Obituary: Jim Devine, long-serving Royal Navy civil servant

Jim Devine
Jim Devine
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Jim Devine, civil servant and Celtic supporter. Born 17 February, 1951, in Renton. Died 3 March, 2017, in Vale of Leven, aged 66.

Jim Devine, who has died of cancer at home in Vale of Leven, was a long-serving civil servant in the Clyde Naval Base at Faslane and Coulport. He was 66.

Jim started his working life as a teenage stores boy in the Royal Naval Torpedo Factory in Alexandria. In 1969, he was transferred to the Garelochside base when the Ministry of Defence closed down the torpedo technology establishment and switched its commitment to nuclear weapons and submarines at Faslane and Glen Douglas.

Jim Devine was a loyal servant of the Ministry for 50 years, during which he gained the South Atlantic Medal, a campaign medal awarded to British military personnel and civilians for service in the Falklands War. He sailed to Port Stanley with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s (RFA) flotilla of supply vessels, which included RFA Regent ; RFA Resource; RFA Fort Austin; RFA Fort Grange, and RFA Stromness, which was attacked by an enemy A-4C Skyhawk, but sustained only minor damage.

Colleagues looked up to Jim whom they admired for his encyclopedic knowledge of every item in the supply stores and on the ships and submarines. According to his brother, Gordon, while he spent his time reading through newspapers and magazines, Jim was engrossed in the MoD inventory for Naval Stores.

He is said to have been a painstaking perfectionist in all he did and a patient manager who was prepared to share information and data with colleagues and young people, whom he helped to train.

Jim Devine was born in Renton, which is accepted as the cradle of Scottish football and home of the eponymous team which won the first World Cup in 1888. He was football crazy.

He was an avid supporter of Celtic Football Club, whose early stars, James Kelly and Neil McCallum also came from Renton and distinguished themselves with the villagers before moving to Parkhead. Jim, who was educated at St Mary’s Primary School in Alexandria, and St Patrick’s High School, Dumbarton, was a handy footballer. He played at school and in fiercely-contested works tournaments before he became a season ticket holder and investor in Celtic.

Jim Devine had huge admiration for the Lisbon Lions and would have been proud, although not pleased, that the funeral of one of his heroes, Tommy Gemmell, the Celtic left back in 1967, took place at the same time as his own on Friday.

Only one thing took precedence over Jim’s career and his football commitments and that was his family. He was happily married to Moira, a bank official in Dunbartonshire, who sadly predeceased him two years ago, and they had two daughters.

Kerri is a doctor, who works as a registrar in a Newcastle hospital, and Meghan is a solicitor with a leading law firm in Glasgow. Kerri sang the psalm and with Meghan did the readings.

Parish priest Father Charles McElwee, celebrated Jim’s funeral Mass at Our Lady and St Mark’s Church, Alexandria.

Two former priests of the parish, Canon Brendan Muztagh, and Father James Docherty, were among the other concelebrants.

Father McElwee, who presided at the final commitment in Vale of Leven Cemetery, told the large congregation that Jim and Moira had both given great service and support to the parish for more than 30 years. They were devoted parents who gave a great example to their daughters by whom they are survived. Moira was an excellent cook and Jim was a talented baker and they both made certain that the priests of the parish were well fed.

Jim’s brother, Gordon, who delivered the eulogy, said his brother was a big music fan, whose favourites included Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music. He said he was proud of him for having lived a full and interesting life during which he took great pleasure and a great deal of pride in his family and friends – and his football team.

Celtic Football Club sent a message of condolence and a wreath to Jim Devine’s funeral.

BILL HEANEY