John Frederick Northam 47A

14590530 WO1 (ASM)  REME 29th August 1932 – 23rd January 2015

John Northam came from an extended military family background. His father, E.F.W. Northam retired from the REME as a Major and so it was no surprise that John enrolled into boy service in 1947 at the Exeter recruiting office (aged 14) and then completed more than 28 years army service before retiring in 1975.

After attending the army technical school at Arborfield (intake 47A) John transferred to REME himself as a fitter and completed his Artificer training in 1957. He was subsequently trained in works study at the Royal Military College and saw service in Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore during this time.

Also in 1957 and by now a S/Sgt. John met and married June in Harwich. Shortly after their wedding they were posted to Cyprus where their two children Christopher and Suzanne were born.

Whilst back at home in 1963 John was promoted to WOII which preceded postings to Malaya, Singapore and BAOR before finally arriving permanently back in the UK with the rank of WOI (ASM) in 1972 and finally retiring from the forces in 1975 when his service conduct was noted as ‘Exemplary’.

These service notes (handwritten by the OIC at that time) also stated that John “is a calm, confident man with much experience as a man manager and organiser………particularly able at combining his engineering knowledge and workshop practice with his work study training and experience… a most reliable and completely trustworthy man”.

In the 1980/90’s John was back at  Arborfield college as an Instructor and it was his brain child to start newsletters for the AOBA; this developed into OBAN making him it’s first editor.

John died on 23rd January 2015 after a long period of suffering from acute emphysema (C.O.P.D.) and he leaves his wife June, daughter Suzanne and son Christopher.

John’s funeral took place on 20th February 2015 at Hawkinge Crematorium in Kent with a good few  ex-Arborfield old boys voluntarily present. John’s wish was that any donations be made, if desired, to the Army Benevolent Fund as the army was his life.

                                                 Dieu et mon droit

Leave a Reply