James Rowan 1921 to 2012

James Rowan 1921 to 2012

Jim was born in Edinburgh in 1921 where his father was a customs officer in Leith docks. He had two elder sisters Betty and Nan and a younger brother Jock. Jim attended the Royal High School from the age of five until the age of 15/16. Jim started school at the Royal High primary at Regent Road, transferring in 1931 to the newly-built primary school at Jock’s lodge, before returning to Regent Road for his secondary schooling.

Jim joined the Merchant Navy in 1939 after the start of the Second World War as a radio officer, a third of his classmates didn’t survive the war. After marrying his wife May in November 1945 Jim decided the Merchant Navy was not a job for a married man, and after a short time in the Post Office, he decided to join the police force. However, as he was below the required height for the Edinburgh Police he decided to move down to London where the height requirement for the Metropolitan Police was 5′ 8″, his exact height. He retired from the Met Police with the rank of Inspector in 1973 and then joined the GLC until his retirement in 1986. Jim also served as an elder of the Trinity United Reformed Church in Bromley. In retirement Jim resumed his travelling and enjoyed several cruises and other trips both on his own and with his family.

Jim retained his link with the Royal High School Club all his life, attending the annual dinner in London every March, something he had done since 1947, for a Club record 63 dinners. He also served as Secretary of the London Club and was President in 1972. During his time as Secretary the annual Cheese and Wine evening was started as a way of involving wives and partners in the London Club events. Jim and May organised the Cheese and Wine evenings, and other social events, with assistance from their daughters Anne, Frankie and Claire. Jim was a stalwart of the Royal High School Club in London and his familiar figure will be sadly missed.


James Rowan in Merchant Navy uniform


  • James Rowan