Tributes paid to 'selfless' Royal Navy sailor from Gosport who died suddenly

HEARTBROKEN shipmates of a ‘selfless’ and beloved sailor who died suddenly have paid tribute to their fallen comrade.

By Tom Cotterill
Saturday, 24th July 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Saturday, 24th July 2021, 8:59 pm
Leading Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering) Robert ‘Scarlet’ Johansen died suddenly while at home with his family in Gosport.

Leading Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering) Robert ‘Scarlet’ Johansen died suddenly while at home with his family in Gosport.

The dad-of-four was the power generation section head for Crew 4 of the Second Mine Countermeasures Squadron, based at Portsmouth Naval Base and served in HMS Ledbury.

The 35-year-old’s sudden death has rocked the entire ship’s company.

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HMS Ledbury pictured returning to Portsmouth Naval Base on Friday, September 11, after three years in the Gulf on operation Kipion. Picture: Sarah Standing (110920-3813)

Lieutenant Commander Samuel Stephens, HMS Ledbury’s commanding officer, said: ‘LET Johansen was a huge and lovable character with a can-do attitude and a gift for bringing people together and lifting morale, I am truly privileged to have been able to call myself his commanding officer.

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‘Utterly selfless, LET Johansen always put the needs of others before himself. An exemplary role-model, mentor, and big brother to many of the junior sailors onboard, and devoted husband and father of four.

‘My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and beloved children at this difficult time.’

Robert joined the Royal Navy on April 14, 2013 when he entered basic training at HMS Raleigh.

After passing out as a marine engineer, he attended HMS Sultan in Gosport for his next phase of professional training - responsible for the maintenance of power generation onboard warships.

After completing his training, he served in a series of Type 23 frigates based in Devonport, deploying to the Middle East with HMS Portland.

Here he quickly became known, not only as a talented engineer, but as a selfless shipmate, always prepared to listen and offer a word of encouragement.

An active member of the Fijian community, he was always the first to volunteer for anything and had a way of bringing people together.

A talented sportsman, he loved rugby and played for many of his ships and the Royal Navy’s Sharks and Stingrays 7s teams.

Also serving in HMS Northumberland and HMS Westminster, he deployed to the Middle East, Africa, the US and Europe remarking: ‘I’ve been to some great places and I’ve made some great friends.’

On promotion to Leading Seaman in July 2019, Robert was appointed to Crew 4 of the Second Mine Countermeasures Squadron.

As Leading Hand of the Junior Rates’ Mess, he was a mentor and big brother to many of the younger sailors onboard.

WO1 Howard ‘H’ Caulton, divisional officer and HMS Ledbury’s marine engineering officer said the sailor was a huge character on the ship.

‘He quickly established himself as one of the key members of the department, always cheerful, always ready to go the extra mile, always dependable,’ WO Caulton said.

‘Scarlet, as he was known by the crew, was a popular and well-liked member of the ship’s company, he was a big brother to many of the junior sailors and always had time for people.

‘His positive approach to everything he did was an inspiration. He was a man who loved life and loved his family. Scarlet was a big man with a big personality he will be deeply missed.’

Chief Petty Officer Michael Stone, added Robert was loved by all of the crew for his ‘calm and collected manner’ and described him as a ‘gentle giant who was as strong as an ox’.

A crowdfunding campaign launched by friends has since raised £3,640 to support Robert’s family. To support it, see

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