P1020951It is frequently a hard task to do justice to somebody with a few words and, as such, John Divall proves no exception.

He was born 28 April 1943 and eventually went into production engineering as a career. He worked with water filtration systems and then in tyre production with Pirelli. He turned to education and spent 30 years teaching maths and physics, first at the King’s Grammar School in Grantham, then at Spalding High School for Girls. At both places he was respected and remembered with great fondness. Between these two posts, he spent 10 years instructing the Saudi Air Force in the scientific knowledge they would require. From these times, many of us recall a myriad of amusing tales. John was never, in these early days an historian – something to be radically altered when he married Carole, an English teacher with a great enthusiasm for classical literature and the Georgian period. Carole and John began to share an enduring passion for the French Republican and Imperial Wars. This was new territory for John, since he had not even sat history at ‘O’ level!

Carole and John became enrolled into what is now the Waterloo Association after an encounter with ex-secretary John White. They have become deeply and most supportively involved with the Association. With John’s great support, Carole has written four books and delivered many lectures. He set up Carole’s personal and very dynamic website.

John was an active supporter of the Waterloo200 Education committee. For the latter, he acted as a proactive editor-in-chief, rectifying inefficiencies, and helping to design and build the site, giving tireless hours of work and loving enthusiasm. By connecting with sundry bodies and engaging with social media, he proved an invaluable member of Waterloo200. Carole and John have stimulated and visited many schools, where their enthusiasm and knowledge have proved infectious. His strong support for Carole was plainly obvious and we all thought of them as a powerful team. Carole, has now been well established as a knowledgeable military historian. She and John made great inroads into taking Waterloo200 into education – enthusing many pupils and teachers alike.

A keen and able sailor, his love of the boats he owned was evident. He would entertain all with tales of his exploits, mishaps and challenges.

John was a driving force, an innovator and a man whose brain was packed with common sense. He was able to see the ‘wood for the trees’ and not afraid to speak his mind where ineffectual or wrongful issues were evident. His amusing and engaging manner was infectious and his sterling efforts for causes he believed in will be sorely missed. Carole is shouldering much of the burden left by John’s departure. We all wish her and her family, sincere condolences and success with her career.