Nevil Lloyd-Blood

 

Nevil Lloyd-Blood, who died on January 16th, was born in 1921 into a Dublin family which for generations were steeped in the law. His father was a distinguished member of the British colonial legal service, who held office in many territories of the British empire as it then was. This gave rise to the need for sending Nevil at a very early age to a boarding-school at Aravon, Bray, an institution for which he had great affection. It seems that at a crucial time in our history, it played a positive part in preparing Protestant youngsters for their role as Irishmen in a radically new Ireland.

Nevil learned well. He believed that every tradition in Irish life, including his own, had an important place in the evolution of the new nation. In 1939, after Aravon and Tonbridge School, he entered Trinity College, Dublin, as an undergraduate, but in the following year he responded to the gravity of the times, volunteered for service and was commissioned in the Royal Irish Fusiliers. He was transferred to the Reconnaissance Corp and campaigned in Africa and Italy in that dangerous unit.

He never spoke of his own wartime gallantry, but I learned only recently of one episode which, as to its happening and its aftermath, reveals much about his character. In Italy, while crossing a minefield under fire with American troops, one of their soldiers close to him was wounded. Nevil carried the man to safety. The Americans wished to award him a medal in recognition of his courage, but he declined on the ground that he did no more than anyone would have done in the circumstances.

In 1945 Nevil resumed his studies and was called to the Bar in 1950. I followed a few years later, and from the beginning he was a mentor and friend. The Law Library was much smaller and far less frenetic then than it is today. There was time for the tyro to absorb from those around him not only knowledge of the law, but also the traditions of the profession and much more. As the rest of our group wrestled as advocates with the common law, Nevil concerned himself in the main with matters of title and advisory work in chancery. This in turn led him into an area in which he found his true metier the editorship of the Irish Law Reports.

He brought to that task scholarship and an exceptional capacity as an exponent of the written law. After his retirement he was instrumental with two barristers, Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy, in establishing the Irish Law Log of which he was editor until his death. He was also editorial consultant to the law publishers, Round Hall, Sweet and Maxwell. He made, in divers ways, a major contribution to the promulgation of Irish law.

During his military service, Nevil met a young lady from Essex called Vivienne Lucy Wyatt. They married soon after the war and so began a relationship which continued in full flower for nearly 52 years. They were blessed with twin daughters, Penelope and Jennifer.

One of my most abiding memories of Nevil, and of his humour which was always lurking just beneath the surface, is of the occasion after Vatican II when, for the first time, Roman Catholic members of the Bar were allowed to participate in the funeral service of a Protestant colleague. It took place at Nevil's own parish church, Christ Church, Leeson Park, where he was a verger at the time. He received us all with great warmth but whispered in my ear: "I'm sorry to tell you there's a problem, we are fresh out of holy water!"

And so it was that on January 18th we said farewell to Nevil, appropriately at Christ Church, 35 years after that memorable occasion in 1961. In accordance with his wishes, there was a Eucharist of Requiem and Thanksgiving, and all communicant members of other Christian traditions were assured of a welcome at the altar