View Full Version : John 'Geordie' REDPATH...R.I.P.

Roger Dyer
13th December 2011, 11:37 PM
On the 13th December (Sydney time) I received a phone call from an old ex-MN mate, Dave Eagleton, now living in Spain. When I picked up the phone I sensed that something was wrong because only a day or so before I had spoken to Dave on 'Skype' exchanging Xmas greetings etc. Sadly, I was right. Dave had rang to tell me that John 'Geordie' Redpath, aged 73, a mutual friend of long-standing, had passed away suddenly on the 12/12/11, whilst at his home in Porirua, near Wellington, N.Z. To say that I was stunned is an understatement and I feel deeply upset by his passing. It was only a few days ago that we received a Xmas card from John and his wife, Shirley.

John was born in Wooler, a small town in Northumberland, where he was to spend his formative years. Later, with his family he went south to live in Surrey. In 1955 or '56 he joined the MN and went off to sea as a Deck Boy. My first meeting with John, in 1960, was over a pint (or six) in the company of Dave Eagleton and others in the 'Black Horse', Leman St, Aldgate East (London). John's easy-going, friendly manner and wonderful sense of humour made him good company to be with and with Dave and some of the other lads a bond was formed that day. The 'Black Horse' became a meeting-place for us all and we patronised that pub for several years. Although now scattered around various parts of the world we have remained in touch with one another for more than 50 years ( which probably says much for the comradeship of merchant seamen). Now John has gone and we have lost a dear friend.

For some strange reason few of us sailed together, but in November, 1963, John and I shipped out as A.B's on a Liverpool coaster, the 'Mertola'. What ensued was four weeks of mirth and a little misbehaviour that would have done justice to a script for a 'Carry On' comedy film. Finally, we decided to pay- off before we did irreparable harm to our health and that of the ships master, but that time in my life has left me with memories that shall last forever. Shortly after this episode, John was introduced to a Kiwi girl named Shirley, a close friend of Dave Eagleton's wife, Marlene, and they soon became an 'item'. In 1965 they headed off to New Zealand, got married and settled in Porirua. For many years, John worked as a 'Wharfie' on the waterfront in Wellington, before eventually starting his own hire-car business. In 1967 after I emigrated to Sydney, Australia, it was Barney Yellin (the landlord of the 'Black Horse') and John who provided me with references when I sought employment with the N.S.W. Police. Actually, John provided me with two references, one of which was highly amusing albeit truthful, but which, wisely, I did not use, however, the other less-truthful reference together with the one provided by Barney did the trick.

Although only separated by the Tasman Sea, for nearly 40 years John and I kept in touch, but did not actually meet again until 2006, when Dave and I with our wives went to N.Z. for a two week holiday. Part of that holiday was spent with John and Shirley and for a while there it seemed like the return of the three Musketeers. John still had that wonderful sense of humour and a slight Geordie accent. I shall always treasure the memory of that holiday. When, finally, we said our farewells at Wellington Airport I felt sure that we would meet again, but, sadly, I was wrong.

There may be some members that knew John(Geordie), I don't know, but I post this to let you know that we 'Band of Brothers' have lost another one of our number and the world is a poorer place for his passing. John is survived by his wife, Shirley, his son Martin, his daughter Laura, a sister, Ann, in England, a sister, Joan, in Canada and so many, many friends.


Lou Barron
13th December 2011, 11:49 PM
All though i did not know your old shipmate Roger its always sad when some of your old mates pass away i have had the same experiances so passon my condolences

Keith at Tregenna
13th December 2011, 11:59 PM
I will post better words of tribute and remembrance ASAP.


happy daze john in oz
14th December 2011, 05:23 AM
Deepest condolences Roger, may he forever sail on calm waters.

Doc Vernon
14th December 2011, 05:32 AM
Hello Roger
As the Days pass so do we one at a time,it is unfortunate but inevitable,so may i take this time in sending Condolences to Shirley,Martin, Laura and all the rest of the Family,of course Roger not forgetting you.
It is as has so many times been said,that it is so hard to loose anyone more so especially when it is a good mate,and one of the Band of Brothers as you so well put it!
So John may you now rest in Peace and may the great Waters take you to where you always sailed.

Captain Kong
14th December 2011, 08:44 AM
Hi Roger a nice story but with a sad ending. It is good to have friends like that who stay for life.
Some ship mates come into your life for a month or two, others come in and stay for life.
The big problem is at this stage in life, the friends start to pass on so quickly. I have lost two to cancer this year and one mate, of several years, last week, told me he only had six months due to his inoperable bowel cancer. Life is so sad at times.
all the best.