Updated 14 Feb 2015
Robert Palmer autobiography
Robert Palmer autobiography
This autobiography was written when the author
had retired at 70. More photos
are on a separate webpage.
Pen-portraits of other members of the
author's family are on their own webpage.
35 1951 First bike, Court Way.
11 1961 Buck. Palace, D of E award.
1961 (age 17)
1986 (age 42)
1990 (age 46)
1995 (age 51)
1999 (age 55)
2004 (age 60)
I was born on 29th July 1944 at five minutes past four
(?am or pm) at St Andrews (according to Aunt Lu) or Argyll
(more likely to be correct) nursing home, Nether Edge
(Sharrow), Sheffield. I weighed 8¼ lbs (the same as
John) and was a vaginal delivery (I am not sure how long
Mum was in labour with me but clearly it was an easier
delivery than for John, for whom the sun set twice on
Mum’s labour which was at 37, Court Way, Twickenham by Dr
O’Sullivan, and clearly should have been a Caesarean
Section). My delivery was by Dr J B Fisher. Aunt Lu says
she visited Mum every day and the sheets at the nursing
home weren’t very clean. By coincidence John was also born
at five minutes past four, but his was definitely in the
afternoon. I was presumably conceived in October 1943 at
37, Court Way, which was before Dad went to Italy (he went
to Naples with Cable and Wireless on the “blue train”,
which was not a train but communication vehicles, on 13th
Probably not long after this Mum moved up to 107 Banner
Cross Road, Ecclesall, Sheffield with John who would have
been four years old. John has memories of the year or so
he lived there. Granny was 67 at the time and somewhat
short tempered, especially when she was cooking. She also
worried about money. Uncle Billy lived in the attic
bedroom and John enjoyed being taken into the basement
where Uncle Billy made his transformers. Aunt Lucy (who
was a hospital Consultants secretary, and her husband
Norman Brealey who John liked used to come round, also
Aunt Dorothy who was a teacher and was married to “Pop”
Bowen who was quite a bit older than her (and the
relationship and marriage had been frowned on by her
parents, and may have shortened the life of her father who
died age 68 in 1933). Pop meddled with cars. Uncle Billy
also had an old car and when he could get petrol drove
everybody to the toad’s mouth and the surprise. They had a
terrier dog called Chummy who was somewhat bad tempered.
John had no one to play with and used to go to the garages
at the top of the road and talk to the “magic man” an
Mum says in her memories “after marriage in 1931 we
lived care free for 9 years as we could not afford a baby.
Then war began in 1939 and I had visions of being alone
(she assumed Dad would be sent abroad and she remembered
from the first world war that few came back) so I had John
(1940). Then carried away with motherhood I had Rob
(1944). Best thing I did was give birth to my children.
Bern went off with his job to Italy in 1944 and came back
a dying man (on a hospital ship to Southampton) in 1946.
Dad was not so keen on having children and there is a
suggestion Mum “pulled the wool over his eyes” when John
was conceived in August 1939 and possibly again with me. I
was called Mary before I was born because Dad wanted a
daughter. I was about 2 before Dad first saw me in 1946
(he returned to Southampton from Vienna on a hospital ship
on 13th April 1946). By this time we had moved back to
Twickenham (we probably moved back from Sheffield in the
summer of 1945). John went to Brook House school probably
in September 1945 and was there until 1946, but probably
for less than a year. He did not enjoy it there and his
school reports were not good. Aunt Yvonne, Uncle George
(Stewart) and Jean and Shirley Jane lived with us for a
few months in 1946 at 37 as their house (47 Court Way) had
a sitting tenant. This may have coincided with the time
John was sent to Worksop to live with Aunt Win and Uncle
Frank who were childless. The reasons for him going there
were unclear, but it may have been a strain on Dad who was
quite unwell. He stayed there until he was 18 just coming
to Court Way for holidays, eagerly awaited for by me. Dad
had contracted acute rheumatic fever in Vienna and nearly
died and was a cardiac cripple for the rest of his life
with mitral stenosis.
My godmother was Aunt Win (Dougill), and my godfathers
Uncle Ernest (Doxey), and W E (Ernest) Burnand, Aunt Lu’s
father. I was christened at All Saints Church, Ecclesall
(which is where I believe Uncle Wilf, Dad’s elder brother,
preached to full houses some years before, and who
incidentally was killed in Plymouth, supposedly while
demonstrating a grenade which accidentally detonated, 2
days after I was born). I weighed 10lbs at one month,
113/4lbs at two months, and 25lbs at fourteen months. My
first tooth was in March 1945, and my first steps on 19th
October 1945. My first word was “this”. I was breast fed
for 8 months. I probably lived at 107 Banner Cross Road,
Ecclesall, Sheffield until late 1945 or early 1946, when
we moved back Twickenham.
My earliest memories are of 37 Court Way Twickenham when I
was 3 in 1947. I remember going with Mum when she filled
up the coal scuttle from the side of the house, which was
semi detached. The other part of 37 was occupied by Tommy
Farmer and his wife. Tommy Farmer only had one arm, having
lost the other one in the first world war. They were
perplexed why Mum had children during the war. I believe
Mum had a miscarriage on the toilet at 37 between 1941 and
1943. I also remember the motorbikes roaring up Court Way
to the technical college at the top of the road (on
Egerton Road). An early memory is Mum, Dad and I on
holiday in a riverboat on the Thames at Reading. Dad was
still well enough to come on holiday with us, and I
estimate it was about 1947 or 1948. I also remember the
Olympic Games in London in 1948. Dad took John to
Battersea fun fair which opened alongside the Games. I
knew something was going on but was not told at the time
but found out for sure later, and harboured a sense of
injustice. John used to come to Twickenham for the school
holidays, something I eagerly looked forward to. If he was
rough with me Dad got very cross, but never spanked him or
me, he left that to Mum. I used to whine a lot, dribble
and pick my nose. John started to have his “dreams” which
were petit mals, and Dad had difficulty coping with it,
which I suspect was one of the reasons he went to Worksop,
although the official reason was that he had asthma and
the air was cleaner in Worksop. I also remember going on
holiday to Swanage, which may have been in 1949 or 1950.
Again Dad came, but got mad with me because I whined a lot
of the time. On one occasion in the dining room I had a
spoon of food in my hand when the door opened and I swung
round and deposited the food all over Dad. He got furious.
He did have a short temper, probably because he felt ill
all the time with his mitral stenosis. We also went to
Sheffield, 107 Banner Cross Road, occasionally where
granny would show me her jewellery and Uncle Billy would
take me down the cellar, and on trips in his car to the
Toad’s Mouth, The Surprise and Hathersage. Once we went to
Hollycourt House and I played in the garden and somehow
got out and got lost. I was wandering around when a man
came by and I told him I was lost. I didn’t know the
address of Hollycourt House but I did know how to get
there from where the trams turned around so the man took
me there and I found my own way back (or may have gone to
107, I am not sure). The next episode is going to school.
I went to St Mary’s primary school in September 1949. I
remember walking to school with mum and being somewhat
apprehensive. It was about a mile and a half walk up Court
Way, right on to Whitton Road, right at Kneller Hall with
the corner shops (including Mrs Houchin’s and the Grangers
sweet shop on the left), and almost immediately over the
river Crane and again almost immediately left over the
zebra crossing (with Michaels council works and the
entrance to the old Twickenham station on the right). Then
over the railway and left at the Regal cinema along
Amyand Park Road to the school. As I remember it wasn’t
long before I was walking by myself which would be unheard
of today, though I think mum used to come with me and pick
me up, maybe on her bike. There were 19 girls in our class
(although that was maybe later on), and only 5 boys
(myself, Michael Sacree, David Brown, Richard Hammond and
Ian Carey). In the early days there was another boy whose
name I forget, but I seem to remember he lived in a
houseboat on the Thames because I went to a party there
once. One day when we came to school there were teeth all
over the road outside the infants playground because I
recall a boy picking them up. He had been run over and I
never saw him again.
I remember Empire Day with the Union Jacks out at the
When I played in the infants playground I used to be
bullied. I was called Dumbo because of my protruding ears.
Michael was in a difficult position and joined in in a
half hearted way. David Trelease was one of the
participants as was David Brown. Mum said I had to get
David Trelease one on one and punch him. To make sure we
followed him back from school, mum pushing her bike and me
walking. When we were walking down Court Way a short
distance behind David, she got on her bike and with a word
of encouragement cycled off. I walked up directly behind
David, went round the side of him, and punched him in the
face as hard as I could. He went home to Craneford Way
bawling and you could hear him in Court Way. I went home
and soon after his mother Agnes came round to
37 with David. Mum sent me upstairs and held her own in a
stand up row with Mrs Trelease. It worked though and they
didn’t bully me any more.
