John Wheaton

It is with the deepest regret that we have to advise readers of the sudden death of Mr. S.J. Wheaton, Superintendent, on 12th April 1979.
John Wheaton joined the Company in September 1957 as a Junior Engineer. Showing outstanding ability from the outset, he was promoted successively Junior Fourth Engineer, Fourth Engineer, then jumped a rank to Second Engineer by July 1960, finally sailing as Chief Engineer in August 1964.
Appointed Superintendent in 1967, he was taken off normal duties at the end of that year and, together with Captain M.G.B. Thomas, took an intensive Management Training Course at the Royal Naval College at Portsmouth, which was used to good effect in subsequent years to completely overhaul the Technical Department, Ship Operation, Survey and Planned Maintenance procedures.
In 1973, John Wheaton transferred to the Oil Rig Department, which was just being set up and, with easy adaptability, soon gained a full understanding of this new technology and became Engineering Manager of the Drilling Rigs in 1976.
In 1978 he returned to his main interest - Ships - and was placed in charge of the commissioning, in Japan, of the first of a new class of high speed, highly sophisticated, automated vessels being complete, of which we are the Managers. He had not long returned from this when his death came.
Exceptionally talented and modest, John Wheaton was always ready to give assistance and to explain highly technical problems to even the most junior non-technical staff. This likeable man will be sorely missed by colleagues in the Company and in the Shipping Industry and we offer our deepest sympathy to Mrs. Wheaton and their son, Roger.

A Memorial Service for Mr. John Wheaton was held on Sunday, 29th April 1979, at Chepstow Methodist Church, which was attended by many of his friends and colleagues in Cardiff. His colleagues from our London Office, together with Danbury Drilling and Atlantic Drilling Company, were also represented.
The Service was one which those who attended felt John himself would have liked and the Minister gave an appreciation of John’s work, not only in the Company, but also in his Church and spoke of his devotion to his family.
As an appropriate tribute to John Wheaton, we publish a poem which has come
to our notice, which was written by his son, Roger, and published in his
School Magazine.

I love the life on board our boat,
Away from traffic and the roads:
I’ll have my fishing line and float,
I see some water-rats and toads.
The moorhen with her little chicks,
Swims in and out among the reeds.
She builds her nest with mud and sticks,
Among the safety of the weeds.
We have to work so many locks,
And there we take the greatest care,
In case we slip and wet our socks,
Or, even worse, maybe our hair.
The dinghy is tied on behind,
And when we moor up for the night,
It is a change, I often find,
To row in her - it's my delight.
I often take some friends with me,
They seem to like the outdoor fun.
To fish, and row and play you see,
Until our holidays are done.
Roger Wheaton, Form 6, 12 years.

Printed from the Reardon Smith Newsletters Nos 111 & 112.