A former Royal Navy veteran of the Second World War, who was later a stalwart of Ryde Rowing Club, has died at the age of 95.

David Sheehan Wheeler died at St Mary’s Hospital on April 1.

Born in Ryde in 1925, he was the second son of Arthur and Margaret Wheeler.

He had an active childhood and attended the Upper Grade School in Ryde before moving with the family to Gibraltar in 1934 when his father was posted there by the Royal Navy.

The family returned to Ryde and David’s prowess in sport grew.

In 1939 he was recognised in the County Press for winning running and canoe races at the annual town regatta.

Within 18 months David, then 15, had enlisted to be an artificer apprentice.

In February 1941 he left Ryde for HMS Caledonia at Rosyth in Scotland.

Over the next four years, David refined the engineering skills for which he is probably most remembered.

By the end of the war, he was serving on HMS Berwick when it sailed into Trondheim, to accept the German surrender.

David transferred to the carrier HMS Queen, transporting American and Canadian servicemen back home.

He spent winter 1946/47 in Kiel, Germany, overseeing the civilian labourers who were rebuilding the shattered city.

Back home on leave, David was asked to take out a young lady who was boarding at his parents’ house with her family.

This young lady was Jean Whitfield and in December 1952 they were married.

They lived together in Scotland before returning to Ryde when David left the Navy in 1955.

He was employed at John Samuel White’s in Cowes where his engineering knowledge was put to use first in ship-building and then air-conditioning.

His return also saw him join Ryde Rowing Club and he served in a number of roles including secretary and captain.

However, he is best remembered for his boatbuilding skills. In the early 1960s, he oversaw the building of three new boats for the club.

He stood back in 1963 when his son, Paul, was born, but by the end of the decade he was instrumental in finding a new home for the club when it had to leave the pier.

A new clubhouse was built at Appley in 1974. The opening ceremony was performed by Lord Louis Mountbatten with David acting as host.

David’s late 1970s project to build a pair of boats was crucial to the most successful period in the club's history with a string of victories, including a hat-trick of South Coast Championship wins in the mid-1980s.

Work took David away from the Island for ten years, but he returned to Ryde in 1992 to retire and to resume his association with the club.

Jean died in 2012, but David remained in Ryde and was still very much part of the rowing club and a member of the Royal Naval Association.

After a spell in hospital in 2017, he recovered well enough to return to live at home for a few more years.

David died on April 1, just six weeks short of his 96th birthday.