However there was another boy Colin Ross (Dad called him
Colin Ox) who was about 10 months older than me and lived
at the top of Court Way. He used to get home before me and
waited for me and came out and beat me up. I was terrified
of him. One day John broke up from his school in Worksop
earlier than me and was down in Twickenham. He walked a
discreet distance behind me and when Colin Ross came to
beat me up, he was beaten up and dragged through a puddle
by John instead. He never beat me up again.
Michael was my best friend and I used to play with him in
the council yard near the old Twickenham station. We would
also go to Marble Hill and the open air swimming pool in
Twickenham. Michael had four older sisters and his father
worked for Twickenham Council. Later they moved to the top
of Egerton Road near where The Stoop Harlequins rugby
football ground is now. We played cricket behind the sheds
there. Dad once said to me why couldn’t I have a friend of
my own class which upset me more than a bit.
After infants school I remember sitting in class and the
girl behind me kicked me all the time, and when I finally
retaliated it was me that got into trouble and was moved
to the bottom of the class. I had a great sense of
At school David Brown was the star. He was the best
sportsman and came top of the boys in the exams. He was
not particularly nice, partly I suspect because his
parents divorced (his mother was very nice and worked at
the school). I remember them wanting us to name our
favourite song and I named the same one David named, and
he shouted at me. David Brown and Richard Hammond sat next
to each other in class, then behind them Michael sat by
himself (he wouldn’t let me sit next to him, I am not sure
why), and I had to sit next to Ian Carey. We were friendly
with the Carey family. Ian’s mother Betty was German and I
didn’t like her. His father worked for Prudential
Insurance and he had a sister Ingrid who was quite a loose
cannon and the opposite of Ian who was very careful but
not especially bright. Ian’s father Wally had a car and
they used to take Mum and I for drives often. I can’t
remember Dad ever coming.
Dad bought me a Hercules wartime bike, model # NY2258 in
1951 or 1952, and there is a photo of me with the bike.
Also a photograph in Dads handwriting of details of the
bike is shown, and it is a wartime Hercules model #
NY2258. Apparently when Dad first joined the Eastern Cable
Company he was told to do something about his handwriting
and he developed his “italic script” which he spent a lot
of time perfecting.
I was woken up one evening after dark (maybe 1948 or 1949)
and pushed down to Whitton Road in a stroller to watch a
procession. I was none too pleased.
Mum and Dad had a big row and woke me up. I got up and sat
on the stairs listening for some time before I was
spotted. The argument stopped. Dad went out for a walk to
the top of Court Way and back to calm himself down as was
his wont after arguments.
Mum used to say to Dad “can’t you do it” on occasions when
he was trying to do something which always made him mad.
I was in the garden when a radio request which Dad had
made on my behalf for “little red monkey” was played. He
was too unwell to get me in time and I missed it. I was
We used to go to Richmond on occasion. Dad and Mum bought
me a cap pistol in a toy shop in a pedestrian only
connecting street, whereupon I ran outside with it,
pointed it at a man, and said “bang you are dead”. He was
not pleased and I think details of the incident appeared
in the “Richmond and Twickenham Times”, the owners of
which were the Dimbleby family. This was maybe 1949.
Mum used to take me to Twickenham baths and put a harness
on me and walk along the side of the pool while I tried to
swim. Later she gave me swimming lessons there with a man.
Mum took me to Kings Cross and put me in a compartment on
a train to Retford. She then went into the next
compartment and asked an older couple to keep an eye on
me. After we started a soldier came into the compartment
(there was no one else in the compartment), and after
drawing the blinds molested me and got me to do
unprintable things on him. I was more interested in my I
spy book. I never told anyone until years later I told
Mum. She got terribly upset.
Dad and Mum were friendly with the McLachlans who lived
near the corner of Craneford Way on our side of the road.
They had a daughter Angela who used to take me out in my
pushchair. I didn’t enjoy the outings very much,
especially when she took me to a fair and put me on a ride
which shook me up. Angela had a younger brother Peter who
was about 18 months younger than me. I used to play with
him a bit, especially at OP (The Exiles Club). He went to
Dollar Academy where his father Uncle Mac had been head of
school. Sadly Uncle Mac died in his 50’s of lung cancer.
Everyone used to smoke back then. Angela also had an older
sister Marjorie who drowned when she went swimming in the
sea on the east coast of Scotland. This was before Peter
Mum once undressed as she thought probably correctly that
I had no idea what women looked like with no clothes on.
After she quickly dressed and refused my request to do it
We were also friendly with the Horwood Barrets (Horwood
and Auntie Elaine) who lived in Craneford Way. They had
two children, David who was a few months younger than me
and who I played with a bit, and his older sister Suzanne
who sadly developed multiple sclerosis. Horwood died in
his 50’s of a heart attack, not unusual in those
days.There is a photo of me in the Thames at Datchet with
David, which was one of Mum’s favourite destinations.
David Trelease got his own back on me when he locked me in
his shed and I couldn’t get out. I yelled like anything
and eventually Mrs Trelease let me out, but I suspect was
deliberately slow about doing so. David had a sister
Sheila who got a congratulatory first at University but
who was not a good looker.
1955: St Mary's primary school, Twickenham. Left to Right:
Margaret Phillips, Angela Blythman, Susan Trickle, Jacqueline Woolard,
Frances Archer, RJP, Valerie Gray, Ian Carey,
Anne Butcher, Mrs Andrews
Michael Sacree, David Brown, Kay Harle, Judith Nicholson,
Pauline Watkinson, Caroline Bunn, Joan Ford, Richard Hammond, Jimmy Panormo
Mariann Potter, Pamela Hitchinson, Margaret Beauthorpe, Sandra Croll,
Maureen Bowles, German girl, Anne Glazebrook
I had quite severe bat ears. I think it was February 1954,
though it may have been February 1953, when Ian Carey (who
also had bat ears) and I were driven to Lord Mayor
Treolars Hospital in Alton by Ian’s father Wally Carey,
where we both had our ears pinned back under general
anaesthetic. I remember the dry mouth from the
premedication, and a number of attempts to find a vein.
The surgeon was Mr Reidy, a Consultant plastic surgeon at
The Westminster Hospital, and who I anaesthetised for many
years later in 1971 when I was an SHO at Westminster. It
was a very good result as the photographs before (photo 9)
and after (photo 14), show. I believe they now do it under
local anaesthetic, except in children who still have a
When I was in the senior year at St Mary's primary school
(on the badge it reads "Conemur" which is Latin for "Let us
try"), my form mistress was Mrs Andrews who lived opposite
us in Court Way. My school reports invariably said "lacks
confidence", and I remember a school visit to Twickenham
Baths and the headmistress Miss Ashton being amazed when I
jumped off the top board several times. She later got me
in her office shortly after our mock 11 plus and asked me
who the top boy in our year was. "David Brown of course" I
said. "Well do you know that he only got 1 more mark than
you in the mocks", she replied.
The photo of class 1 at St Mary’s primary school in the
summer of 1955 shows back row right to left, Mrs Andrews,
Anne Butcher, Ian Carey, Valerie Gray, myself, Frances
Archer, Jacqueline Woolard, Susan Trickle, Angela
Blythman, Margaret Phillips, middle row right to left,
Jimmy Panormo, Richard Hammond, Joan Ford, Caroline Bunn,
Pauline Watkinson, Judith Nicholson, Kay Harle, David
Brown, Michael Sacree, and front row right to left Anne
Glazebrook, German girl, Maureen Bowles, Sandra Croll,
Margaret Beauthorpe, Pamela Hitchinson and Mariann Potter.
Another friend I had at St Mary,s was Christopher Harper,
who was at the school for maybe a year and a half in
probably 1954 and some of 1953 and or 1955. His mother ran
the greengrocers shop at the corner and his father a shop
At St Marys I wanted to become a doctor. This is the
dissertation I wrote verbatim, "The major influencing
factor in my choice of medicine as a probable career is my
interest in the profession. I believe that without
interest one cannot progress adequately. Since my early
childhood the doctoring profession has attracted me and I
have always sought to further my knowledge in this sphere
pleasurably. My interest in the arts subjects has always
been limitedand I regard them as detrimental to human
progress, however I do think that many scientific careers
nowadays are striving towards the manufacture of weapons
for destructive purposes, whereas medicine strives to make
good of destruction. Also I believe that good health is
the most important possession of an individual, without
which his happiness cannot be complete, therefore if I can
do my best to promote general health I will feel I have
succeeded". I think I wrote this in 1955 at the end of my
time at St Mary’s, although it is possible it was later.
