My father, Oscar Wallis, who has died aged 96, was a merchant seaman, lifelong Quaker, conscientious objector and teacher.

He was born in Scarborough, North Yorksire, to Arnold Wallis, who ran a grocery shop in the town, and his wife, Gladys (nee Gregson). Both his parents were Quakers. When his father’s shop went out of business in the Depression, Oscar was sent to sea as a ship’s apprentice working for Brocklebank, later owned by Cunard. His first voyage, aged 16, was to Calcutta (now Kolkata), and he spent four years aboard SS Malancha and SS Mahronda, carrying locomotives, boilers, buses and sections of the Hooghly bridge to India, returning with tea, rubber, jute, spices – and on one occasion 50 monkeys, which all escaped from their cages.

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