Click on photograph for a link to gallery of Oscar photos

Click here for Oscar's obituary in the Guardian Newspaper

Oscar Wallis, who died at home aged 96, was a merchant seaman, lifelong Quaker, conscientious objector and teacher. When his father's grocery shop in Scarborough went out of business in the Great Depression, Oscar was sent to sea as a ship's apprentice. His first voyage, aged 16, was to Calcutta, and he spent four years aboard s.s. Malancha and s.s. Mahronda, carrying locomotives, boilers, buses and sections of the Hooghly bridge to India, returning with tea, rubber, jute, spices... and on one occasion 50 monkeys, which all escaped their cages. Oscar's sea stories, later published in 'A Quaker at Sea' include cleaning out bucketloads of cockroaches which had eaten the cork lining of the ship's refrigerator, and finding a live cormorant in his cabin, deposited by a crew member humouring his keen interest in birdwatching.

In 1941, Oscar refused to attend gunnery training and was called to meet his company's directors at Cunard House in Liverpool. Stating that no-one else had raised objections they tried to change his mind, finally giving in and asking whether he'd work on board a hospital ship. For the rest of the war he served on s.s. Aba, receiving wounded soldiers from the fighting fronts, and conveying them to safety; one vivid memory was the throwing overboard of soldier's rifles and grenades when things got 'hot' and the ship had to quickly up-anchor. The crew were proud that their Anglican Chaplain, nicknamed 'Monty' was Field Marshall Montgomery's brother. Oscar's last voyage involved transporting Russian prisoners of war from Strathclyde to Murmansk, then straight down to the Congo to rescue stranded Belgian civilians.

Shocked at the destruction of Hamburg, Oscar joined Friends Relief Service, which involved distributing food and clothing to war-torn Europe, where he met Annette Catchpool. Throughout 67 years of marriage the couple worked tirelessly for peace, marching to Aldermaston, campaigning against cruise missiles at RAF Molesworth and holding a weekly peace vigil in their home town of Leicester.
Oscar taught woodwork and religious studies, and with a love of words over many years translated the gospels into English, exploring each word and phrase. In 1965 he became Head of Whanganui Friends School, New Zealand, the family returning to England via the trans-Siberian railway in 1970. Oscar was adored by his family, 10 grandchildren and great-grandson Osian. A Quaker outreach poster celebrating Oscar and Annette's lifelong commitment to peace may be familiar to readers.