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John Albert Seymour 1927-2015

Palaeontologist who worked in minerals prospecting, mainly in Africa, before returning to the UK to work with Robertson Research.

tr7iJohn Seymour spent most of his professional life working in prospecting for minerals mainly as a palaeontologist.  From October 1945 to July 1948 John was in military service ending up as a Warrant Officer in the Royal Army Education Corps. After leaving he studied geology at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth gaining a BSc (Upper Second) in 1952. 

Field geologist

His first job was as a field geologist working for the British Colonial Geological Service in Hargeisa in the then British Somaliland from September 1952 until September 1953 where he carried out field mapping and a general minerals survey around Mandera now in northeast Kenya. He moved to northern Nigeria working as Assistant Chief Geologist and Chief Prospector in the area for the Finsbury Pavement House Group where he remained until November 1955.  He then joined BP Exploration Company initially in Dar-es-Salaam in Tanganyika as a trainee microbiologist and was then seconded to the head office laboratory and research centre in Aldgate as a microbiologist working under the Chief Palaeontologist Dr F E Eames. 

In mid-1957 he was transferred to the Eakring oil field in Nottinghamshire and then the Plungar oil field in Leicestershire.  He was posted to Abu Dhabi in January 1958, where he was responsible for establishing a field laboratory on Das Island for the first BP off-shore exploratory drilling programme. He was seconded to the International Oil Consortium in southern Iran from 1959-61. From 1961-64 he worked as Assistant Professor teaching physical geography and palaeontology at Haile Selassie University in Addis Ababa and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1964.  The same year he moved to Wellington, New Zealand as Scientific Editor for the Soil Science Bureau. 

Publications officer

In 1965-67 he worked for the Federal Geological Survey of Nigeria as the Publications officer and in January 1968 he was appointed as Senior Geologist and Micropalaeontologist for Gulf Oil working in Angola until 1971 when he joined Robertson Research International in North Wales as Senior Micropalaeontologist/Biostratigrapher.  He was mainly based at Robertson’s head office in North Wales until his retirement in 1987 although he had a spell in Jakarta during 1975.

John was a Fellow of the Society from 1961 and was an enthusiastic supporter of the Institution of Geologists serving on the Council for two terms including being an Honorary Secretary from 1987 – 1990.  He was also served as Treasurer to the Distinguished Geologists Memorial Trust from its formation in 1986 to 1998.

John Seymour was born on 26 May 1927 in Small Heath, Birmingham to Henry James Seymour and Janet Seymour (née Biddle).  He married Maisie Winifred and they had a son and a daughter.  He separated from his wife, who died in 1987, and then married Joan, his long-time friend, in May 1988. 

He retired on 1 June 1987 and although he had plans to work as an independent consultant he became a house-husband and also managed a large garden that he loved.  He was plagued by ill-health in later years and died on 5 March 2015.  He is survived by Joan together with his children from his first marriage and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

By Rick Brassington