I also wrote some reminisces of my years at St Marys in
1963. I talk of “the fun Michael and I had in the council
yard, the old blacksmith, Mr Allen, Mr Grumpy in the
field, the walk along the old path to the railway line
alongside the greenhouses, looking for matchbox labels,
running up the steps to the ghost room etc. I remember
David Brown who was always the leader and who I hated
because he always used to sneer at me. I remember not
being very good at sport in my early years. Dad helped me
a lot for my 11 plus. Miss Ashton always said I lacked
self confidence. I recall train spotting, trips to
Chessington zoo, The Exiles Club, and Twickenham swimming
baths. I much enjoyed going to Worksop and looked forwards
to John coming for the school holidays”.
Other little incidents I have written about “playing
doodles with Michael at St Marys, walking through Bushey
Park with Mum and Dad, conker hunting especially at Cole
Court when Michael and I were were caught and made to dump
all our conkers, holidays at Bognor Regis, the holiday in
Swanage when I was so bad tempered though I can’t remember
why, walking over Reigate Hill with Uncle Jim, Mum telling
me that granny had died, riding to the Toad’s mouth with
Uncle Billy in the Austin 7, getting lost at Uncle
Earnest’s old garden in Sheffield, being told by Stephen
Allsop that I was his best friend, the fights with Colin
Ross, playing cricket with Michael behind the garages, the
excitement before fireworks day and the thrill of sorting
through my fireworks over and over again, the apprehension
when I was competing at Twickenham rugby ground in the
crawling race, when I was locked in David Trelease’s shed,
the annual party at Meadowbank etc etc”.
David Horwood-Barret (R), RJP at Datchet
Probably in early 1955 or maybe 1954 John and I went to visit
Old Oak Common railway sheds near Feltham. We found ourselves
on the wrong side of the railway tracks of which there were
about 5 as I remember. John insisted on crossing. Despite very
severe reservations I eventually acquiesced and waiting for a
clear moment and carefully stepping over the live rails we both
safely got across.
Written by me on March 11th probably 1954,
though may have been 1955. It was marked by
our form master or mistress.
Michael Sacree, RJP, John Palmer
Twickenham Baths, 1954 Dad gave us
10 shillings when we swam our first width
I sat my 11 plus at St Mary’s primary school in the early summer of 1955
just before I was 11. I don’t think I had any coaching but Dad may have
helped me (he certainly helped me a lot when I was at Hampton Grammar and
I have a feeling he helped me for my 11 plus). Anyway I passed very easily
I think and was invited to an entrance exam for Latymer Upper School, which
had been Dads second choice (his first choice was City of London school).
Hampton Grammar School was his third choice. Anyway I sat the exam at the
school in Hammersmith and in the maths section there were things that I had
never been taught at St Mary’s (maybe fractions), so there was no way I was
going to pass and I duly failed the exam. I was then told I was going to
Thames Valley. Dad made a big stink about that and said I should go to
Hampton Grammar (apparently they were miffed that they were not my first
choice) and in the end Hampton Grammar accepted me and I went into form 1A
(the top form) based on my 11 plus result. I think I had an IQ test around
this time and it was 129 if my memory serves me correctly. I think John’s
was around 134.
I found Hampton Grammar which had about 800 boys terrifying and the work
hard going and the boys in my form very bright. I remember after being
there for about a week David Brown (who also was in my year at Hampton
Grammar as was remarkably enough Colin Ross who was with me in 2 alpha,
but never spoke to me) became friendly with a boy called Carpenter (chips)
and laughed at me during the lunch breaks because I had got lost one
morning and couldn’t find the right classroom. I used to hate the lunch
hours because I had nothing to do and I would wander around trying to make
it look to the other boys that I did have something to do.
Anyway as time went by I gradually settled and made friends with a group
Seaman (Sebe McIlroy), Morris (Beller), and a ginger haired boy whose name
I forget. They teased me a bit but I hung on because I felt too self
conscious without any friends. My nickname was Poly (an abbreviation of
Polyphemus the one eyed giant).
Our form master was “Jasper” Parry and he used to give me a lot of
encouragement. I joined the boxing club and did quite well. I remember
fighting Micky Hannan in the semi final of the heavyweight division. He
boxed for the school and I was told he had private boxing lessons. At
lunch he walked up to where I was sitting and extended his fist to my
chin and got me to do the same. I was very apprehensive, but in the fight
I made his nose bleed and only just lost a very close decision. It gave
me a lot of self confidence. I subsequently boxed for the school and won.
Shortly afterwards they stopped boxing altogether. I also did quite well
in cross country running.
Later I became friendly with Christopher Langham who was in 2 latin A and
like me cycled to school (in the first form I took the trolley bus). He
used to cycle past 37 and I waited for him. I enjoyed cycling along the
cycle lane adjacent to the Chertsey Road, and even more so when Dad bought
the white bike from Uncle Jim for £9 to replace my old black bike. I would
often leave early to bag a fives court.
I did not do very well academically and in the second year was in form
2 alpha which was in effect the C form. I did not receive the encouragement
at Hampton Grammar that I later got at The Masonic School, and was drifting
somewhat. I did write a book about Shakespeare though which I still have.
A lot of time at the weekends I played with Michael Sacree, and
occasionally with Ian Carey. When John was down for the holidays I did most
things with him such as table tennis at the Exiles Club and visits to the
swimming baths at Twickenham (also with Michael) and Isleworth, and trips
to the Science and Natural History museums in South Kensington and trips
to Kew Gardens with John and Michael.
I had mice. My favourite was Willie who remarkably was given to me by
Colin Ross, and also Silver. Another favourite was Chippie the budgerigar.
Unfortunately about a week before Dad died I turned the lights off (as
Chippie was flying) for fun. He flew into the fire and the Stewarts came
round and wrung his neck. Even in my diary I put a different story down.
I avidly followed the fortunes of Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield
United and during the summer the England cricket team. I also kept stamp
and matchbox label albums and trainspotted at Twickenham station,
Surbiton, Clapham Junction and Kings Cross and even sometimes Paddington,
Liverpool Street, Charing Cross and Retford when I was up in Worksop.
Throughout 1956 and for most of January 1957 I kept a diary.
Mum often took me to the Exiles Club and played tennis with me. She
In August 1956 Mum, John and I stayed in Wally Carey’s identical twin
brother's caravan at Bognor Regis. Dad was too unwell to come, and anyway
the caravan would have been too small for him. I got the small short bed
and John got the double bed, but nevertheless complained about the crack
down the middle. We looked for Flook in the shop widows. Later we stayed
in Mrs Knight’s bungalow in Angmering which was much more comfortable.
About a month before Dad died I got an inkling that he was getting iller.
He had a cyst removed from his scalp under local anaesthetic by Dr Hamilton,
and he wore a truss for an inguinal hernia which he was too ill to have
corrected surgically. He was in heart failure and would regularly cough
up blood, and was tired all the time. Dr Hamilton had warned him not to go
to work but he used to literally drag himself there and back every day.
After he died (described in my section about him) everybody came to his
funeral including John, but I was not allowed to go. He was cremated and
his ashes buried in an unmarked spot as I remember (because I did attend
that) close to the entrance of All Hallows Church in Twickenham (where
Mum’s ashes are also, but they are in the crypt which is a separate building and you walk down some stairs).
