From reeling in a record-breaking catch to running a family fishing business, centenarian Jack Hale dedicated his entire life to the sea.

Born John Federick, the respected fisherman only ever wanted to sail and he became the proud owner of a boat aged just 10. 

An independent soul, he would go on to run a successful business in Lowestoft which would see him work alongside both his son and grandsons. 

He was also proud to have broken an inshore fishing record in October 1968 with a herring catch in his boat the Seafarer. 

It is no surprise then that he didn’t hang up his waders until well into his 80s. 

Born in 1920 on December 27 in Haddiscoe, Mr Hale was the youngest of eight children. 

He moved to Compass Street, Lowestoft, aged six and attended St Margaret’s School before Wilde’s School in the former Wilde Score house. 

It was clear from an early age he only ever wanted to go to sea, although his parents were not keen as two of his brothers had already taken that route. 

His first boat, owned jointly with his brother Ken, was an old trawler lifeboat named ‘The Last Rose’. 

As a young boy he worked in the fish market but when the Second World War broke out he joined the Royal Navy Patrol Service.

Eastern Daily Press: John "Jack" Hale when he first joined the Royal Navy Patrol Service c.1939

He said he was “glad to get a new suit and pair of boots” and was based on HMS Europa, one of the first ships out of Hartlepool. 

Around this time he met his future wife Susan in Rothesay on the Isel of Bute. 

In July 1942, he received news that his brother Ken, who was in the navy by this point, had died after HMS Niger was sunk in a minefield off Iceland. 

Soon after, during a period of leave, he was in Lowestoft and in the cinema at the time of the town’s worst ever air raid.  

READ MORE: HM Coastguard Officer, Mario Siano, dies aged 73

After climbing out of the cinema, he attempted to search for his sister, Lil, who had been with him. She was eventually discovered in the local hospital with a bullet wound to her leg. 

After the war, he served in Port Jackson in Sydney, Australia, and was later demobbed in 1946, although he remained a Royal Navy Reserve until 1961. 

He began working for a trawler company but did not enjoy it so in 1947 he bought his own boat, Wavell, with his brother Tom, using war gratuity to covert the ship’s lifeboats. 

He would become an inshore fisherman for the rest of his working life. 

Eastern Daily Press: John "Jack" Hale landing a record catch of herring in the mid 1960s

His family said: "He was known and respected in fishing communities around the coast from Rye to Grimsby, and further afield, but especially Norfolk, Suffolk, and Lincolnshire.

"He also fished with his son, Mike, who fished with him from about the age of 12 – and they went on to own boats together. 

"It became a real family business when two of his grandsons began their working lives fishing with them." 

He semi-retired at the age of 85 and kept boats well into his 90s. 

READ MORE: Second World War American fighter cockpit found by Lowestoft fisherman

"He was a great traveller and saw lots of the world including Australia," his family added.

"He was proud to get a card from the Queen in 2020 to celebrate his 100th birthday, and he remained in good health until Christmas 2022. 

"Jack was well known to many in and around Lowestoft and was quite a character. He will be missed." 

Mr Hale died aged 102 on April 24. He leaves behind two children, Michael and Christine, and grandchildren. 

A celebration of his life took place at the Hotel Victoria in Lowestoft on May 27.