Cliff Bragg (46-49) who died in Johannesburg, South Africa on May 13th, 2017 aged 85, was for many years the OP Society Rep in Port Elizabeth. He is survived by his wife Beryl, his son Philip and his two daughters Caroline Bragg and Nicola Contival. At Cliff’s request a wake was held at the Sundowner Pub & Grill in the suburb of Randburg – “a very convivial occasion of which Cliff would definitely have approved” in the words of Shaun Maynard (60-64), the OP Rep in Johannesburg, who attended the memorial service held on May 19th at Doves Chapel, Randburg.
Shaun writes: “Cliff was at the NCP until 1949 when he joined Union Castle. He stayed with the line for all his seagoing career, gaining command around 1963-65. After coming ashore, he became Union Castle’s marine superintendent in Durban. Throughout his mercantile career he enjoyed a professional reputation second to none.
When Lionel Stephens visited South Africa in the 1990s, he, myself, CB and his brother-in-law Ian Simpson (45-49) held a special OP dinner at the Port Elizabeth airport hotel one Sunday evening. A very happy occasion ensued. CB’s friendship with Ian had begun at the Nautical College and was to last a lifetime. They took all their Board of Trade certificate exams together despite working for different companies, married sisters and lived close to each other in Port Elizabeth. Though obviously saddened by Cliff’s death, Ian was in good form at the wake. He joined Shell Tankers after the NCP, rising to Chief Officer. Later he worked for South African Railways and Harbours as a pilot and served in SW Africa (Namibia), Cape Town and Port Elizabeth – a career he says that he thoroughly enjoyed.
I first met Cliff in August, 1974 shortly after arriving in South Africa after my overland drive from London while I was searching for a job. It was a remarkable occasion. I had booked a one-way steering class passage on Union Castle’s Edinburgh Castle from Durban to Cape Town in the hope of finding employment there. The first person I met on board was CB followed soon after by another OP Ken Anderson (19-20). What fun we had on that three-day trip! Cliff was very much a people person, loved a party and was widely read with a deep general knowledge. In retirement, he gained a name for himself by writing many and varied letters and articles for the local newspaper in Port Elizabeth under the pseudonym of ‘The Cap.’”
Tim Prettejohn (55-59) died at Cairns Base Hospital in Queensland, Australia in February 3, 2017 following a stroke and a major brain haemorrhage.
Tim’s sister-in-law Alix Prettejohn writes: “Tim was born in 1941 and grew up, almost on the Equator, on his father’s farm on the foothills of Mt. Kenya. The farm abounded in wildlife in those days and though lion were no longer a threat, his father’s cattle often fell prey to leopard and hyena. Buffalo flattened the wheat crops and it was not unusual for a few curious elephant to wander in from the surrounding forest too.
I first met Tim when he was only 16 – at home for the summer holidays – from his school in England, The Nautical College, Pangbourne. On leaving school, and returning to Kenya, he took a diploma at the Egerton Agricultural College and then got his first job.
It was the 1960’s when the ‘Winds of Change’ were sweeping across Africa and Kenya was about to become independent. The Prettejohn farm, and all the neighbouring farms, were sold and divided into small plots to be distributed amongst hundreds of the local Africans. Tim became the Settlement Officer, in charge of working out who got what, what they would grow, where their water came from and legally giving title to their new little farm. The Prettejohn family house servant, called Nyamu, assumed that as he had worked for the “Bwana” for many years he was bound to get the plot on which stood the beautiful two-storey stone house – and held it against Tim for the rest of his life when that didn’t happen.
In 1960, Tim followed his parents and late brother Richard, to the Eastern Cape of South Africa where they all started farming again. Tim was a popular and enthusiastic supporter of anything that was going in the local village – be it Round Table, Tennis, Livestock Shows, and Cricket. The local farmers gave him the nickname of “Kol-Manzi”, as his distinctive walk – with his head thrust forward – reminded them of a grey heron fishing in the shallows of a river. The cricketers were even less polite and called him “Sluice Gate” as he stood so far away from his bat that the ball passed straight through the gap and he was often clean bowled. In those days Tim had an insatiable thirst and had a nickname of his own for his son and three young nephews. “KiliFA!!!” (meaning wheelbarrow in the local African language) would be the shout when he needed another beer, and the young would jump to attention to do his bidding.
