Family of Royal Navy chief petty officer Keith Ross who died in M275 crash pay tribute to the 'amazing, devoted and incredibly loving husband and father of five'

AMAZING, devoted and incredibly loving.

Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 3:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd July 2020, 9:58 am

Those are the words the family of Keith Ross, known as Paddy by friends, used to describe the 40-year-old, who died in a crash on the M275 on Wednesday (July 15) when his car hit a barrier on the M275 before careering off the flyover carriageway onto the road below.

The Royal Navy chief petty officer, originally from County Down in Northern Ireland, leaves behind his wife Sarah and their five children, aged between 12 and two.

A family statement read: ‘Our Sailor Keith was an amazing, devoted and incredibly loving husband and father of five beautiful children.

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Family pay tribute to chief petty officer Keith Ross from Lee-on-the-Solent, who died in a crash on the M275 on Wednesday (July 15)

‘He was also an immensely loved and proud son, brother, son-in-law, uncle and brother in-law to so many.

‘We are incredibly proud of him reaching Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy and he had huge aspirations for our family’s future.

‘The love he had for me, Sarah, his wife, and our children was beyond measure and deeper than the sea in which he served upon.

‘The love he had for his parents, Cynthia and Maurice, his sister Grainne, his brother Jordan, his in- laws Kim and Jon, and that of his extended family in the local area and Northern Ireland, and his extended naval and civilian family, was immeasurable.

‘Keith loved his golf and had just been presented with his best handicap ever. He was so excited at the future ideas, plans and projects in front of him, both professionally and personally.

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‘Keith would go out of his way to help anyone, anytime, anywhere. He had so much ahead of him that can no longer be, which simply breaks us.

‘Keith had an infectious laugh, a cheeky smile, a quick wit and an Irish charm that could brighten up any room.

‘Keith was loved by so many, so deeply. Our loss is so great, our grief is so deep. He had such an impact on so many people in life, and leaves such an impact in his death.’

CPO Ross was the Deputy Marine Engineering Officer for Crew 7 of the Second Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCM2 Crew 7), based in HMNB Portsmouth and supporting the upgrade to Hunt Class Minehunter HMS Hurworth.

He joined the Royal Navy in January 1998 as a Marine Engineer (Able Rating Second Class) and served on HMS Illustrious, HMS Liverpool, HMS Southampton, HMS Kent, HMS Brocklesby during his career before joining MCM2 Crew 7 in April 2020.

CPO Ross was awarded Operational Service Medal – Sierra Leone during OP Palliser in 2000, involved in active service in the Arabian Gulf in 2003, was part of a NATO-led operation in Libya in 2011 and spent the six years in the small ship community, including two operational deployments to the Arabian Gulf.

Lieutenant Commander Neil Skinner Royal Navy, Commanding Officer, MCM2 Crew 7, said: ‘In such a small and close-knit community, the loss of CPO Ross has had a profound impact. He had a genuinely inspiring effect on all those he met and worked alongside.

‘I feel truly honoured to have had known this fine gentleman and am devastated by his tragic and sudden loss. My heart goes out to his wife Sarah, their five children, parents and his wider family, who should feel nothing but total pride in what he achieved during his 22 years serving in the Royal Navy.’

Former work colleague and close friend, Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Hall, Deputy Marine Engineering Officer, MCM2 Crew 8, said: ‘Paddy wasn’t just a shipmate, a mess member, or a watch keeper you handed over too, he was everyone’s best friend.

‘He was slightly older than most of the junior rates, so most of us saw Paddy as a father figure at sea.

‘Paddy would often sit with me and other crew members talking about our children and family back home. His family was his life, and his sole reason why he was deployed to provide and to do them proud.’

Dan Bruder, friend and golfing partner, said: ‘Paddy was a keen golfer. If he wasn’t in the garden practising his swing, he would be found

at Portsmouth driving range on the Eastern Road trying to spank a driver until he was on top of the longest drive leaderboard.

‘He was a member at Skylark Golf and Country club in Whiteley and played twice a week minimum. His claim to fame was hitting the green on the 6th hole a 363-yard par 4 (although no one had seen him do it!!).

‘Golf really was a great “craic” with Paddy. It really will be his banter and famous laugh which will be missed by all when strolling the fairways in future.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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