Tributes paid to popular former port pilot in Yarmouth

Duncan Johnson died on August 17. Picture: The Johnson family

Duncan Johnson died on August 17. Picture: The Johnson family - Credit: Archant

A former pilot at Great Yarmouth Port has died at the age of 87.

For 21 years Duncan Johnson was in charge of manoeuvring ships which came to dock in the town.

A mariner since the age of 15, Mr Johnson's life revolved around the sea for shipping company Stephenson Clark.

Born in Hartlepool in 1928, his career took him to all over the world, to distant places like Australia, Japan and South America.

After 25 years he rose to the position of ship master, and was involved in the maiden voyage of the Methane Pioneer, the first ship to carry liquid gas from the USA to Britain.

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Back on dry land, after courting for nearly four years, Mr Johnson proposed to his future wife Jean in 1964, and they got married five days later.

Mrs Johnson, 90, recalls their brief engagement saying it was a fun time.

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'I went to the department store and bought a dress and asked for it to be shortened. When I asked for it to be done by the weekend they said it couldn't be done, but when I told them I was getting married on Saturday, they told me to come in on the Friday.'

In December 1966 the couple moved down south to a house in Batley Avenue, Gorleston, and never moved again.

'He wasn't bothered about going anywhere else in the world but Gorleston,' Mrs Johnson said.

Friend, former shipmate and port colleague Brian Rudd said: 'He knew what it was all about. He was quiet and not flamboyant but he knew what was going on.'

A keen golfer, Mr Johnson was a member of Gorleston Golf Club for many years, a passion which his wife described as being 'his true love.'

She added 'he was a gentleman, quiet and unassuming.'

Mr Johnson died at home in his sleep on August 17.

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