After battling against the notoriously inhospitable Eastern Cape weather, Tim gave up the farming struggle and moved to the university city of Grahamstown where his aging parents now lived. With his own experience of dairy farming, he worked for the local Cattle Breeders Insemination Co-op, travelling around the many dairy farms, advising the farmers on breeding, and training their stockmen in artificial insemination.
By then he had become disenchanted with South African politics and – encouraged by his late uncle, Hugh Prettejohn – took his whole family to Australia in 1996, settling in the Palm Cove/Kewarra area of Queensland. Here he started a business to manufacture, sell and apply specialised paints used in coating the roofs of industrial and commercial buildings, together with tiled residential properties. This gave him the ability to control quality from the initial materials to the finished product on the clients’ premises.
Over the years Tim was a proud member of the Prettejohn family and gave freely of his love, compassion and support to various members in times of need – especially to his aging parents in their final years in Grahamstown. Having known Tim for all my adult life, I shall miss him desperately, as will my three sons who have known him all their lives – almost as a second father. I think my most abiding memory will be Tim’s laughter. He could enliven a room just with his presence, and his – often loud and raucous – laughter. Nothing much got him down, he never took himself very seriously and he found humour in most situations.
‘Hamba Gahle’ Little Bro.”
Margaret Points, the wife of the former Headmaster Peter Points, died on 23rd January, 2017 aged 89 following a stroke. Her funeral was held on 21st February at Holy Trinity Church, Wonston, close to her retirement home in Sutton Scotney, Hampshire. Robin Paterson and John Fisher represented the OP Society and there was a large turnout of one-time College colleagues including Peter Politizer, Ian Busby, Jim McBroom, Peter Laverack, Diana Seidl and Don Somner.
The Tribute, on which this obituary is based, was given by the Rev. John Spriggs, a teacher at Pangbourne for 23 years and Chaplain at the College 1994-97.
“Gracious, kind, sensitive, loyal – a woman in her own right” is how John Spriggs summed up Margaret. “My overriding memory,” he said “is of someone who was really interested in other people. She was sympathetic and caring and got on with everyone while being a bit of a rebel at heart.”
Margaret Points was born into a Lancashire family, the daughter of an architect who moved around the country with his job. After attending nine schools, she went to St. Martin’s College of Design and Fashion in London foreshadowing a lifetime interest and involvement in design, theatre and the arts. In 1953 she married Peter and later had two children, Simon and Joanna.
Arriving at the newly-named Pangbourne College with her husband and young family in 1969, Margaret quickly became “very much more than a headmaster’s wife.” Soon she was taking part in numerous school activities including teaching an art class, singing in the newly-formed Pangbourne Choral Society, designing stage sets for school drama productions, cooking meals in short order for the many unexpected guests who visited Devitt House.
In particular, she proved a huge asset in the transformation of the College into a much wider, more sensitive and inclusive school. In John Spriggs’ words: “Her charm and resilience were essential assets in an ever-changing cast of characters and situations… Entertaining preparatory school headmasters and wives was her smooth and effective way of marketing the new ‘enterprise’. She was a key player.”
Wearing a hat on all occasions and always looking correct, he added, were other typical characteristics. “Margaret had an inquiring style. She was always quick to spot pupils or inexperienced staff who felt lost or isolated. Many were the occasions when she propped up others and gave them encouragement.”
In 1988 the Points retired to Wilmington in East Sussex. Here, at Lilac Cottage, Margaret’s love of gardening, love of dogs and abiding interest in the welfare of her five grandchildren had full play. The couple moved to Sutton Manor in Sutton Scotney in 2013.
A poem called ‘Afterglow’ written by Helen Lowrie Marshall and read at the funeral by granddaughter Sophie Daniel, aptly summed up Margaret to all who knew her. It goes: “I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one. I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done. I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways of happy times and laughing times and bright summer days. I’d like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun of happy memories that I leave when life is done.”
Derek William Dudley Pitt (46-50) died in 2007, as we were informed by his widow Patricia recently. He lived near Frome in Somerset and at one time worked for Marley Tiles.
