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Sadly, I have just received this e-mail from Derek Warmington, regarding John Howell, retired Chief Engineer Officer:
"News has been received from his daughter that John Howell, retired Chief Engineer Officer, passed away on the 8th July aged 90. He had been retired since 1985.
The funeral will be at Swansea Crematorium, Heol Pentre Felen, Llangfelach, Swansea, SA6 6BY on Tuesday the 25th July at 2.30 pm, followed by refreshments at Langland Bay Golf Club, Langland Bay Road, The Mumbles, Newton, Swansea, SA3 4QR.
If you plan to attend, it would be appreciated if you could email his daughter Cathy Cadogan to let her know. Her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org"
John Howell was Chief Eng when I was a first trip cadet on Arcadia. It would have been about Nov '73 and I was getting required time in with the electricians. The 2nd Elec John Latham (deceased) told me to go to the Chief's cabin and check his clock. As I entered said cabin, there stood the Chief in just his vest and pants wearing an apron with a wooden spoon in his hand. On the table in front of him was a large bowl. I looked for the offending clock, not sure of what to do!!
"Come here young man." said the Chief. "Take this spoon, stir the cake mix and make a wish!"
He was making his Christmas cake well in advance so that he could cook it and then "feed it" with booze ready for Christmas!!
There was nothing wrong with his clock - it was just a means of getting me to stir his cake!(I don't recall ever getting a slice, but I made a small contribution!)
He was a quiet but knowledgeable man. Quite a character! Sad news.
Where are you from: Northampton - originally Swindon.
Another great guy crosses the Bar! John was aboard the Oriana as Supernumery Chief before returning as Chief before the 1970 voyage when the Boiler room fire occurred. I remember when he was on board as Super we had issues with the fresh water pneupress system and cabins above A deck had a somewhat iffy supply of shower water! 2/E Charlie Newby was charged with fixing this undesirable situation especially as John was in an A deck cabin! All good stuff.
On balance I would say the best Chief I sailed with in P&O, he had to deal with me on several occasions, I was very relieved that he gave me another chance(s) when he could easily ended my seafareing career while still a cadet.
Yes sorry to hear of his passing.