Geoff Norman Remembers

October 6, 2017 | News | By Lindsey Hart

Geoff Norman talks of the impact of the development of Commodore’s freight shipping operations
Commodore & Condor

J & D Norman Ltd was primarily a heavyside merchant dealing generally in heavy and fragile materials. In those early days nothing was packaged in any way therefore shipped loose, resulting in a high and unacceptable level of damage and breakages. Given the isolation of the Islands and the multiple handling of individual units such as bricks, roof tiles and drainage goods by dockers, a new cost-effective solution was required.

New ideas

This triggered Jack’s deeper involvement in the development of Commodore’s freight shipping operations. He introduced the new era of standard containers and flats from the UK as well as the company’s passenger and freight services to Sark and Alderney.


Then in 1964 Peter Dorey of Onesimus Dorey invited Commodore into a new company called Condor operating a revolutionary high speed hydrofoil passenger service between the Islands and St Malo.

Condor’s subsequent developments include wave-piercing, car-carrying catamarans with services extending to the U.K and France. Commodore has progressed through containerised Lo Lo services with purpose-built vessels, through to the Ro Ro era, with each able to serve Portsmouth and the other islands on a 24 hour cycle.

In Jack’s latter years his involvement in the Commodore business became all-consuming of his working hours.

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