Tom Woolley (60-65) writes:
“I wish to advise that my Mother’s younger brother Captain John S Shillingford RN died 18th January aged 82. His Memorial Service, following a private cremation, was held at St Thomas’ Church, Wells, Somerset on Friday 17th January.
John was a staunchly loyal OP, as was my father Jim (WJ) Woolley (35-39). He loved playing cricket and squash (and presented the Shillingford Cup for squash to the College). He served in HMS Appollo during the Korean war, and many other Pussery appointments including HMS Ships Whitby and Bulwark. He was also Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse’s Secretary when the latter was Flag Officer Submarines and again as Commander In Chief Fleet during Operation Corporate and the retaking of the Falklands.
On retiring from the RN, John became an executive administrator at Wells Cathedral. He leaves behind Daphne whom, he met and married whilst servicing in Singapore, and Sarah and David.”
Alastair Macleod (35-39) died on 13th December, 2016 aged 95. His daughter Jenny McGeachy writes:
“Born in 1921, my father was Captain of Hockey at the NCP before going into the Army in World War 11 in the Seaforth Highlanders. He remained in the Army for about 10 years after the war, reaching the rank of Major, before leaving to run his own nursery garden business near West Byfleet in Surrey, selling rhododendrums, azaleas and camelias.”
George Stevenson Brown MOORE (47-50) passed away peacefully at home on 10th February 2017.
Eldest son of Captain Quentin Moore, a River Clyde Pilot and Mrs Catherine Moore, George was born in Gourock on 21st August, 1933. George arrived at the Nautical College (Macquarie Division) in 1947 and excelled not only in his studies but also in sports and music. A member of the College swimming team, he obtained Colours in the 1st XV in Rugby and was captain of the shooting team. George was also a keen boxer and hockey player while at school as well as an accomplished piano player, a skill he retained to the last.
Having briefly entertained joining the New Zealand Shipping Company, George went into the Royal Mail Line while continuing his Merchant Navy training at the King Edward VII Nautical School. He reached the position of 3rd Officer by 1955 when he was also a Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserves. During this period he became a qualified deep sea diver.
George’s passion for playing sport, severely restricted by his naval duties, ultimately won the day and he left the MN in 1955. He then joined the automotive industry with Joseph Lucas working his way up through the organisation to become Area Manager based in Bristol. In 1970 he left to start his own business, Severn Electrodiesel, based in Cirencester.
Meanwhile George was indulging in his love of rugby eventually achieving the distinction of prop forward for Gloucester RFC 1st XV. After retiring from the sport he was a keen coach of various youth teams in and around the Gloucestershire area. He also excelled at golf achieving a low handicap of 3 and was an enthusiastic and regular member of a number of golf clubs in the south west and latterly in West Sussex. In was in this sport that George maintained his links to the College as a regular attendee at OP Golfing Society events.
George met Helen Clifford from Southampton while serving in the Merchant Navy and they married in 1955. George and Helen celebrated over 60 wonderful years of marriage proudly producing five daughters. Sadly George could not recover from Helen’s death in February, 2016. By this time George and Helen were living with their eldest daughter Caroline in Bognor Regis. Caroline has continued to take care of George during some difficult final months, a period George undertook with great bravery and resilience.
George’s funeral service will be held at Worthing Crematorium, West Sussex on Friday 3rd March 2017 at 1.40pm and afterwards at The Fox Inn in Felpham Village. Family flowers only. For donations to Marie Curie Nursing Care please send cheque payable to Darren Miles Funeral Services, 107 Felpham Road, Bognor Regis, PO22 7PW. (T) 01243 828210
All OP’s who remember George are most welcome.
E.R. (Ross) Bacon (59-62) died on 27th December, 2016, aged 71. A news report in the Grimsby Telegraph stated in part:
“The continued success of one of Grimsby’s best known engineering firms will be the lasting monument to a widely respected local businessmen. Edwin Ross Bacon, know as Ross, sadly died in the Diana Princess of Wales Hospital, aged 71, after a period of failing health. His family home in Scartho has many sympathy cards in tribute to the engineering giant who secured the future of the 117-year-old family business as it transitioned, from its central role in the heyday of Grimsby’s fishing industry, to modern day engineering company. His determination and astute business sense ensured its survival and the livelihoods of many of its workers, while most other fishing firms went to the wall.
