John Round-Turner

(A: 1947-1951)

Died on the 17th May 2021, aged 87.

John, who lived with Irene, his wife of 60 years, at Oakfield Place, in Old Station Road, Newmarket, died on the 17th may 2021. Born in Sandakan, British North Borneo (now known as Sabah), where his father was a captain in the BNB Armed Constabulary, John returned to England just before the start of the Second World War and, after education at St Edward’s, Oxford, enrolled at the Royal Navy College, Dartmouth, in 1952. His first ship, as a midshipman, was the aircraft carrier HMS Unicorn in the Middle East, followed by further training abroad HMS Tyne, before leaving for submarines. 


His first command beneath the waves was of HMS Auriga and he later became second in command of subs. Following a spell as an instructor, he went to sea again in the nuclear attack submarine HMS Conqueror, which was later, but not under John’s command, to sink The Belgrano in the Falklands War. 


In 1977, he served on the Staff of the Naval Attache in Washington as submarine liaison officer and, back home once more, joined the Ministry of Defence in the Directorate of Naval Warfare before being promoted to Deputy Director of Naval Logistics Planning during the Falklands War. His final job was as Director of Naval Foreign and Commonwealth Training from which he retired in 1989 after 37 years service. 


John joined the British Horseracing Museum, then in premises adjoining the Jockey Club in Newmarket High Street, and took over as director following the death of the museum’s founder, Major General David Swannell, in 1992. 


He held the post for 7 years, overseeing the addition of an art gallery extension paid for by the British Sporting Arts Trust and a steady increase in the number of visitors. 


As well as a lifelong interest in racing, John was an enthusiastic bellringer and had rung in churches wherever his career had taken him. Latterly he belonged to the bellringing teams at St Mary’s Newmarket, where his colleagues rang bells for his funeral. 


John leaves his widow, Irene, daughter Jane Rudling, a market researcher, son Charles, a musician, and four grandchildren, Nicky and Michael Rudling and William and Emily Round-Turner. The funeral service was conducted by the Rev John Hardy and was followed by an outdoor lunch for family and friends at the Horseracing Museum where a bench has been named in his memory. 

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