John Trevor Baugh 1943 – 1950
We were saddened to learn belatedly of John’s death on the 23rd May 2016. We both knew John well at school as we all started on the same day in 1943 and have many memories of our times together. Being in Bird’s House, Aubrey and John faced each other across the dining table for every meal over seven years. John fully participated in school life and took leading parts in several drama productions (‘Busman’s Honeymoon’ and ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’) and was a notable Sergeant of Police in ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ where he displayed a fine baritone voice despite suspension problems with his trousers. His major sporting interest was cricket, being a very good wicket keeper/batsman, making his first appearance for the First XI as early as the Fifth Form (Year 11). Staying on for a third year in the Sixth Form, he was appointed a Prefect and Captain of Cricket for the 1951 season but, having passed the Civil Service entry examination, he left at the end of the Autumn Term to undertake National Service and so missed the season but, as some compensation, was captain of the cricket team in Singapore where he was posted with the Army. John was a keen golfer in later years, with a handicap as low as 6 for a number of years; we can claim that we were both present when he developed his interest in the game, playing at a pitch and put course in Ryde when we were at school camp on the I-o-W. John had a mischievous streak, an example of which Colin witnessed at a Sixth Form Civics lecture at Colston Girls School where John spent his time flicking pellets at the necks of unsuspecting girls.
Following National Service, John joined the Civil Service where he had a most distinguished career in the Ministry of Defence. He served in a number of increasingly responsible posts, both at home and overseas, beginning as Assistant Naval Stores Officer at Devonport, through Armament Supply Officer in Alexandria to Assistant Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence. In that, and his final position as Director General of Supplies and Transport (Naval) from 1986 until his retirement in 1993, he played an important role in supplying the armed forces in the Falklands War of 1982 and the Gulf War in 1991. Despite his achievements, John was a modest man and it is little known that the United States honoured him for his part in the Gulf war by making him an Honorary Admiral of the US Navy.
John married his first wife Pauline in 1956 but tragedy struck early in the marriage when his wife died from a brain tumour leaving him with three small sons to bring up. Despite the increasing demands of his career, with the assistance of his mother he coped well and in 1981 he found happiness once again when he married Noreen, always known as Paddy, who had two sons and they formed a happy and united family.
One of Paddy’s sons was working in New Zealand and John and Paddy bought a house in Christchurch. For many years they spent the summers in the UK, in Bath, and the winters in New Zealand. In retirement, John was keen on his golf and bridge and, unusually at the age of 60, he learnt to fly and was, we understand, judged by his instructors to be a first class pilot. Misfortune struck again in 2011 when he was in their house in Christchurch at the time of the devastating earthquake and the house literally collapsed around him, fortunately without causing any severe injury. John and Paddy then returned to England permanently where he was unfortunate to be afflicted by Parkinson’s Disease, which increasingly blighted his last years during which he was devotedly nursed by Paddy.
Our deepest sympathy goes to Paddy and the family and we shall always remember our old school friend with affection.
Aubrey Matthews, Colin Richards