Ross, son of Arthur Edwin Bacon, ran E. Bacon & Co Ltd (now Bacon’s Engineering) on Hutton Road for more than 40 years after first serving in The Merchant Navy. He was the fourth generation of the family to run the business, which in the 1940s had more than 40 trawlers in its mid water fishing fleet, a number of which had been requisitioned by the nation during the Second World War as minesweepers. The Bacon’s organisation also provided engineering, carpentry, plumbing, blacksmith and trawler victualling services on Grimsby Docks for many decades.
Born in Sheffield to Edwin and Josephine Ross Bacon in 1945, Ross came to Grimsby after World War Two with his mother to rejoin his father, after he had finished war time service in the Royal Navy. Ross initially attended St James’ School on Bargate, and later went on to study at Pangbourne Naval College, in Berkshire, which he often said was “the making of him” and was a wonderful introduction to the maritime world. He then joined the Merchant Navy in 1962, at the age of 17, which at that point was at the zenith of its domination of global shipping, progressing to the rank of Third Navigating Officer whilst he worked for Port Line, part of the renowned Cunard Group.
A dramatic life-threatening experience came in 1967 when his ship, the Port Invercargill, was caught up in the Suez Canal just as the Israelis and Egyptians waged The 6 Day War and he and his crew were stuck at anchor in Great Bitter Lake for three months along with a number of other trapped merchant ships. During the period of fighting Israeli jets used the merchant ships as cover as they swooped on opposition lines strafing fire over the ships at their enemy who were also returning defensive fire at the planes. His crew came to the rescue of many stricken Egyptian soldiers as they attempted to cross back into Egypt, offering food, medical assistance and transportation across the lake.
In 1969 his father Edwin invited him to return to Grimsby to take over the running of the fishing business element of Bacon’s as the Trawler Manager, an offer too good to refuse. By this time, the company’s Lindsey Trawler fleet constituted seven ships including the Lucerne, Lepanto, Lemberg, Lofoten, Longset, Lavinia and Loveden, all names within a company tradition of seven letters, beginning with “L”, along with the Tom Grant. However from the mid Seventies and into the Eighties he had the unenviable task of steering the family business through its contraction into a engineering business as they fought for survival in the rapidly changing industrial landscape on the Humber.
As a representative of the British Fishing Federation he had frequent visits to Whitehall to state the fishing industry’s case in the face of foreign competition and new EEC fishing ground rules. In April 1976, the Grimsby Telegraph reported how two of the Bacon’s fleet were to be laid up. Ross blamed the Government’s attitude to the fishing industry and said: “It seems that as well as letting the distant water fleet die they are prepared to let the near water fleet go under as well.” The Loveden had landed 155 kits the day before and grossed £4,600; but with £2,000 for fuel, labour of £500 and the crew’s share of the catch it left £600 which Mr Bacon said was unfair. Ross said: “We are operating against heavily-subsidised foreign competition which is raping our North Sea.”
Into his late 50s he was also a director and active member of the Grimsby Conservative Club at Bargate. His son David, who serves in the Royal Navy and will continue to represent his father’s wishes on the Board of Bacon’s said: “He was a fantastic father and absolute family man, I could not have asked for more from him over the years. He was as honest and genuine as the day is long; you simply could not find a man of higher integrity.”
Ross married Sally in 1976 after they first met in The Ship Inn, Barnoldby le Beck, and they were happily married for over 40 years. Sally lovingly recalled that her husband had been nicknamed The Black Prince on the Grimsby Fish Docks on account of his jet black hair and said he had always been “her rock” throughout their long marriage. She said he was always hard working and had got up at 5am for many years to go to the Grimsby Fish Market where he would auction fish before starting at Bacon’s each day. She said that he had gained a great deal of pleasure from his auctioneering days, sparring with the Town’s fish merchants.
This role along with his position at Bacon’s made him a well know face and highly respected man on the Grimsby Docks. Son David said: “It was an absolute credit to him that he was ultimately able to hand over Bacon’s in a brilliant position to progress and prosper in the future after some very turbulent times which forced many other historic companies to fold.” He added: “He was a hugely sociable man and really enjoyed his visits to the pubs around Scartho and the Tea Gardens at Waltham; he had a really amazing group of close friends who meant the world to him.” Over the years he had also been an avid gardener and took great pleasure from his fish pond. David said: “We sadly lost him after a couple of years of failing health, but the shock of his very sudden departure has left us all numb. He will be greatly missed by his family and many, many others.”
