Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

NEWS > Obituaries > His Hon Judge John Rhys Arthur DFC 1923 - 2014

His Hon Judge John Rhys Arthur DFC 1923 - 2014

John attended the School in the lead up to the Second War and distinguished himself on the running track, coached by the great Franz Stampfl, squash court and rugby and cricket fields.
16 Feb 2023

John (Scrutton 1936 – 41) attended the School in the lead up to the Second War and distinguished himself on the running track, coached by the great Franz Stampfl, squash court and rugby and cricket fields.

He was among the generation of Millhillians to be evacuated to St Bees, where he patrolled St Bees Head, in the unifrom of the Home Guard. He also won a place to study History at Christs College, Cambridge. After going up in 1941, he decided to join the RAF and was assigned as a Navigator to Bomber Command, joing the Pathfinder Squadron 101. His distinguished conduct won him the DFC. After the War, he returned to Cambridge, but read Law, completing the Tripos in the concentrated two year format that was adopted in the immediate post-War years.

He went to London and Inner Temple, where he met his beloved Joan, from Cheshire. He determined to marry Joan and to move to Liverpool and in 1949, he was called to the Bar of the Northern Circuit. He married, had 3 children and became a very highly regarded and much liked figure on the Northern Circuit, winning acclaim as Junior of the Circuit, progressing to be Recorder of Blackburn and was elevated to the Circuit Bench in 1975. By the time of his retirement in 1993, he was Senior Judge and held in the highest regard by the legal profession across the region. He was appealed 4 times in his 18 years on the bench and was overturned just once.

Amongst other roles in his life, he commentated for the BBC in the 1950s, when his childhood friend, Murray Walker, the commentator, suggested he could do the 6 o'clock rugby unon reports from the North and he also lectured in Law at Liverpool University.

He played rugby for Saracens, Bomber Command and the RAF in war-time, before representing Waterloo RFC when he moved to Liverpool. The black eyes and bruising received on a Saturday were not felt to be helpful when attempting to win the sympathy of a jury on a Monday morning, so he gave up playing rugby in his twenties. However, he maintained his interst, both with the BBC role and through frequent trips to Cardiff to see his beloved Wales. He continued to play squash regularly into his late 50s, until the fires forming the backdrop to the Toxteth Riots of 1981, burned down the Liverpool Racquet Club.

He was a Life Guardian of Millhill and kept in touch with several of his contemporaries, especially the late Dr Harry Wilkinson. However, with the passing of his dear wife and the advancing years taking their toll, he found himself unable to take any great part in the life of the School or its Old Boy scene.

He was adored by his family and respected by all who knew him. His passing is the end of an era in the Liverpool legal world, as he is the last of the judges to have seen active service in the Second World War, but also because, in the words of a retired police officer, "John Arthur was one of the only truly great men I have ever met".

David Arthur (son)

Similar stories

Former Supreme Court justice Lord Toulson has died aged 70. More...

Terry was a Middlesex grammar school boy who was a bit intimidated by coming to a public school. More...

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr Dennis Witcombe OBE on Tuesday 19th September 2017. More...

You could not have asked for a more devoted and loyal Old Millhillian than David Rodda. More...

Most read

David moved to what is still today the family home when he was three years old and has spent 67 very happy years there. More...

Patrick Nolan, known as Paddy, died on Saturday 19th January 2013. More...

Have your say

This website is powered by