James Ockwell


passed away peacefully on 7th February 2008

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This web site has been set up as a memorial to Jimmy
  If you have photographs or memories of Jimmy you would like to share please e-mail them to

Sun 10/02/2008 10:42

Hi Wendy & Neville – Good to hear from you. Tough time though. I arrived here in Brisbane today – as did our Mom and sister Ailene. Athol is arriving on Tuesday and we are looking forward to seeing him.
We like the idea of the ‘tribute site’
Thank you very much for thinking of us all – and for remembering Jim so fondly! Will be in touch some more and hopefully get some photos for you as well.
Cheers and love from us all,

Sent: 08 February 2008 13:57

Dear Margaret,

I was in touch again with Jim for a time between 2001 and 2003.  We even "talked" with VOIP over the internet for several months and I saw pictures of the children and saw them on the webcam too. Suddenly around 2004 he stopped communicating with me completely and ignored all attempts to 'converse' any longer. I don't understand why and this is not the time to wonder- but it was a pity. I had spent months tracking him down before that. Before we 're-connected' I had last seen him in London in 1981 I think. We played Rugby for Wasps in North London together and lived in the house in Clarendon Gardens in Wembley. It was the best of times.
Tell him I am thinking of him and that he still owes me for the pint I bought him in 1969 outside the Pig and Whistle when I first met him and he conned me into buying him one so he could show me how to drink it down in less than 5 seconds (which he proceeded to do by the way.) The last time I told him that he was semi concious in a hospital in London after his motorcycle accident with Athol. I remember he smiled through the pain. He was and will always remain a good friend. We go back a long way and shared many interesting experiences.
If I could I would fly there now and be with him. We would have a good laugh at some of the more outrageous things we have done. But I can't. Take good care of him. He is more of a man and friend than he knew himself to be. We all knew what was behind the gruff tough exterior. Pure heart and goodwill.
Jeremy Swanson

Sent: 08 February 2008 17:17

Hi Margaret,

            Our thoughts and prayers are with you, the kids and the rest of your families. It is such a pity that we never met you guys, but I hope that you feel our support nonetheless.

             I last said farewell to him when I left London to fly back to SA at the end of 1981 but life sure takes us along different roads – I believe that we will meet again in a different place and I look forward to that.

             All our love from Cape Town, South Africa

           CHRIS & Sue & family  

Sent: 08 February 2008 14:33

Well, it sounds like a terrible disease and all I can say is thank God that Jimmy didn’t have to suffer too long and hope and pray that he and is family will be at peace. Thanks for all the fun times Jimmy – especially the Ship episode! Rest in Peace.


Sent: 08 February 2008 15:04

All I remember are the Good times........Camping, Parties, Braais, Plettenberg Bay, his old brown Volksie, Jimmy working at the Old Mutual, his infectious laugh, his tan, his rugby shorts on the beach, gallons of Tassies and much more besides......

That's how I remember him and always will.
Go in peace Jimmy my friend.........

Sent: 11 February 2008 07:48

What sudden and very, very sad news.

Athol, I understand you will be attending the funeral. Please do me the favour of passing on sincere condolences from the Karstel family, one small part of the SA chapter in Jimmy’s colourful life. I know that his family will not know us, but it is important that they know how fondly we remember Jimmy, and of the positive and happy impact he had on my life, SACS, Craven week, Forries, Plett, turfed off the ship bound for NZ, the UK chapter and many, many more.

Take care and all the very best to you and your family.

Best wishes


Sent: 11 February 2008 19:54

Dear Margaret, Michelle and Family,

I remember many a good time at 142 & visiting many of the old "haunts" with Jimmy.  Suprisingly we did arrive back once feeling "sober".  Going to the Greenman springs to mind on a cold day. Jimmy wearing shorts, T shirt and slops. How he did not freeze I still do not know.

Although I have lost contact since 1984-5, we often (Mary & I) think of Jimmy and Margeret and have been updated periodically by Nev & Wendy.

We offer our condolence and strength to the family on this sad occasion.

Fondest regards

Rob & Mary Burke 

Sun 06/04/2008 02:57

Dear Margaret & Family

I am so sorry to hear that Jimmy has left us. I remember him from 142 in Wembley,

his dry sense of humour a smile and a bottle of beer in his hand are the picture I have of him at

the many braais parties and celebrations we had, and just simply hanging out at “The House”.

I contacted him a couple of years ago, he spoke of his children with such pride and love, and we recounted some of the laughs we had back in the UK.

It was clear that Jimmy loved life

I pray that you have strength at this time, my deepest sympathies and thoughts are with you.

With much Love

Angela Hooke (nee Chalk)

Gold Coast, OZ

Thu 15/05/2008 14:11

I was dismayed to hear of Jimmy's death earlier this year. Jimmy and I had grown up together in Oranjemund and known one another from probably 6 yrs old. We enjoyed life together and in the early years fun was about riding our bikes to the Orange river and fishing and camping at the mouth of the river, going to the bioscope on Saturdays and playing in the trees.

Later we enjoyed experiencing the first illegal tastes of alcohol. In our late teens I had the pleasure of visiting him several times in CT and sleeping on his floor after some very serious partying at a number of different venues - Pig and Whistle being one of them. It was all about living life to the full!

In the mid 70's he came to visit me in London where I was studying at the time - again the intake of alcohol clouds my memory on what we did but I think Earl's Court was well frequented.

Sadly we did not maintain good contact when I returned to SA in 1976 but he was often in my thoughts.

When I heard of his illness last year I tried to make contact with him to let him know how much I valued him as a person and the fun times and friendship we had enjoyed. Unfortunately I never managed to tell him this personally.

My condolensces to all his family on the sad loss of Jimmy, he was a great guy and left his mark.

Mike Kilbride

Mon 02/06/2008 05:38

It was with great regret that I learned of Jimmy's passing.

We grew up together. He and his parents were our next door neighbours for many years.

There are many things that I remember and the great times we had as kids. Sadly after boarding school we each went our seperate ways and lost contact. I tried many times to trace him and had hoped he would have responded once having his mail address.

I was never aware that he was ill at all. I wanted to let him know that the girl I eventually married actually lived in the same house that he grew up in. In Oranjemund Jimmy's old friends still have cine film of when we were kids and would have liked to share a few old stories with you something which sadly will have to wait awhile.

However just writing this has caused me to shed a few tears so till we meet again

Clive Symes


I was a pal and dorm mate of Jimmy's in Rosedale at SACS in Newlands, but sadly lost  contact with him after school when I moved to Durban.

1969 was our matric year and Jimmy invited me to spend the September holidays with him and his family in Oranjemund. Needless to say with Jimmy as host I had an absolute ball tagging behind him as he goodheartedly partied and rampaged during those 10 days.  The Ockwells were a lovely family - if I remember clearly his dad was a diesel fitter or mechanic and his Mom had been a policewoman at some stage in the UK. His two younger sisters Michelle and Aiileen went to Wynberg Girls High.  Jimmy, That great guffawing laugh when his head would roll back and his whole body would share the amusement.   He was a very strong boy indeed. I remember how he he turned to shot put and with the worlds worst technique used brute strength to become our best athlete. I remember another occasion when Jimmy let loose with one punch against a fellow boarder who truly deserved it for incessantly if foolishly riding Jimmy which neatly removed the pests four front teeth.  But violence was never the mark of the man - He was simply a lovely big bugger who grabbed life shook to all hell then held it close. I am so sorry I never caught up with him again.

John Shenfield




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