On leaving the ‘TS General Botha’ David joined the Anglo Saxon Petroleum Company, part of the Shell Group of companies. His first ship as a deck officer apprentice was the tanker ‘Acavus’.
David served with Shell as an apprentice and deck officer until 1959, when on gaining an Extra Master’s Certificate of Competency he moved to Plymouth College of Technology where he took up a position as a Lecturer in Nautical Studies. Alongside teaching professional mariners, David was involved in establishing the first undergraduate degree courses in Nautical Studies in the United Kingdom. He was a founder member of the Plymouth Nautical Degree Association (PYNDA), an alumni organisation in which he maintained an interest to the last.
He progressed to the post of Principal Lecturer and in 1973 was chosen to head up the Department of Shipping and Transport of what was then Plymouth Polytechnic.
During his period as Head of Department he developed the annual Galbraith’s shipping course – a joint venture between industry and academia. He stated that ‘getting into bed with Galbraiths was one of the best things that happened to the school’. He also gained a Doctorate of Philosophy entitled “Organisational Analysis in Shipping”’ and wrote a classic book on the “The Human Element of Shipping”.
He was accepted as a member of the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations, a membership which gave him great satisfaction.
Further promotion in 1980 saw David established as Dean of the Faculty of Maritime Studies, a position which he held until 1986. His time as Dean coincided with a deep recession in the world economy which hit the British shipping industry hard. In 1987 David was awarded the title of Professor of Shipping.
Always keen to ensure that his teaching was well informed about the shipping industry in 1978 he created his own consultancy ‘Marine Intelligence Ltd’ and for five years, between 1984-89 was Director of Jayship Ltd a company which owned and operated handy sized bulk carriers. He engaged in many professional activities and was elected as a Fellow of the Nautical Institute, an international professional body of mariners.
Re-structuring of higher education in Devon created Polytechnic South West and led to a substantive re-organisation. The change saw David revert to become the Head of the Shipping and Transport Group within a newly formed Institute of Marine Studies. In 1990 David retired and for the next four years was involved as Visiting Professor to the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania.
During his retirement he faced many personal difficulties. In 1994 he underwent an operation to remove his larynx – due to cancer. After the laryngectomy he suffered a full cardiac arrest. He proudly stated he had seen the other side, but was not ready to go. For 16 years he fought ill health with determination never to be beaten. In 2008 he had both legs amputated and was learning to walk with artificial limbs. However in late April 2010 whilst undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, his heart was unable to cope and he slipped peacefully away.
David never forgot his roots as a seafarer. He was an inspiring and encouraging teacher. His influence among the many hundreds of seafarers and students with whom he came into contact was impressive. He gained respect from the leaders of the international shipping industry through his writings and conference orations. He was passionate in his interest and encouraging to all. His work in forecasting the manpower issues which faced the British shipping industry following the 1980s recession was a precursor to the development of the United Kingdom government’s policy, ‘Charting a New Course’.
The motto of the TS General Botha was ‘Honour and Duty’. In both respects David lived his life – a fine example to all who follow.
David leaves his devoted wife Betty and two sons, Roy and Colin, of whom he was very proud.