After Dad died (January 1957, he was 51), Mum went to see the headmaster
of Hampton Grammar, Mr Garfield, and he said you cannot raise a boy without
his father, so it was decided that I should go to The Royal Masonic
Institute for boys, a boarding school in Bushey, Hertfordshire. Dad had
given ten shillings a week to the Masons, and used to drag himself to the
Doric Lodge in Surbiton once a month. I didn’t want to go, and when I sat
the entrance exam I deliberately did badly thinking they wouldn’t take me,
but all that happened was that I was put in the C form with rather
I reluctantly went to Derby House (E) at The Royal Masonic School in
September 1957. I was a direct entrant and so knew nobody, whereas all
the other boys in my year in Derby knew each other from the junior school
(except Chris Wakeford who was also a direct entrant). I was in form 3BC
(essentially form 3C). “Blog” Goodenough was the ineffectual head of house
and “Percy“ Thompson the largely absentee housemaster (he lived outside
the school in Bushey Village). The fifth formers ran the house and ran
riot. The worst ones were Leadley, Howarth, Cotton etc. They had us
third formers running around after them (we had to get up early to fill
their washbasins from the only hot water tap), and trips to the tuck shop,
and any “perceived” misdemeanour resulted in “knobbing” which was a hard
knock on the top of the head with the clenched fist, or a boneshaker which
was a thud on the head with both hands intertwined. I recall cleaning
Leadley’s corps boots and he was not satisfied and hit me on the head with
the heel of the boot and I burst into tears. Other punishment was the bench
treatment, your bare bottom was dragged across the wooden changing room
bench and you might catch a splinter or two, the corps boot treatment
when you were stood in the corner and corps boots thrown at you, and the
radiator treatment where your hand was held down on the hot radiator. It
was like Tom Brown’s schooldays. This was all a baptism of fire for me, but
the worst part was my treatment by some of the boys in my own year,
particularly Tyrell (his brother was a fifth former but perversely one of
the nice ones), Heywood and to a lesser extent Picton and Fawkes. I always
remember being “sent to Coventry” and as I was a direct entrant I sat at
the end of the meal table with the plates of food passed down, and for a
time I received nothing. We had Sunday afternoon walks, and because no one
would walk with me, I used to hide in the outdoor toilet for the duration
of the walk rather than be ridiculed for having no one to walk with. For
some reason which I never fathomed I was called “piggy” Palmer,
subsequently shortened to “snouter” and ultimately by Ray Wicks to
“gnouta” which stuck with me for the rest of my time there. This was
accompanied by a “Yorkshire” eeeeee as I must have had a slight accent.
Anyway it really shook me up and as it was sink or swim I applied myself
to academic work and sport. Of course you never told anyone, and Mum was
blissfully unaware of my plight. In 3BC I came top in just about every
subject. D D Kennedy, one of the masters, took an interest in me and told
me to ask one of the masters in Derby, Dougal Reid, if I could move up to
the B stream. The headmaster Hugh Mullens said that was not possible because I had not done any
Latin. Mum offered to arrange for me to have Latin lessons during the
holidays, and JDF Smith the Latin master (who sadly later committed
suicide) kindly gave me individual tuition. I remember being almost
lynched by classmates in 3BC when I foolishly said they were a bit thick
when my promotion was imminent.
at Davos by Alan Perrow
In 1958 Goodenough was expelled for going out with one of the Irish
“skivvies”, and Mike Blamey took over as head of house (Bill Cheffers
refused it). Almost right away there was a big improvement in the lot of
us third formers. In the meantime I was doing well in 3B form and
subsequently 4B form and I was moved up to 4A form. The other boys from
Derby in 4A were Malcolm West, Richard Fawkes and Ray Wicks. At the end
of that year I seem to remember I took 3 O level subjects, Maths, English
Language and English Literature (Twelfth Night and Autobiography of a
Super Tramp were our books) all of which I passed comfortably. I reached
the dizzy height of second in the A form (Malcolm was first and Robin
Gibson the previous top boy had been moved up to the fifth form). In the
holidays I remember being glued to The Quatermass Experiment on TV. As
time went by I began enjoying school more. I was becoming friendly with
Malcolm and Ray and also John Hunter, all in my year in Derby. I enjoyed
the sport that was on offer, particularly swimming and water polo which
I was good at, also rugby and cross country and track in the summer. I
also enjoyed cricket. I definitely did not enjoy the cadet corps and
dreaded Tuesday mornings when we had to wear uniform.
In the summer term of 1958 an event took place of which I have always
been ashamed. One of the fifth formers who has since become famous (and
I better not name him) was made up to house prefect. One evening after
lights out (9pm I think) he came to the junior dormitory and gave us a
somewhat inappropriate talk. Chris Wakefeord and I went to Percy Thompson
and told on him and he was depreed (lost his prefectorial status).
I have always deeply regretted having done that, and never again have
“blown the whistle” on anyone. I don’t suppose he ever found out who it
was and I have never apologised to him, (though I have tried to contact him).
In the winter term of 1959 I played for the colts rugby team coached by
In the spring of 1960 when I was 16 I went on the Snowdon expedition with
the school. The sad details are on my website
Evans, one of the three boys killed, was moved up with me from form IVB to
IVA. John Brenchley was in form IVB. I recently had a communication from
his younger sister after 54 years.
1958 and 1959 school reports.
1959, me playing billiards in Derby House common room
With Mum outside Derby House
I think it was the spring term of 1960 (though it may have been earlier)
that I hatched the hare brained scheme of putting a shop front lady model
on the roundabout near the school. Rob Wicks (now sadly deceased) and I
set off in the early hours, retrieved the model (I can’t remember how I
got it but I seem to remember I had secreted it somewhere near the shooting
range) and put it at the roundabout. By sheer bad luck we were caught by a
police car and driven back to the headmaster in the early hours of the
morning to face almost certain expulsion and one’s whole future destroyed.
As we were coming up the drive I had a brainwave and told the police to
turn right to the chaplains room rather than left to the headmasters.
The Chaplain was Stuart Russell and the police handed us over to him.
He swore us to secrecy and saved our bacon. I never did thank him adequately.
RJP on the tennis practice wall
at the Exiles Club 1960
I did well in my “O” levels in July 1960 passing physics, chemistry,
biology, French, geography, history, and I seem to remember Use of English
(I had passed maths and English Language and English Literature the year
before). My only failure was in Additional Maths (calculus etc) which
“Tek” Kenny taught and which I never got the hang of. These results got me
into the sixth form where I had elected to do physics, chemistry and
biology. I had hoped to come back in September as a house prefect but was
very disappointed to be overlooked. Malcolm had been made a house prefect
early in 1960 when he was still in the fifth form, and Ricky Fawkes (who
was two days younger than me) and Ray Wicks were made house prefects from
my year. Ian MacIntyre was made head of house to take over from Mike
Blamey and I suspect he had recommended Ricky and Ray to Percy Thompson
over me. David “fruity” Picton was also in the sixth form and was not a
prefect although there were other reasons why that may have come about.
John “nads” Hunter (who dropped dead on the squash court in his early 40’s),
and Keith Scott were in remove form for one year. Peter Hofman who was in
the year below had jumped a year. Ian Higgins took over as housemaster
(Mullens had a policy of housemasters being resident in Ston), and Percy
Thompson’s study was made available for the five of us (myself, Picton,
Hofman, Hunter, Scott), which was some consolation. Ben Renoir was a house
I lucked out with the sixth form masters, Tom Clinton took chemistry,
Brian Bignell physics and “cassamoeba” Clarke took biology. We also had
classes in English with Mullens and later Mr Tough.
I was enjoying life at Ston more by this time, in particular the sport.
I was good at rugby (number 8 and line out jumper) and cross country.
Also I was a good middle distance runner (880 yards and the mile). I
wasn’t bad at cricket particularly as a medium fast pace bowler. I was
also a good swimmer and very good at water polo (probably the best in
the school) and also latterly at basketball. Mainly because I was good
at sport meant I was accepted and not teased as much. I probably spent
too much time on sport to the detriment of my studies.
In the summer of 1961 John and I went on a cycle holiday in Ireland.
Details are on John’s website on
Running mile 1961-2
At sports day in 1961 I came second in the mile. “Plonka” Taylor won and
I remember beating Ernie Tomlinson which was a surprise. In the photo
below it is Manning behind me which makes me wonder if the photo is
sports day 1962 when Mum and John came to watch and maybe John took the
[I planned to do the whole circuit Cork to Cork, Robert only found this
out half way round, we quarreled, but went back from Larne with only
2/3 of the Circuit done - Brother John]
When I went back to school in September 1961 I was made up to house prefect.
As I remember the prefects in Derby were Fawkes, head of house (a slight
surprise as Malcolm had been a house prefect before Ricky Fawkes, Malcolm
I seem to remember was made head of remove). Also Ray Wicks, David Picton,
Peter Hofman, Dan Tempest. That autumn I was captain of the house cross
country team which we won, beating Burwood. I also was in the school rugby
1st XV. I played for them throughout the season, but was dropped for the
last match and selected instead for the 2nd XV which inadvisedly I refused
to play for, incurring the wrath of the master in charge. I was invited
for the team photograph, below, but to my extreme annoyance did not get
my colours. I think I tried harder at rugby playing for the house than
playing for the school.
