Obituary: Graham Brown FIQ
Institute of Quarrying pays tribute to former Wellington bomber pilot and lifelong IQ member
A FORMER World War II Wellington bomber pilot and lifelong Institute of Quarrying (IQ) member, Graham Brown FIQ from Somerset, sadly passed away just shy of his 96th birthday at the start of April 2019. With 62 years’ continuous membership, Graham was among the longest-serving members of IQ and a familiar face around the West of England branch. He joined IQ as an Affiliate Member in 1957 and successfully worked his way up through the membership grades, achieving Fellow in 1978. Closer to home, Graham served as deputy chair of the West of England branch from 1968 to 1969 and as chairman in 1970 and 1971. He remained an IQ member until his death.
Ian Brown is major project manager at Tarmac’s Mountsorrel Quarry and, as Graham’s nephew, kept in close contact with his uncle after his retirement. Ian said: ‘Graham was always interested to hear the latest quarrying news from me, particularly as I was involved in operating some of the largest quarries in the UK and North America for Redland, Lafarge and Tarmac. ‘Graham trained as a Wellington bomber pilot in World War II. I believe he crossed the Atlantic for his training in Canada aboard the Queen Mary, which survived the U-boat threat as it was much faster. There are stories of bombing raids over occupied Europe and the Middle East. Apparently, Lord Louis Mountbatten was one of his passengers in Iraq at some point during the war. Long after his retirement, his love for the industry remained. When he was well into his 90s he enjoyed spending time helping Robin Thornes with the compilation of the Mendip Quarry Faces book and exhibition.’
After the war, Graham studied civil engineering at Bristol University, subsequently working as an operations manager for Somerset County Council for more than 30 years. One of his early projects was to transform Underwood Quarry, near Wells, from hand-loading to a fully mechanical operation. This cost £97,000 (£3.2 million today) including the installation of a Pegson 20B gyratory crusher. Graham was later an area operations manager, which included Dial and Shipham Hill quarries, as well as Underwood. James Thorne, chief executive officer of the Institute of Quarrying, said: ‘I was saddened to hear of Graham’s passing. It is people like Graham that are the lifeblood of our Institute. His commitment, contribution and passion for the industry throughout a very long life is to be celebrated. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.’