was 84 and died after a fall at his home in Longford Court, Bathford Close, on Saturday, February 12.

Mr Harris was one of four brothers brought up in Eastbourne who all excelled during their military careers.

Eldon’s three brothers were Edwin, a soldier, prisoner of war and musician, who is still alive and living in Yorkshire; Raymond, a Lancaster bomber pilot, and Jack, a Royal Marine who later became a teacher at Eastbourne College of Further Education.

Eldon joined the Royal Navy after a spell at a nautical training college and saw active service at the end of the Second World War on the Russian convoys.

On demob, he joined the Merchant Navy and served as an able seaman, quartermaster and boatswain on a variety of ships including long spells on cruise ships with P&O.

In the 1960s he met his future wife Janet, who at the time was a student at Eastbourne Domestic Science College, known as Rannie’s, but her father, the chairman of the London Brick Company, made his daughter a ward of court and Eldon was sent to Brixton Prison amidst a wealth of press coverage.

The couple married and lived in the Ratton/Willingdon area and had two children Nigel and Annette but later divorced.

Eldon returned to sea mainly on tankers and then in the Falklands and Kuwait expeditions for which he received medals.

After he retired Eldon was often seen in local hostelries and his final watering hole was the Terminus in Terminus Road.

Friend Douglas Vernon said Eldon could often be seen entertaining friends and passers-by with his tales of life in various ports.

“As the light heavyweight champion of the home fleet, he was always a force to be reckoned with whenever fisticuffs were to be seen,” said Douglas.

“He was a real character and his death effectively brings an end to an extraordinary quartet of brothers, each of them notable figures in Eastbourne social life.

“All were central figures in the life at the old Sussex Hotel whenever they were in Eastbourne and a whole scene developed around them over a number of years.”

Eldon’s daughter, Annette, who he was immensely proud of, is organising his funeral and says she is looking forward to meeting some of her father’s old acquaintances at his funeral at Eastbourne Crematorium on Thursday, March 3, at noon.