Probably in the spring term of 1962 I did my mock A levels and did not do
1961 rugby 1st XV
Back row, L to R:
Nick Lomas, ?,?,Doug Walker, RJP, W Barrington Jones,?,?, “Homo” Hill
Front row, L to R:
Bob Skillicorn, John Richmond, Ernie Tomlinson, Chris Brookman captain,
Derek Merrell,?,Brian Hoare.
Hill master in charge
Now deceased:Barrington Jones, Tomlinson
Richmond put me on a charge at camp.
Brookman sustained a basal skull fracture at one of our away games and
now has Parkinsons maybe related to the injury.
I took an enormous risk which I shudder about to this day when I rewrote
one of the answers and switched it for the answer I had put in the actual
paper. The papers were as yet unmarked in a drawer in Tom Clinton’s study
in Connaught house and I went in there and switched them. If he had
happened to come in I hate to think what would have happened.
My results in the mocks put the fear of God in me and I worked flat out
during the Easter holidays and when I got back for the summer term
presented the three masters with numerous answer papers for them to mark
on old A level papers I had done. I don’t think they were too pleased.
Invitation to Buckingham Palace
I also had another “event” around this time. We were allowed home during
term time if this were possible time and distance wise. We could leave
after school finished on the Saturday morning and had to be back that
evening before 10 pm. As I had only personal study for the last session
of the morning I left earlier than I should have by the back entrance.
Unfortunately I had not remembered or not been told that there was a
meeting of all the house prefects with Derek Merrell the head of school
about the “little boy” problem. Derek noticed that I wasn’t there. When I
got back to school that evening Peter Hofman was sitting in my study and
it soon became apparent that it was a serious matter. When I saw Ricky
Fawkes about it I asked how he had got away with going out with one of the
“skivvies” and getting caught. He said that had nothing to do with it.
I thought that it was favouritism. It looked as though I would be depreed
(lose my prefectorial status). I did not see why it was such a big deal.
Anyway I concocted a cock and bull story which necessitated Mum writing a
letter to Mr Higgens explaining my reason for leaving school earlier than
I should and I got the benefit of the doubt as it was hard for them to
prove one way or the other, but had to do many extra prefectorial duties
Richmond & Twickenham Times
In the meantime I had been working for my Duke of Edinburghs gold award.
The expedition part was to Cornwall, and the special interest part was
taking cars apart believe it or not, but I regret that was a bit of a
fudge on my part. The athletic standards were no problem. I went up to
Buckingham Palace with Mum on 12th December 1962 (after I had started at
Medical School) to get the award (see photos below).
I was working quite hard for A levels, and was in the school athletics
team running the mile. I played occassionaly for the school second eleven
at cricket, though Mr Beams thought I was a good enough bowler to be in
the first eleven.
As luck would have it I got the flu while I was doing A levels, and had to
do the Chemistry paper in the sanatorium. There occurred an episode which
clearly demonstrated a flaw in my character. Chemistry was my weakest
subject. I took the paper in my sanatorium room. The invigilator was one of
the nurses and you could hear her walking down the corridor. She would come
and go. I had hidden the chemistry textbook on a ledge up the chimney and
when I opened the paper and hadn’t a clue about the first question I got
the book down from the chimney until I heard the nurse coming back and
replaced it. My mark in Chemistry was 40% which was the pass mark.
St Mary’s only wanted three passes.
In my defence I never cheated again throughout medical school and the
Around this time I went for medical school interviews. My first interview
was in Newcastle and I got a reserve place. Subsequently I went for an
interview at Charing Cross which I failed, St Bart’s where I got a place
for 1963 and ditto for St Mary’s where I did an IQ test. St Mary’s said
three passes was OK.
At the end of the summer term I went to the dreaded cadet camp in Gosport
I think it was. John Richmond put me on a charge, the officious little shit,
and I was marched in front of under officer Brian Hoare and lost a stripe
(from corporal to lance corporal). Both of them were with me in the rugby
In the summer holidays of 1962 I got my A level results, 40% in chemistry,
45% in physics and 55% in biology. The pass mark was 40%. Both St Bart’s
and St Mary’s had offered me a place in 1963 with three passes. Therefore
I was planning to go back to Ston for a third year sixth and play lots of
sport and have a good time. Maybe given the circumstances that would not
have been possible because why would they want me back at all. Anyway
events took over. While I was on a holiday with Ian Carey in Germany
St Mary’s phoned Mum and explained that there was a last minute vacancy
for 1962 and I was being offered it because I lived within commuting
distance in Twickenham. Mum accepted this offer on my behalf as I was in
communicado. I found out when I got back from holiday and had mixed
feelings, but it was a fait accompli. By this time I had passed my
driving test and had bought a second hand upright Ford Popular. Come the
beginning of term I drove to school and parked it nearby. There was a
couple of weeks before I was due to start at St Mary’s. Ricky Fawkes and
Peter Hofman also came back, but both were planning to leave fairly soon,
so had I not had the last minute offer at St Mary’s I would probably have
been head of house. After a few days I was called to Mr Mullen’s office
where he brusquely informed me that the school was not a free hotel and
given the change in my circumstances I had no right to be there. Not a
word of congratulation for getting from the C form to Medical School.
Mr Mullens was known for having “his favourites!” and I certainly wasn’t
one of them. I did also have the dubious distinction of being possibly
the only 3rd year sixth former ever to be only a lance corporal after
my demotion at camp. Jerry Davenport was head of school.
I duly started at St Mary’s, I think in late September 1962. I lived in
Twickenham. I had joined Twickenham tennis club where I met John Garland
who had been the year ahead of me at Ston. I also joined Richmond water
At the freshers get together at St Mary’s I had joined the St Mary’s
swimming and water polo club and the tennis club. The captain of St Mary’s
swimming club was John Kerr and it was him who started calling me Bob
which caught on and was a pleasant change after years of "gnouta". John
Kerr was a very nice man and encouraged me in water polo. I had to improve
my free style as you can’t use breast stroke for water polo as I did at
Twickenham tennis club
RJP, Philip Greening, John Garland, David
at Lilleshall Hall tennis camp, June 1963
Richmond Water Polo Club
Steve Higgens, Max Kelly, Les Fox, Gerry Forse, RJP, Willy Holmes
Bill Haverley, Terry Lyons, Steve Piper, Mike Johnson, Ken Coles.
I took a while to get to know other students in my year because I was
naturally shy and diffident, but gradually became friendly with Roger
Pearce and Chris Hutter and also John Fox and Pin Seah from the swimming
club at St Mary’s. I commuted to St Mary’s from Twickenham by train.
John Fox and Pin Seah
Early in my time at St Mary’s I did the London to Brighton walk.
In the meantime I kept in touch with Michael who was a keen cyclist, and
a “mod” with a lambretta and a little hammer.
Rosemary Briars 1962
In October 1962 it was the Cuban Missile Crisis. John was living at 37 as
he was working at Hawkers in Kingston since September 1961 on the
supersonic P1154 vertical take off aeroplane until September 1964 when
the government cancelled the project. Then he worked for S. Davall in
Greenwood, N. London doing electronic engineering. He cycled there and
back (7 miles each way). Anyway there was significant anxiety about the
possibility of nuclear war (justified as later information has come out)
and he talked about us moving temporarily to south west Ireland.
Mum had various jobs, first at Jane Powell’s in Twickenham, then a dress
shop in Richmond, then Bentall’s in Kingston, and then Wetherall’s an
upmarket ladies clothes shop within Wright brothers in Richmond. These
jobs would have covered a number of years going into the 1970’s and I am
not sure of the exact time frames.
I had various girl friends during this time, Rosemary Briars, (see photo #5),
Hilary Long, Carol Wadey, Hilary Campbell among others.
Meanwhile I was not exactly shining in my academic pursuits and languished
in the bottom third of my year until the autumn term of 1963 when I pulled
my socks up. Then for six months I worked ferociously hard leading up to
2nd MB which was the major obstacle in a medical career. I used to sequester
myself in Mum and Dads bedroom, though I am thinking I might have slept in
the little bedroom.
In November 1963 Mum shouted from downstairs that JFK had been shot.
