A DESCENDANT of Teignmouth’s greatest shipbuilders has died aged 95.
Robin Morgan-Giles was the youngest son of Frank Morgan-Giles, founder of the Morgan-Giles shipyard.
His niece Jane Shaddick described him as a “true gentleman” with a “tremendous sense of adventure” who greatly influenced the lives of everyone he met.
Jane, who is the family’s archivist and works on the Morgan-Giles Heritage Project which preserves the family’s history, was close to Robin and said he was like a “surrogate father” after Robin’s death. his own father.
The youngest child of Ivy and Frank Morgan-Giles, Robin, who wrote a story of her own life, said her mother was proud that her children could row almost before they could walk.
He was born in Cliffside, directly on the beach at Marine Parade, Shaldon and aged eight, he was expected to cross the bustling River Teign, struggling with the tides, lots of river traffic and big pennies -verres, in his first canoe at school, a canoe built by his father during his break from service in the First World War.
This canoe is now in the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall.
He attended Clifton College, Bristol from the age of 13, but the school was evacuated to Bude and he left aged 17 in 1943 and joined the Royal Navy.
He spent the rest of World War II working on an expedition ship at Milbay Docks in Plymouth until he contracted pneumonia.
After the war he joined the Merchant Navy, hoping to see the world, but spent two years running a longboat between Plymouth and Exmouth.
A brief stint at Teignmouth Dockyard saw him ‘not okay’ with his father and he went on to earn a degree in mechanical engineering and another career as a management consultant for 25 years.
But upon his early retirement at 55, his seafaring heritage returned, which he described as his “second childhood” and trying to “regain the childhood that Hitler had taken from him”.
For a few years he worked in the delivery of charter yachts in the Mediterranean, but in the late 1980s he decided to buy and convert an ex-RNLI lifeboat.
He converted the disused Three Sisters and traveled across the UK and to the Outer Hebrides and Orkney Islands to the Isles of Scilly. His final years were spent close to his family at their home in Tonbridge, Kent.
A memento from the Morgan-Giles Archives indicates that when Teignmouth was heavily bombed in the Second World War the dockyard was only hit once when bombs fell near Powderham Terrace and the explosion caused damaged the site.
Robin and her father saw the attack from their home in Shaldon and immediately crossed the ferry.
He recalled how he was stationed near the front doors to guard valuable equipment.
Robin was married with two sons and a ‘tribe’ of grandchildren and great-grandchildren and his late partner Margaret spent time with him on his final sea voyages.
The privately funded family archives work closely with the Teign Heritage Museum and have rescued old dinghies built by Morgan-Giles.