I’ve just learned that a good friend of mine, John Pallot has died, he was 82.
I first met John in the mid ’80s, when we were both members of the Plains Club, in Christchurch.
The Plains Club was set up in an attempt to save the ANZUS Alliance. Many members were ex-military (John was a former Royal navy commander), apalled at the Labour Government’s shameful treatment of our US and Australian allies, over the nuclear issue.
I was a younger member and a bit of a hothead. John was a moderating influence on myself and the other younger activists.
He encouraged us to research the “peace movement” however. We expected to find a few commies in the movement. We didn’t expect to find that the commies totally controlled the movement.
That research, began more than 20 years ago, formed the backbone of the anti-communist profiles often featured in this blog.
Though he spoke like an Eton educated aristocrat, John was a 5th generation Kiwi, born, I think, in Gisborne.
His family took him to England in the ’30s, where John joined the Royal Navy as a young teenager.
John served in WW2, then stayed in the Navy, serving as a commander during the Suez Crisis of ’56.
John served in “J Force” in Japan after the war, where he fell in love with both Japanese culture and his new bride and lifelong companion.
In the late’ 40s John studied at the School for African and Oriental Studies in London, where he developed his understanding of Chinese culture. Years later he realised that one of his classmates was Gordon Lonsdale. Ostensibly a Canadian businessman, Lonsdale was in fact Soviet masterspy, Konon Molody, later arrested and exchanged over a Navy spy scandal.
John was always highly suspicious of the Soviet Union, but was pretty soft on China. He always thought the best of China, mainly because of his love for oriental culture. This caused some hot debates between us, but I’m pretty sure John began to see through China’s friendly facade in recent years.
John was a real patriot and a brilliant networker and bridge-builder. He worked through National, but always supported ACT. He was active in the NZ Defense Association, the Navy League, the NZ International Affairs Association and helped organise countless conferences, meetings and think tanks.
Almost all his political activities were centred around defence, particularly naval and maritime security issues.
John was a real gentleman. He was one of the cheeriest and most optimistic people I have ever met.
One of his two daughters June, a prominent accounting lecturer, died of cancer, a couple of years ago. Though deeply saddened, John never faltered and was soon back to networking and organising for the defence of his country.
John Pallot was a great friend.
Till we meet again.