I FIRST MET JOCK McINTYRE IN 1963 when he was the patrol officer in-charge at Dreikikir Patrol Post in the East Sepik District – a tall good-looking Scotsman from Glasgow with a wealth of experience at university and in Canada, New Zealand and PNG’s Western District.
His soft Scottish brogue and impeccable good manners, combined with a forceful individual nature in the company of men, gave colour and attractiveness to his personality.
Men respected him and women liked the look of him. And, from Jock's point of view, there was perhaps nothing he preferred more than to be surrounded with friends in long-drinking sessions.
John, to use his baptismal name, was a good healthy Presbyterian with the usual sectarian attitudes of the time. But the orange and the green didn’t influence who he'd drink with.
One of his best friends was Fr John O’Toole, resident priest at Dreikikir. A Fenian, even an American like O’Toole, was good enough for Jock if he liked a drink, even if at times both were more than forthright with each other.
At the University of Glasgow, where Jock studied veterinary medicine for a couple of years, he was a little put out that a Fenian beat him in the last round of a boxing contest for the university championship. He did concede, however, that the Fenian was a better boxer than he was.
In the logging camps of Canada and in various jobs in New Zealand he worked and played hard. He liked and respected the women he met and they liked and respected him. A fine figure of a woman could at times overcome the appeal of drinking. But I suspect in Jock’s case, the drinking most often won.
He was a gentle giant in his work and in his dealings with Papua New Guineans – always fair and good humoured.
Jock was one of Kennecott’s early field officers, and I well recall him arriving in Angoram from the Star Mountains, laden with rock samples indicating the presence of vast amounts of copper and other metals in the Mount Fubilan area.
He was a man for all seasons, but more a character of the 19th century who lived in the 20th.
He often said to me that his ideal was to live a full life overseas and then eventually return to mother Scotland to marry and live as a respectable family man and keep holy the Sabbath Day.
Over the years I lost track of Jock, and I often wondered if he had achieved his ambition.
Apparently he did marry. I don’t know if his wife was Scottish, but she owned a pub on Thursday Island. If this is true, in a way, it would have put Jock in a second heaven.
I also heard that he had died. I hope he went out with a good malt in his hand!
I often picture McIntye and O’Toole in the afterlife, for I know Fr O’Toole SVD has moved on, having a convivial drink together in the best Presbyterian and Catholic style.
Peter Johnson, an old friend of Jock’s, has in his possession Jock’s Oxford Dictionary, a small memento that continues to remind us of his life.