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News > OP updates > Obituaries > David Henry St John - Portsmouth Grammar School 1950 - 1958

David Henry St John - Portsmouth Grammar School 1950 - 1958

6 Oct 2021
Written by Paul Hassall
David St John
David St John

David Henry St John

Portsmouth Grammar School 1950-58

“I want to travel”, David said when he left PGS and started at Bristol University to study Chemistry. Those itchy feet clearly got the better of him and he applied to work for Shell Oil in London. First stop Den Haag - Nederland, where David met Nelly and their first oversees posting was to New Zealand. Further postings included Nigeria, where David encountered a close shave with the Biafran civil war.

Nicaragua was next and this theme of regional conflict continued as the Sandinista revolution was in full flow and drilling for oil proved quite a challenge. Their stay in central America was short-lived and Shell decided that Brunei would be better. Life in this area of the world was David’s idea of heaven and the family enjoyed the lifestyle of members’ club swimming pools, sailing and singing as well as amateur dramatics.

When his marriage ended and having met and rekindled his relationship with his childhood sweetheart Elizabeth, the pair consolidated to their new posting in Aberdeen. Coincidentally, The Netherlands was to be the next international posting and David was very much at home, this time with Shell’s American rival UNOCAL.

Round two was also accompanied by a further posting to Borneo. More poolside leisure for the family and sailing for David culminated in one of his favourite postings as he climbed the rankings to Vice President of Operations. On return to the UK as a consultant, David then chose his projects wisely. Baku in Azerbaijan and a short trip to Madras (Chennai) brought new challenges to David’s career path.

Now that Grandchildren were starting to arrive, David and Elizabeth decided to retire to Cornwall. For the next twenty delightful years, the family were able to combine joyous gatherings for Christmas and Easter with all that Cornwall has to offer. Feeling the need to return closer to family, the couple moved to Hampshire in 2013

With the sad loss of Elizabeth in 2019, David spent the last couple of years bravely grieving. With a pandemic to add to the mix, this pioneering petroleum engineer and proud family man came to rest following a sudden heart attack on 10th June 2021. He will be remembered in his professional and personal life as a man with adventurous spirit, tenacious acumen and an absolute blast at parties

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