Royal Navy Rugby Union Announcement

Commander A Roger Godfrey Royal Navy

The Royal Navy Rugby Union informs all members of the sad news of the recent death of Roger Godfrey.  He passed away peacefully on 28 January 2018 after a long and courageous fight against a most debilitating illness.

There will be a Service of Thanksgiving for Roger at Warblington Church, Warblington, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO9 2TU at 1230 on Friday 23 February.  His wife Sue and son Nick and all the rest of Roger’s family welcome Roger's friends and colleagues to join them.

Roger was capped 16 times for the Royal Navy and had the honour of captaining the team.  He still holds the record for the most capped flanker in the RNRU.  Playing in the back row, firstly alongside team mates Goodwin and Palmer and in later years with Hallett and Lavelle, he was a talented open side flanker, the link between the forwards and the backs.  Reaching the highest standards of Service Rugby he also played for the Combined Services team with his debut against the French Armed Forces in 1961.  He also played for United Services Portsmouth and Richmond RFC and won representative honours for Hampshire.  As his playing days drew to an end he went on to be the Royal Navy Selector and was an active member of the RNRU Executive Committee.  It was for his years of dedication and support to the RNRU that on his retirement from the Royal Navy he was elected as a Life Member and continued to be an active member of the Union.  

Away from the rugby pitch, Roger served a long and distinguished naval career.  Amongst the many highlights he served in HMS Excalibur, one of two Royal Navy Explorer Class experimental submarines using the HTP (high concentration hydrogen peroxide) propulsion system.  It is likely that if he hadn’t spent so much time at sea he would have won at least 3 more RN Senior XV caps!

In his second career as a Senior Administrator for the Twickenham Stadium and as the right hand man to Dudley Wood, Secretary for the Rugby Football Union, he will be remembered for all his excellent work to further improve the administration of the game.  In particular, his role as a negotiator on behalf of the RFU as they engaged with the Home Office about the recommendations of Lord Justice Taylor's Report following the Hillsborough Football Stadium tragedy deserves mention.  Following the report and these sensitive negotiations, plans were in place to convert Twickenham to a fully seated stadium by 1995 and the exceptions were granted for Rugby stadiums to retain standing areas (due to the differing nature of football and rugby matches and their supporters).

The Royal Navy Rugby Union sends Roger's family their sincere condolences and joins with them in remembering his outstanding qualities as a naval officer, rugby player and friend.   

With acknowledgement to GAJ from Alligin.