Captain Robert Alec Snow Irving RN (Retd.), Clan Chief & Chief of the Name and Arms of Irving of Bonshaw – 1930-2021

A full obituary can be found on the Clan Irving website

Captain Robert Alec Snow Irving RN (Retd.), FIL & Arabic linguist, 19th Clan Chief & Chief of the Name and Arms of Irving of Bonshaw, died peacefully aged 90 years at home February 17th 2021

Captain Robert Irving was born in Valletta, Malta, on 4th November 1930 and revisited it 9 years later from the UK when his parents decided it was probably safer than Britain at the onset of the Second World War.

Events proved otherwise and he was evacuated with his mother and sister to Alexandria in 1941 where his father joined them after his Marlborough class warship was sunk by an Italian submarine.

Captain Irving first met his future wife Elisabeth at a Naval colleague’s 21st birthday celebration and six years later they married on 3rd November 1956. He has three sons, four grandsons and three granddaughters.

Captain Irving’s professional life divides easily into two parts: 32 years in the British Royal Navy and 39 years as a translator of Arabic.

At 20 years old, he spent two years at sea in the Korean War, which gave him a valuable introduction to the Royal Navy.

Retiring from the Royal Navy in 1980, Captain Irving worked as a freelance Arabic translator for various government departments, the Serious Fraud Office, major law firms and a variety of commercial companies and individuals, covering a wide range of subject areas.

In 2014, the Lord Lyon King of Arms conferred the recognition of Chief of the Name and Arms of Irving of Bonshaw on him as direct descendant of William Irving of Bonshaw upon whom the honour was first conferred in the 1670s.

He was very proud to be part of this ancient Border Clan and its 19th Clan Chief which, unlike some others that were less fortunate, did not submit to the English Crown in the 16th century and has a documented history that goes back 600 years and beyond.