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Peter Kelly

Peter Kelly, former IWA trustee and IWA West Country Branch member died on 8th February 2022, aged 83.

Peter John Louis Kelly was born in Portsmouth on 24th March 1938. He attended Colchester Royal Grammar School but decided that the academic world was not for him.

Working Life

At the remarkably young age of 15, Peter joined the Royal Navy as a Boy Seaman Grade II. Here his hidden talents flourished and he made his way steadily through the ranks.

[The photo shows a recent picture of Peter Kelly near his home at Saltash, Cornwall]


He became a highly regarded captain of the survey ship HMS Woodlark and eventually commander of a fleet of three ships. On his retirement from the Royal Navy, he took up a position with the Sultan of Oman, where he had stewardship of the Royal Yacht and also learnt Arabic; no mean feat in itself.

Returning to the UK, Peter became treasurer of the Hydrographics Society, a position he held for 20 years.

He bought a narrowboat, nb Sharazad, and joined IWA, where he made many friends. He was an IWA Trustee, as chairman of IWA’s South West Region, from 2002 to 2009.


Peter Kelly represented South West Region on the Navigation Committee for nine years, and was region secretary from 2009 to 2013. He also edited Sou’Wester for five years. It was only in recent years that Peter ceased being captain of his own narrowboat, having had a water-based life for more than 60 years.

Peter met Jackie in 1960, they married in 1965 and had 38 years together until Jackie died in 2003.