One of my few relaxations was watching Dr Finlay’s Casebook on TV on
Because it wasn’t necessary to pass pharmacology in order to get through
2nd MB first time (you could be referred in pharmacology) I rather
neglected it instead concentrating on anatomy, physiology and biochemistry
(my least favourite subject). This had near disastrous results. I came near
the top in the three major subjects, but did badly in pharmacology and to
my surprise a number of us were not signed off by the pharmacology professor
and therefore were not going to be allowed to sit 2nd MB at the end of the
spring term 1964. Of all those in that category I had easily the best
results in the three major subjects. I had an enormous sense of injustice
and canvassed the professors of anatomy. physiology and biochemistry who
were sympathetic as I was one of their top students. I also saw the
president of the students union Peter Beck. Ultimately the decision was
reversed for myself and about five others. After that I started swatting
up pharmacology (which I had intended to do anyway but started earlier
Meanwhile I kept the swimming and water polo going, also some tennis in the
spring. Sadly Philip Greening, a friend of John Garland and myself at
Twickenham tennis club and a non swimmer, commited suicide by jumping
into the Thames near the convent in Twickenham after a row with his father
I think (see newspaper article #6).
Anyway 2nd MB arrived. After the exam Roger, Chris and myself all went for
a row on the Serpentine waiting for the results that afternoon. We all
passed including in pharmacology. I did particularly well and had a BSc
interview along with John England, Andrew Hay, Roselle Hewlett and Janet
Kean. They all passed and I failed. Only John England and Andrew Hay opted
to do a BSc. Sadly later both John England and probably (though it may have
been accidental) Roselle Hewlett commited suicide.
My year at St Mary's taken at a later reunion.
back row L to R
Gordon Horner, Eric Taylor, ---, ---, ---, RJP, Roger Pearce, Pin Seah, Phil Watts.
middle row L to R
Brian Carr,---, ---, John Isserlin, Chris Hutter, ---, Mike Mills, Mike Bishop, John Fox.
Front row L to R
Corrie Van Den Bosch, Margaret Davies, Di Smith, Sandy Siddons, Monica Spring, Janet Kean, -, Gill Carrington.
In my year and not in this photo were:
Nick Walker, Cliff Bailey, Ian Brown, Alan DelMar, Roger Evans, Tom Fletcher, Don Forster,
Jacqui Freeman, Bob Jones, Hugh O'Donnell, Graham Orr, Richard Perryman, Ray Rault,
Ian Rennie, Angela Jeffs, Andrew Simmonds, Wynne Weston-Davies, Arthur Wightman,
Dave Goldstein, Alan Greenwood, Susan Tegwyn-Davies, Andrew Hay, Brian Hopkins,
Sally Hughes, Patrick Jeffrey, Huw Penry, Wynne Griffiths, Roselle Hewlett, John England.
As of February 2015 those no longer with us are:
John England, Roselle Hewlett, Wynne Griffiths, Roger Pearce, Huw Penry,
Graham Orr, Nick Walker, Tom Fletcher, Bob Davies, which is 9 out of 47".
When I started my clinical years as a medical student I shared a flat in
Shepherds Bush with Roger Pearce and Chris Hutter (see photo of Chris and
myself in flat April 1964, and photo of Roger standing next to me at
St Brivael’s Youth Hostel in the summer of 1963). Unfortunately it did not
work out too well (largely my fault) and Roger moved into Wilson House
the St Mary’s Hall of Residence followed by Chris and then myself.
Chris Hutter in flat
Roger Pearce and RJP on holiday
The clinical work was not onerous and there wasn’t the pressure of 2nd MB
which is the major hurdle in medical school. I was playing a lot of water
polo including our summer tours to the west country in 1964 and 1965. I
also played for United Hospitals, but was stopping playing for Richmond as
I was living in London. I also went on a tennis club tour to the West
Country and was playing tennis for the Mary’s team, although I was one of
their weaker players. Girl friends did feature in particular a nurse I met
when I was doing my paediatric attachment in Exeter under Dr Brimblecombe
in the spring of 1965. She came to Twickenham for my 21st birthday party
(Mum was not impressed, she never took to my girlfriends) and John Hunt
(Hunt “The Cunt” from Ston), gatecrashed , took off with her, married her,
I think they had children, and then dumped her. Round about this time I
decided (foolishly) that I would like to do a stint with VSO (voluntary
service overseas), and in November duly flew to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania
and took the bus to Liuli, near Songea in south western Tanzania to a
British Mission Hospital which was a collection of mudhuts on Lake Malawi
(formerly Nyasa) not far north of the Mozambique border.
On the way I
drank some unboiled water and had a severe case of NVD which went on for
some time so it was a bad start and didn’t get much better. There was a
lady British Mission doctor who was allowed to operate and was incompetent.
It was also somewhat holier than thou and not my scene at all. Another
Mary’s medical student Roger Atkins, who I was replacing, overlapped with
me for a while. He had been a great success which showed me up in an even
poorer light. I was at first allowed to drive a landrover, but after I got
it stuck they wouldn’t even allow me to do that. After a while at Liuli I
went to a German Mission Hospital, Peramiho, which was a couple of hours
drive away. It was a fairly extensive brick building with far superior
facilities than Liuli. There was a German doctor there who was multiskilled
and a competent surgeon who could do C. Sections, eye ops, incarcerated
hernias, abdominal surgery, you name it. He impressed me greatly. His
wife, who was not medical, gave the anaesthetics (he had taught her).
However she was not happy there so after a time back to Germany they went
and so they had nobody.
In my diary for Wed 17 November 1965
I have written:
"EXODUS!! Robert leaves for Africa.
[I] got offer from Plessey, Poole,
[Dorset] @ £1,450 pA"
I left Twickenham for Dorset, and guessed
leaving his home too.
So back to Liuli I went. There was a Portugese gunboat on the lake shelling
the no mans land just south of the border in Mozambique (it was still a
Portugese colony and the “frelimo” were fighting the Portugese for
independence). We got refugees in Liuli and they were completely uneducated
(a Portugese policy). I also visited the local leper colonies. Endemic
diseases were malaria, schistosomiasis, ancylostomiasis, tuberculosis,
tropical ulcers, trachoma, bronchopneumonia secondary to measles in
children, obstructed labour and so on. There were the UK equivalent of
paramedics who were locals with a rudimentary knowledge of medicine, and
Mum posted me a spear gun but predictably it never arrived. Quite rightly
she had always been anti the whole thing.
43z Murder plot 1966.
After seven months there I just wanted out and so off I went. It was
summer of 1966 and the world cup soccer was underway in England. I don’t
think they were too sorry to see me go and they didn’t kick up a fuss. I
didn’t tell VSO. Getting back to UK was not straightforward as I had
decided to hitchhike. It was OK to Tanga, north of Dar Es Salaam and not
far south of the Kenyan border. Then I had an uncomfortable experience
which is chronicled in 43z, an article in the Richmond and Twickenham Times.
Anyway I got to Mombasa and then to Nairobi. There I was stymied as I was
not allowed in the Northern Frontier District of Kenya where Somali
bandits were operating, so I was forced to fly to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
From there I hitched a lift to Asmara the capital of Eritrea. En route
the driver of the petrol tanker I had hitched a lift with made off with
my rucksack in the cabin of the vehicle. I managed to hitch another lift
and caught up with him and got my rucksack back. My money and documents I
always kept in a little bag round my neck which Mum had knitted. From
Asmara I rode on the roof of a train to Kassala in the Sudan, then on to
Khartoum, a Nile boat to Cairo and hitched to Alexandria. I hitchiked
across Egypt and Libya to Tunis from where I got a boat to Marseille and
hitched to Calais, across to Dover and arrived filthy dirty at Aunt Gert’s
in Margate. [She answered the knock on her door with "Good God, come on in"
Subsequently I summoned up the courage and went to the VSO office in London
to get my resettlement bounty. As expected I got a right real rollicking
but came away with half of my bounty which was better than nothing.
Before I went on VSO I had joined the St Mary’s mountaineering club. When
I got back from Tanzania to St Mary’s in the late summer of 1966 I found
I had been appointed treasurer of the club in absentia. We used to go up to
the medical school hut near Rhydd Ddu on a Friday afternoon and return
Sunday afternoon. The drive was not much fun to put it mildly but once up
there it was good fun with its moments of sheer terror. The fellow students
who had introduced me to climbing were Mike Freeman and John Turner who were
both in the year above me. Mike had been at Charterhouse and John at
Worksop College. The secretary was Andrew McMichael, now a peer of the realm,
who I also became friendly with. Andrew had a girl friend called Kate, and
she in turn had a girl friend also called Cate with a C who I became
friendly with. I remember Andrew and I asking Sir Roger Bannister, who was
a Consultant neurologist at St Mary’s if he would be president of the club,
but of course he was too busy. Mum, quite rightly as it had its dangerous
moments, did not approve, but of course I went ahead anyway.
