‘Totters’ turns 100


Our congratulations go to Norman Tottenham-Smith who turned 100 in March. ‘Totters’, as he was affectionately known, now lives in New Hampshire in the US but was a very well-known figure in BP. Our thanks go to John Hussey and Robin Berkeley who kindly provided much of the following information.

Norman Tottenham-Smith was born on 4 March 1923. During the war he was a Lieutenant in a Mortar platoon in the 12th Yorkshire Parachute Battalion (10th Battalion, The Green Howards) when he was in the first day’s drop near Pegasus bridge, Normandy (D-Day, 6 June 1944). Two days later he sustained so serious a leg wound from a German sniper that he was lucky to avoid an amputation.

After the war, Norman joined the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. He held various senior positions, including shareholder’s representative in Paris with Société Française des Pétroles BP (later BP France). During the 1960s he held postings in Canada, including chief executive in Montreal. His fluency in French from his French mother helped Norman in both these locations.

On returning to London in the mid/late 1960s, Norman joined the Planning department before becoming regional coordinator for BP West and Central Africa in 1969 (for Anglophone as well as for Francophone territories). It was in this role, though under different titles, that he remained until he retired in the early 1980s.

‘Totters’ was extremely outgoing and always open to new ideas. He was popular among his staff, and always remained positive and flexible in mind and attitude. The friendships made during his time with BP have lasted up to the present.

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