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Hero of the Month: PO Robert Minshull (1979 – 2022)


PO Robert Minshull was a kind husband, fun-loving father and popular officer in the Royal Navy.

Over his 26 years of service, he completed operational tours of Afghanistan and Sierra Leone, along with numerous tours of duty spent at sea.

On the 2nd of October 2022, Robert died by suicide. He was 42 years old. His daughters, Libby and Maisy, were aged 14 and 12.

PO Robert Minshull

“Rob was the life and soul of anywhere he went,” says his wife, Kerry. “He was a joker and always had fun doing silly things to his friends at work, like decorating the inside of someone’s cabin with thousands of post-it notes, or blocking the doors of the work van so his friends would have to climb in through the boot. There wasn’t a person who didn’t like him. He could be very quiet, too, but when he was around people he knew he came out his shell in a big way.” 

When he wasn’t at work or spending time with his family and friends, Robert liked to relax by taking the dogs out for walks on the beach or watching his favourite sport – rugby.  

"He’d loved rugby ever since he was a kid and used to play for Cornwall when he was younger. He didn’t play for any military teams, but he was always the one to organise the trips for the guys to go away and do fun stuff. He really enjoyed skiing too, and they all went on ski trips together a few times.”

Rob with his wife, Kerry, and their two daughters, Libby and Maisy

Robert joined the Navy straight out of school at 16 years old and served for 26 years – over a quarter of a century.   

He never knew anything other than the Navy and life on the sea. His dad was also in the Navy and served on the very same air base as Rob. He always knew that was what he wanted to do. Going away on tours and being away for long stretches, there were obviously some tough times, but he always took everything on the chin. His favourite place to work was on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary as they all got their own cabins. The way he talked about it, you’d think he was living some life of luxury!”

Rob and his family at Remembrance

Kerry and the girls have countless fond memories of Robert, but one stands out to her as showing the kind of playful, light-hearted person he was. 

“The Christmas before Rob died, we’d just moved into our new house and were all sitting downstairs when the song ‘Ice Ice Baby’ came on. He knew it all off by heart and just started perfectly singing along to it and we all joined in. We played it again at his funeral since it reminds us so much of him. I always loved how he was with the girls and remember just standing back and watching the three of them mess around together. He was so lovely and always wanted to go outside and spend time with them, walking along the beach, bodyboarding or just playing games. He was such a fun dad.”

Rob playing with the kids by the sea

He may no longer be with them, but Robert remains a hugely important part of Kerry and their daughters’ lives, and they remember him every day in lots of different ways. 

“We like to go for walks, like he did, and we’ll often look through photos of him. For us, though, the biggest way we remember him is definitely listening to music. ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ is another song that massively reminds us of him, as well as any sea shanty you can think of. Rob absolutely loved sea shanties and they’re really popular where we live, so we hear them all the time.” 

Kerry sees Rob shine through in both the girls, from the way they look to their own unique ways of approaching the world.  

“There are some huge similarities between Rob and the kids. Maisy looks so much like him and has inherited his sense of humour to a T. Libby’s got the same wit and is always taking everything in, just like Rob, and will come out with these really thoughtful comments. They've both inherited some of his best qualities and he absolutely lives on in them.” 

Rob, Libby and Maisy on a climbing frame

Libby and Maisy are still relatively new to Scotty’s, having joined the charity in 2023, and Kerry is hoping to take the girls on their first Scotty Break this year to make some new happy memories. As members of Scotty’s, they also have the option to access a number of educational and wellbeing grants, group events with other bereaved military children and one-to-one bereavement support, should they ever want it. Through these opportunities, we hope to bring a smile to their face and help them feel part of a supportive network of bereaved military families who can understand and relate to what they’ve been through.  

“It's been really lovely to know Scotty’s is there. We’re still adjusting to being a family of three and I think it would be really good for the girls to engage with other children whose parent has died.” 

Rob and the girls on holiday

Kelly is in the early stages of organising an evening in celebration of Robert’s life, which she hopes will also be an opportunity to raise money for the charity that supports their children. 

“I just want something good to happen for Rob, so I’m trying to organise an evening in tribute to him with live bands, auctions and lots of other stuff going on. The last time everyone who knew him got together was his funeral, and we were all sharing stories and talking about him, but it was still a sad day. I want this to be a happy day for everyone who knew Rob to get together, wear bright colours and celebrate his life while raising money for Scotty’s.” 

Kerry continues: 

“Rob gave 26 years to the military and the girls have grown up with that military presence being an important part of their life. When Rob died, it felt a bit like we lost that sense of belonging, but when you see Scotty’s doing all these things it makes you think you’re still part of something wonderful.”


Rob and Kerry's wedding day


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