Meanwhile I was getting better at water polo. Newer students at St Mary’s
in the club who I became friendly with were Ken MacLeod and Geoff Talbot.
A photograph of the St Mary’s water polo contingent is below (actually
taken 27 years later).
I also joined Otter swimming club and started playing for their first
team. Later I began playing for London University.
St Mary's water polo team taken in 1994.
Back L to R:
Rex Stanbridge, RJP, John Fox, John Sirs, George Tait, Denis Warnford Davies;
Front L to R: Ken MacLeod, Phil Watts, Geoff Talbot, John Benjafield.
In late 1966 I sat my mock pathology exam with the new year that I was
unfortunately now in. I think I came dead last or close to it. That really
shook me up and I worked flat out for several months and when I took the
actual exam in the spring of 1967 I came top and had an honours viva which
I failed (just as in 2nd MB). After that I regressed into bad ways again.
There was an opportunity to do my surgical clerkship in Pittsburgh. Mum
went to the Masonians who agreed to pay my fare there and back, but told
her not to come back again for a handout. I went with Doug Leaming who was
a chain smoker and played the piano. Sadly he later died of cancer. We
travelled over by Polish tramp steamer on the cheap but flew back. The
US medical students were terrified of being called up to go to Vietnam
and some planned to avoid the draft by going to Canada. At the end of the
clerkship Doug and I toured the US by greyhound, staying at one point with
Angela and Euan MacLachlan near Vancouver.
When I got back I resumed regular trips to the climbing hut in Snowdonia
and playing more water polo than ever. By this time I was captain of the
St Mary’s swimming and water polo clubs, and a reasonable back stroke
swimmer. I was in the London University first team (see photo below). I
think the high point of my water polo career was a tour to Aachen in
Germany in January 1968 for a knockout tournament which we won, beating
the West German club champions Dusseldorf in the process. We went on to
easily win the BUSEF championship in the spring of 1968 and our first
seven were chosen en bloc for the British Universities team. Our star
player was Jim Shekhdar, who later rowed solo across The Pacific Ocean.
He was the the best player in Britain at the time.
My finals had taken somewhat of a back seat to water polo. I sat conjoint
early in 1968 and passed thus becoming a doctor of medicine. I took my
MB BS finals a little later and passed also, though I was borderline for
surgery but they decided not to defer me, though I think it was a close
decision. Thus my medical school days were over.
Cups and Blazer for Water Polo
For my water polo
exploits (I was voted the top defender in the BUSF championships), I
received the Bannister Trophy from Sir Roger (see photo SB23,
one of the cups is the Bannister trophy, also the British Universities
blazer). Also photo SB16 selection for British
Universities. I was awarded my London University purple (see
The next step was applying for a house job.I put myself down for Carl Young’s
medical house job at St Mary’s Hospital, Harrow Road (formerly Paddington
General Hospital). Carl Young had been president of the swimming club and
also was an Otter member which gave me an inside track, and indeed I got
the job. Thus we move on to the next stage of my autobiography.
London University Team 1967 to 1968.
L to R back:
John Littleton goalkeeper, RJP, Clive Rogers, ?, Graham Jupp, Dave Chapman.
L to R front: ?, ?, Roger Marwood captain, ?.
The first seven were John Littleton in goal, Graham Jupp and RJP defence,
Roger Marwood and Dave Chapman midbath, Jack Gauldie and Jim Shekhdar forwards.
Swimming and medical revision regime
I started as a house physician to Dr C A Young at St Mary’s Hospital,
Harrow Road in May 1968. It was a baptism of fire up to a point and for
the first few weeks I had no registrar and had to contact the registrar
from Daddy Green’s firm or heaven help Carl Young himself. Fairly soon
though Bob Simpson started as registrar. One of the first things he said
was “I won’t come in after hours but you can phone me any time” which I
did and frequently. He was good to work with and decisive and once I got
the hang of the job I think we worked well together.
There were two notable events during the six months. The first was when I
was selected to go to Rosyth to play water polo for British Universities
against a Scottish Select team. Unfortunately it was scheduled for my
weekend on (I did every other night and every other weekend on call which
is over 100 hours a week, for an annual salary of £720 as I remember). I
was determined to play but I did not dare ask Carl Young in case he said
no. I talked to Bob Simpson and he suggested I got a senior medical student
to cover me which was allowed. I asked Thelma Thomas and she agreed. She
relieved me at lunchtime on the Saturday and I was back by 9am Monday
morning I think. We won the match easily and I played. On the Saturday
morning before I left I saw a rugby player in his late 20’s in Casualty
who was very unwell with terrible tonsillitis, pneumonia, haematuria, and
only a 2 week history of increasing tiredness. I sent bloods off and the
technician rang me back to say it was acute leukaemia for which there was
no treatment in 1968. I handed him over to Thelma Thomas. When I got back
on Monday morning she told me he had died on the Saturday night. I told
Carl Young on his Monday ward round and he said it was OK as I had made
the diagnosis. He never did realise I had taken off.
The second was a one night stand I had with one of the nurses from the
Republic, who of course was a staunch Catholic. Some weeks later a note
had been slipped under my door from the young lady to say she was overdue.
She wanted to get married but I said that was not possible. Termination of
pregnancy had only just been legalised in the UK on 27th April 1968, a few
weeks before. Being a Catholic she would not countenance a termination, but
up against my stonewalling started to waver. I took a urine sample from her
to Dr John Benjafield who was in the Mary’s swimming club and was a Harley
Street pathologist. The test was positive. I asked him for help and he
initially refused but as I was leaving he saw my distress and relented and
phoned a friend of his who was a gynaecologist. I was mortified and
terrified to tell anyone. She had a termination. I paid the gynaecologist
his fee which was a princely sum to me at the time, but to my disgrace I
never paid the anaesthetist despite more than one request. It put me
right off girl friends for quite some time.
After I finished my pre registration house job in medicine I went to King
Edward V11th Hospital Windsor for my pre registration house surgeons job.
The consultant I worked for was Mr David Bain. I took over from Ken MacLeod
who stayed on at Windsor to do his medical job. It wasn’t nearly as busy a
job as the medical job. David Bain did his ward round on a Saturday morning.
The registrar was a Spaniard Senor Cabre. On one occasion a surgeon did a
bowel resection and closed the abdomen without doing the anastomosis as he
had been chatting with the anaesthetist. Mr Cabre who was assisting tried
to interrupt but it wasn’t until the skin stitches were going in that he
was listened to and of course the abdomen had to be reopened, and the
I was forever driving up to London for water polo matches. I went out with
a sister, Olive from Morecambe, who lived in the nurses home, but water
polo took precedence.
Towards the end of the job I went to Epsom for an interview for an SHO
job in OB GYN. Ken MacLeod was on the platform at Windsor station waiting
for the same train. He got the job and they said I could have a job when
Ken finished his 6 months.
When I finished at Windsor I went back to Court Way to live. I was doing a
bit of blood transfusion work but didn’t know what to do for the next 6
months so looked in the BMJ and saw a casualty job at Kingston advertised.
I phoned up in the morning and got the administrator. He asked me where I
lived so I said Twickenham. He said could I come over to Kingston at 2.30pm
that afternoon which I did. After talking with him he said could I start at
9am the next morning. I was a bit thunderstruck but said ok. I never met
any doctor let alone a Consultant.
It was a responsible job. I got no teaching except from fellow SHO’s and the
nurses. I never saw a Consultant. After seeing a patient I would often
excuse myself, go next door and look it up in a textbook! I did 24 hours
on and 24 hours off. I often slept at Court Way when I was off. I met a
nurse who’s father was an RSM in the army. She was a bit of a nymphomaniac
but a nice girl. I regret to say that after several months I stood her up
and she phoned Mum. Mum called me a “rake”.
Meanwhile I was playing as much water polo as ever for Richmond, Otter,
St May’s even etc.
Some of my most memorable clinical cases were at Kingston.
- A little boy was BID (brought in dead) after a RTA. The parents didn’t
know. The sister put the parents into a side room and I had to tell them.
- An elderly lady came in in ventricular tachycardia after a myocardial
infarct. I gave her 1mg per kilogram of intravenous lignocaine (the
textbook dose) and she fitted, could not be resuscitated and died. That
shook me up somewhat.
- I treated Veronica Lake a former Holywood sex goddess whose current
husband was British. She had a severe drink problem.
