Farewell 'Mr DESO 20' - Julian Grant (1945-2012)

6 July 2012

Julian Grant pictured on HQS Wellington accepting the award of Emeritus Membership - June 2010At the request of his family, it is with profound sadness that the Society announces the death, yesterday, of Julian Grant. His untimely passing at the age of just 67 comes just two months after the death of fellow Emeritus Member and Founding President Rear Admiral Steve Ritchie.

Like Steve, Julian will be remembered for his passionate, invaluable and enduring contributions to the Society over the last four decades - most notably during the often difficult period of transition from the old THS and UK Branch to IFHS and THS UK respectively.

For many, Julian is synonymous with the early meetings of the UK Branch's Home Counties West Region (later to become the Southern Region) most of which took place in 'The Magpie' pub in Lower Sunbury-on-Thames -and are now part of the Society's folklore. But it was his outstanding dedication to the Society over the last 20 years that was recognised in June 2010 when a very surprised Julian became the 12th person to be accorded the honour of Emeritus Membership. Having been elected Vice-Chairman, and later Chairman, of the Southern Region in 1991, he continued to served that Region until 2003. By 1993 Julian had succeeded fellow Emeritus Member, Mike Wright, as the UK Branch-elected Member of Council of The Hydrographic Society; he effectively retained that status until the incorporation of the Federation in 2004.

Julian was elected Chairman of Council of THS in May 2000. The first meeting under his helm was arguably one of the most important in the history of the Society. It was during that two-day gathering that the notion of the national Branches becoming autonomous national hydrographic societies, within an umbrella organisation, now known as the International Federation of Hydrographic Societies, was fist mooted. That the concept eventually became reality is a testament to Julian's unremitting resolve and dedicated leadership.

Julian began his career as a shipboard Radio Officer before migrating into hydrographic equipment support, initially working with the late David Vyner, before suceeding him as the UK agent for Atlas in 1978. His commitment and attention to detail earned Julian the industry-wide sobriquet 'Mr DESO 20' - one which stuck for years to come. After a sabbatical during which he indulged his love of food while owning and running a gastro-pub, Julian re-entered the hydrographic world running training courses for TSS in the USA, before joining Trimble as the EMEA Sales Manager in 1992 and then finally Leica. He subsequently retired from hydrography in 2009 to pursue his other abiding interests - most notably working and showing his heavy horses.

Julian will be greatly missed by all and the Society extends its deepest sympathies to his family.

A more detailed obituary and appreciations will be published in Soundings and The Hydrographic Journal. Anyone wishing to add anecdotes or photographic contributions to these tributes is invited to send material to helen@ths.org.uk before the end of July.

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