Tom Galloway and Shell Driver

It is with sadness I report the loss, after a short illness, of long term Sea Breezes follower and valued contributor Captain Tom Galloway.

A Scot brought up at Alloa, he trained for the Merchant Navy at South Shields and after joining Shell, worked his way up to Captain, the youngest to have achieved the rank at that time. Though travelling worldwide and based for a time in West Africa, and though he enjoyed deep-sea, perhaps it was coastal work that he loved best. He is seen here at the head of his London based Shell Driver crew and on the bridge of his coastal tanker Dublin. He became marine superintendent in charge of Shell’s UK fleet of 6 ships when he was then based at Shell Mex house on the Strand, London.

He loved all things nautical whether deep sea, inshore, in port or inland. After retirement, in addition to the odd delivery trip, for ten years he lived aboard and sailed his and friend Lenny’s continental barge based on Amsterdam, and even on return to the UK for four years they lived aboard and voyaged by narrow boat anywhere her 70 foot length could take her on Britain’s waterways, eventually settling in a new house, an ideal ‘lookout’ overlooking the river at North Shields where traffic rarely missed his attention – or his camera.

Two stories: it was said that at sea Tom attracted storms – which he would face with such humour his crews must have forgiven him – and he once told of taking fuel around SW Ireland to Galway and with no warning forecast having to surmount giant Atlantic rollers and breaking seas. His ship was more or less submerged the whole way.

He also delighted in taking Dublin from Heysham or Stanlow up the rural winding and shallow River Dee to deliver petrol to the Shell-BP Kirkudbright depot. A trip where he said his bow wave would scatter panicking cattle on its tsunami like progress across the nearby dairy fields at high tide. No wonder he enjoyed canal and river-boating.

His experience, his vast range of anecdotes, and his humour and enthusiasm will be so sadly missed.

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - October 2017 Issue
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