August 04 - 11 , 2000


 Coastweek   Kenya

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Coastweek - - Well-known and respected mariner, John 'Joss' Jocelyn Grimwood passed away during the evening of 1st July 2000 after an illness bravely borne. 

Brave was perhaps a bye word for Joss. 

Schooled at Nakuru Primary School and the 'Duke of York' (Lenana) Nairobi, Joss decided whilst he was still a lad that he wanted the life of a mariner. 

Perhaps being born in 1941 when sub-marine warfare and convoys running the gauntlet had something to do with it. 

(‘Boys Own’ magazine comes to mind ?)

He completed his schooling and then joined British India lines as a Cadet in the early 60’s where during which time he was commended for "his act of self disregard and heroism in saving the lives of over 25 passengers" onboard a vessel which had caught fire off Dubai in 1961. 

Joss was cadet on the ill-fated B. & I. cargo-passenger ship “Dara” at the time. 

He then spent several years based in Southampton sailing with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, where he was one of the youngest First Offficers in the Service. 

Later on, and with four gold stripes on each shoulder he took command in Mombasa of various ‘Southern Line’ vessels, and quickly earned a reputation of being able to shave a day or two off the voyage between ports taking full advantage of the various currents close in. 

Joss perhaps made sailing too close to the wind a trait. 

“Doing a Joss” I understand was a family reflection upon anyone going too close to the edge. 

Never fearing to have a go and putting in a little extra where other such angels might fear to tread. 

His navigational efforts in the annual "Kenya Rhino Charge" would lay testimony.

After leaving Southern Lines, Joss joined the Tanzania Harbours Authority as Harbour Master Dar es Salaam and later the Kenya Ports Authority as Pilot in Kilindini.

At this time he was a member of the Mombasa Yacht Club, and together with his wife Sue, weekends would see him out working on their family plot in the Shimba Hills. 

He then joined Murri International, the locally based salvage company and took command of the “Bison 1” the most powerful salvage tug in these waters at the time participating in a number of salvages. 

The more notable perhaps is being that of the “Ariadne” at Mogadishu in 1986. 

A brief stint ashore with McLarens Toplis followed, but Joss was like a fish out of water. 

Then came the debacle which continues in Somalia, Joss ‘head hunted’ by the Military Sealift Command during 'Operation Hope' (Somalia 1992) for his vast experience in these waters, was appointed Chief Civilian Pilot and accorded Naval Officer status at Mogadishu during the operations there. 

That came to an end, and Joss then took over command of the “Winston Churchill” an ex motor yacht of the Brethren of Trinity Lighthouses. 

I could never stop being amused by the way Joss would use / enunciate the word “quite” when he was in agreement. 

So, if Joss were to read this, I’d hope he’d forgive any errors and say, “Quite”. 

Described at as ‘Cadet Hero’ in the British and international press of 1961. 

Cadet no longer, though he’ll forever remain a hero in his family’s eyes. 

To paraphrase Ecclesiates 1:7 

'All the mariners run into the sea; 
yet the sea is not full; 
unto the place from whence mariners come; 
thither they return again.'

Sincere condolences to Sue now living in U.K. and sons Richard (a Major with the Royal Artillery) and Simon (a talented glass blower in Bristol). 

- Gordon Cuthbert, Mombasa.





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