Ross Bacon’s lifelong friend Peter Middleton (57-61) gave one of the Tributes at the funeral at St. Giles Church, Scartho on 6th January. He added:
“It was with great pride that last Friday I wore Ross’s OP tie, which he himself always wore with great pride, when, along with his son David, I was privileged and honoured to give a Tribute to my dear friend at his funeral. In that Tribute I expanded on what appeared in the obituary in the local paper and, of course, reminisced about our friendship which lasted over 65 years. Ross was laid to rest in our village churchyard in Scartho. It was this church in a which both Ross and I were married, and where our children were baptised. It was Ross, who incidentally, in 1973 introduced me to my wife. Ross and I lived on the outskirts of Grimsby, about 400 yards apart, so naturally up until the end, saw a lot of one another and socialised with our mutual friends. Every Thursday night we, with other friends, would meet in that bastion of male chauvinism…the male-only Scartho Bowling club.”
John Gregson GC (37-40), who has died aged 92, won the George Cross for saving the life of a shipmate during a torpedo attack in the Mediterranean in 1942. An obituary in the Daily Telegraph stated in part:
“In August 1942 Gregson was serving as an apprentice on the Deucalion, a merchant vessel of 7,500 tons. The ship was one of a convoy of 14 that left Gibraltar on August 10 with the object of breaking through to the beleaguered island fortress of Malta with much-needed food and fuel supplies. From mid-1940 the island had been subjected to heavy bombing raids and close surveillance by the German and Italian air and naval forces. Several earlier attempts to get through had proved very costly in lives and ships.
Code-named Operation Pedestal, the plan was to make a dash for Malta through the straits of Sicily, escorted by a task force that included two battleships and three aircraft carriers. At midday on August 11 the main body of the convoy bore the brunt of the first attack by aircraft of the German Fliegerkorps II, based in Sicily, and of the Italian Regia Aeronautica. An hour later, Eagle, one of the carriers, was hit by four torpedoes 70 nautical miles south of Cape Salinas in Majorca. She sank in four minutes together with all her onboard aircraft.
The following day, shortly after 1pm, about 50 miles south-east of Sardinia, a squadron of JU88s penetrated the escort’s anti-aircraft screen and attacked the merchantmen. The Deucalion received a direct hit but was only partly disabled and her speed was reduced to eight knots. She was ordered to leave the convoy and try to reach Malta keeping to the shallow coastal waters, under the escort of one destroyer, Bramham. That evening, two Luftwaffe sorties found them off the coast of Tunisia. The first attack on the freighter resulted in three near misses. The second came from two Heinkel torpedo bombers which cut their engines to avoid alerting the AA gunners and glided in from the landward side.
The Deucalion was hit on the starboard quarter; one of the holds which was full of aviation fuel burst into flames and the order was given to abandon ship. Lifeboats were being lowered and the blaze was spreading rapidly when one of the AA gunners was found pinned down under a raft. Gregson helped to get the gunner free but the man had sustained severe injuries and when it proved impossible to get him into a boat or on to a raft there was no alternative but to drop him overboard. John Gregson dived into the sea after him but, in the darkness, he could not find a life boat so he towed him a distance of about 600 yards to a ship which picked them up. The citation stated: “But for Apprentice Gregson’s gallant action, undertaken with complete disregard of his own safety, the injured man would have had little chance of survival.” Gregson was invested with the Albert Medal by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on March 30 1943.
John Sedgwick Gregson, the son of an architect, was born in Bombay on January 4 1924. He was educated in Britain and attended the Nautical College, Pangbourne in Berkshire. Leaving Pangbourne in 1940, at the age of 16, he joined the Merchant Navy and began an apprenticeship with the Blue Funnel Line in the general cargo trade two years later. After serving in the Malta convoys, in 1943 Gregson signed on with the Brocklebank Line and received his Second Mate’s Certificate. In 1946 he qualified for his First Mate’s Certificate with Common Brothers of Newcastle and, three years later, his Master’s Certificate when he switched to the Oregon Line.
