Former Second World War sea captain from Garstang and Blackpool dies

Captain John Beatson
Captain John Beatson
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Tributes have been paid to a former Second World War sea captain who has died aged 91.

Captain John Beatson was born in Blackpool, but spent his youth living above Storeys Weind and in Kepple Lane, Garstang with his parents Eva and John, three bothers, Peter, Terry and Rodney, and sister Brenda.

He attended Garstang St Thomas’ School and later Lancaster Royal Grammar School.

In 1941, at the age of 15 he joined the merchant navy as an officer cadet. Not long after he enlisted, his cargo ship was torpedoed in the Atlantic. He spent four days afloat on a raft before he was rescued and taken to Brazil.

A few years later his ship narrowly escaped being hit by German Stuka bombers as he watched the two ships either side of him, which were carrying ammunition and explosives, being blown up.

After the war, John continued his Merchant Marine service with Elder and Fyffe Line and was promoted to the rank of Captain Master Mariner.
He retired from the sea in 1968 and moved back to Garstang to be with his wife, Joan and two children, John and Sandra. He relocated to Edinburgh, a year later, where he worked with the Marine Biological and Survey Unit.

Four years later, his work took him to Plymouth.
On retiring from his job the grandfather-of-three moved to Coventry, where his Sandra, cared for him and his late wife, Joan.

John’s brother, Peter, 88, of Garstang, said: “John was a gentleman of the first order and will be very much missed by all who knew him. He was a very brave man and was very well respected. He had been suffering from prostate cancer but was cheerful to the end.
“He was a member of the well known Beatson family and our mum, Eva, was from the Langs, who owned quite a lot of Garstang land.”
John died on December 2 in Coventry, where he had lived for more than 20 years.
His funeral is expected to take place in Coventry later this month. A date is yet to be fixed.