Gregson went to New Zealand in 1952 and served for eight years as mate, then master, in coastal shipping with the Shell Oil Company of New Zealand. In 1961 he joined the Bay of Plenty Harbour Board in Tauranga as a pilot. He became navigating officer with the Union Steamship Company in 1977.
In retirement, Gregson lived at Mount Maunganui overlooking the Bay of Plenty. In 1971, when the Albert Medal was revoked by Royal Warrant, Gregson elected to keep the original medal he received from the King, rather than exchange it for the George Cross. Among his other medals, he also held the Lloyds War Medal for Bravery in Saving Life at Sea. This medal was instituted by Lloyds of London in 1940 to be awarded to officers and men of the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets for exceptional gallantry at sea in wartime. John Gregson married, in 1954, Mary Joan Reading in Wellington, New Zealand. She predeceased him. He is survived by two sons.”
Eric Alan Cuningham Paul (47-49) died in a care home in Romsey, Hampshire on 21st October, 2016, aged 84. His funeral was held in Romsey Abbey on November 4th. His son Justin writes:
“Alan Paul was born in Uganda in 1932, where his father and mother were colonial settlers with a cotton plantation and where he acquired a lifelong grasp of Swahili. Following the break-up of the family and his father’s death in 1947, he arrived at the Nautical College after a sea voyage to England on the Durban Castle – perhaps the start of his lifelong love of the sea. At the NCP he spent happy times mucking about in rowing boats and making friends. To the end of his life, he retained an affection for the College.
From Pangbourne, he completed a Master Mariner’s course at Warsash on the River Hamble. In 1950, at the age of 17, he entered the ranks of the Merchant Navy as a cadet by joining the Union Castle Line running out of Southampton. During the 1950s and 1960s the line operated a fleet of 15 ships, many of which made the weekly and later monthly run between Southampton and Cape Town. Each ship could carry up to 600 First and Tourist Class passengers along with a freight of cargo and mail. His adventures were recounted at many a dinner party and family get-together. We implored him to write an account of his time at sea but he was never one for sentimental scribbling. Instead, he preferred to keep immaculate car mileage notes between fill-ups and exacting household records.
It was aboard the Edinburgh Castle in 1964 that he met his future bride. Mum had joined the ship to look after passenger’s children as a “chilly ho” or children’s hostess. It took him just three weeks to propose. The knot was tied in April, 1965 in Hove and the newly marrieds settled close to port and bought a house in Ampfield. Father continued to spend time at sea but the young couple longed to be together. With the arrival of a daughter in 1967, and having risen to the position of Chief Officer on the Southampton Castle, he jumped ship and landed a job with IBM in October, 1968.
Dad’s ‘ship shape and Bristol fashion’ manner was something of great pride to him, so no wonder IBM offered him a job. Initially, he managed the ‘Sit Facilities Space Planning’ team at Hursley Park ensuring that everyone had the exact amount of office and lab space to operate within. At home, we all tested him … brother Nick by running through a sheet glass patio window, sister Louise with her teenage angst, and me writing off my own car … twice. He remained fairly good humoured throughout all our endeavours!
Family holidays were never dull, and the countless annual trips hurtling down the auto-routes of France to gites and sandy beaches on the south and west coasts in a trusty Volvo saloon – trying in vain to beat the Porsches en route to the next toll; sweating as customs officials peered at us as we drove through the “Nothing to Declare” lane with leaky cubitainors of wine – make for fond memories.
Dad retired at the sprightly age of 60 in May, 1993 after 25 years with IBM and started to enjoy the pleasures of golf. In October, 2002 he and Mum moved to Romsey. From here they shared many happy trips abroad and aboard. Indeed, I don’t think there are many cruise ships around the globe that did not host them on one of their voyages of discovery. Their last trip, to Lisbon, was two years ago just as Pa was starting to feel the discomfort of some back issues. It came as a shock when, following a trip up to Cheshire for Christmas, he was admitted to hospital in January, 2015. Four months later he was discharged to the Marie Louise Nursing Home in Romsey. I think he, and the family, knew that this was to be his final voyage. A full life and a loved one.”