- A young couple who were not wearing seat belts were in a RTA. The 20yo
girl in the passenger seat was catapulted forwards and struck her neck on
the dashboard. She along with her boyfriend incredibly were able to
“hitch a lift” to Casualty. On arrival she was moribund from a fractured
larynx which obstructed her airway and could not be resuscitated. At this
stage in my career I lacked airway skills. I often wonder if I had
immediately attempted a cricothyroid or tracheotomy airway if the outcome
could have been different, probably not.
- A fellow SHO taught me how to give valium and pethidine iv and reduce
Colle’s fractures of the wrist which was quicker than waiting for an
- A patient came in just before Christmas saying she had swallowed a
large safety pin. The casualty sisters poo poohed it saying she just wanted
to be in hospital over Christmas. I did a precautionary X ray and there in
her oesophagus was an enormous open safety pin. She had to go to surgery
and they nearly lost her trying to extricate it.
- A young lady came in with an acute abdomen. I admitted her under the
general surgeons. Of course it was a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. I
couldn’t understand how I could have got it wrong as it had been drilled
into us at medical school that any ill young woman was pregnant unless
proved otherwise. The trouble was it was some time since I had done obs
Looking back I sometimes wonder if together with my SHO OB GYN job if these
weren’t the most responsible jobs I have done as a doctor, and I still
marvel at the lack of senior supervision.
Towards the end of my six months in Kingston I decided not to take the
Epsom OB GYN job, but rather to do anaesthetics. I was influenced by the
fact that two of my friends (Geoff Talbot and Chris Hutter) were either
doing or going to do anaesthetics. Back then it was a bit of a Cinderella
specialty, but it was easier to get on in as a result and I was not keen on
the very difficult exams and the competition were I to choose a surgical
specialty. Also I felt that I was better suited to a procedural specialty
rather than a predominantly cognitive one. Also the lack of continuity of
care was an attraction rather than the opposite. Hence I applied for and
got an SHO anaesthetic position as a novice trainee at the Westminster
Hospital. There were 3 positions and only 3 applicants (the other 2 were
Aussies) so we were all appointed.
Anaesthetics was quite different from the other medical jobs I had done
and took a bit of getting used to. I remember about two weeks after I had
started I had an afternoon ENT list with a consultant anaesthetist who
shall remain nameless, but suffice it to say he was president of the
faculty of anaesthetists on a A plus merit award. It was an afternoon
list with an ENT Consultant surgeon and the first case was a trans nasal
hypophsectomy. My consultant anaesthetist excused himself before the list
had started saying he had an important engagement (private case maybe?).
I really hadn’t even learned to intubate. The lady ODP virtually did the
case. Such was the state of play 45 years ago.
I did alternate nights on call but was generally not badly supervised
apart from occasional glaring examples like the above.
Of course I was still playing water polo with Otter at every opportunity.
Not long after starting I met Hilary at a party. We went out for quite some
time. She once said to me “there is something missing in you, but I don’t
mind”. I think she wanted to get married but I wouldn’t take the plunge
and she went to the antipodes for a year, though before she went said I
could stop her going.
After some months at Westminster I went to the hospital in Roehampton.
While I was there Mum had a gynae operation for a prolapse and the surgeon
was Mr DeVere. Her anaesthetist “Freddie” Mills told me off for not getting
There was a summer water polo tour to Malta (either August 1969 or August
1970, probably the former). Water polo was very popular in Malta and we got
more local newspaper coverage than Manchester United football team who
were there at the same time.
It was an Otter tour but
not all Otter first team, those from Otter first team who didn’t go were
Bob Burn, Tony Milton and Peter Stevens.
Malta Tour 1969.
Back row L to R:
Phil Brayford (Poly), Dave Last, RJP, Roger Looker (Otter), John Towers (Otter), ?.
Front row L to R:
Terry King (Penguin), ?,?,Barry Turner (Poly)
Towards the end of my year at The Westminster I sat and passed first time
the primary anaesthetic fellowship exam.
In the late spring of 1971 I applied for a registrar position in
anaesthetics at Brighton, as I was fed up with London. At the interview I
was asked if I would consider a job at Guy’s. This was totally unexpected
and feeling somewhat intimidated and overawed I stupidly said yes. I duly
started the job in late summer of 1971, and I did not enjoy it. It wasn’t
helped by a near miss in the radiology suite, a remote setting, with no
ODP, and the patient an older lady who I had intubated and ventilated and
there was a problem with the anaesthetic machine and nobody to help me.
I had to blow down the tube. Anyway not long after I resigned. The chairman
of the department was flabbergasted and it was a potentially career ending
I applied for an SHO OB GYN position in Chichester, and this time I
was successful. I was thinking at this time of going into General Practice.
My consultant was Mr Lynn Evans, a small Welshman. The only time I saw him
in the maternity unit was when he had a private patient. He would do
hysterectomies through a small abdominal incision using a corkscrew like
pulling a cork out of a bottle. He took me to King Edward V11th Midhurst
occasionally to assist with a private patient. One day I was called into
the administrators office at St Richard’s and asked why I had absented
myself from NHS duties and moreover claimed travel expenses to Midhurst.
I replied I had to comply with my Consultant’s instructions and why were
you raising the issue with me and not Mr Lynn Evans. I heard no more on
The maternity unit was at St Richard’s and theatres were at both
St Richard’s and The Royal West Sussex in Broyle Road. The anaesthetists
were Ozzie, Cyril Prideaux, John Bennett and Eileen White and Judy Wilson
were staff grades. The other Consultant obstetrician was John Gibson and
I had an experienced registrar from abroad, who I did receive some
instruction from, as well as from the midwives and the textbooks. I learnt
how to do vacuum extractions and there happened the worst case of my
The patient was an elderly primip (by the definition back then). I had
learnt how to do vacuum extraction (Ventouse). I forget who taught me,
maybe the registrar with input from the midwives, and certainly from the
obstetric textbook. I had by this time performed quite a few by myself and
had reached the overconfident stage probably. I do remember that back then
it was viewed as a safe technique unlike mid cavity forceps. I also
remember the textbook saying you could pull for up to 25 minutes. That
certainly is not the case now, a few pulls and if no progress straight
to LSCS. Anyway I pulled for about 15 to 20 minutes and then called the
registrar. It was John Gibson’s registrar. She said she would come over
but in the meantime to continue pulling. By the time she arrived I had been
pulling for the 25 minutes. She sat down in the delivery suite and told me
to continue pulling, so I did. After I think about 30 minutes the baby was
born. It subsequently died from a cerebral bleed secondary to a tentorial
tear. I had to talk to the mother after her precious baby had died.
I was playing water polo for Southampton who were in division 2 of the
National league. Although a defender I was their top goal scorer. I also
was still playing a bit with Otter (before I came down to Chichester I
had been Otter water polo secretary.
I had been going out with Julie. We went to the climbing hut in Snowdonia
in March 1972. When I got back I went to a mess party at St Richard’s on
Saturday 18th March 1972. I hadn’t gone with Julie, who was a bit noisy
for me, but didn’t meet anyone at the party. I was on call but as was the
case back then had had a beer or two at the party. Around midnight I was
beeped to the gynae ward by a battleaxe night sister. While in the ward I
saw a very pretty student nurse and read her name badge (Valerie Nunn).
When I got back to my room I tossed around for a while and then summoned
up the courage to phone the ward, planning to hang up if it was the battle
axe. A young female voice answered and I asked if she was Valerie. She
said no but did she want me to get her. I said yes and after a while
Valerie came on the phone. I explained who I was and she said yes she had
seen me on the ward.
I asked if she would like to come out and got a muted
response. I said I had a yellow MGB convertible. She seemed a little more
enthusiastic but I thought the chances of her turning up at my suggested
time and place (6.25 pm Monday 20th March 1972 outside the then main
hospital entrance by the roundabout) were 50% at best (without the MGB
would have been considerably less). She did turn up and as we drove out
of the hospital by sheer bad luck passed Julie. The rest as they say is
RJP in the yellow MGB convertible in France
Valerie Nunn's photo which was in all the buses
in Chichester at the time as she was the poster
girl for the hospital.
In the summer of 1972 I finished the obstetric and gynaecology SHO job
and started a six month SHO paediatrics post and chest medicine post at
St Richard’s Chichester on 1st September 1972. The Consultant paediatrician
(there was only one), was Dr Bud Robinson. Valerie and I had had a holiday
together in Scotland (of which Mum, who I had introduced Valerie to, did
not approve; "a flock of Baptists" she said, but there again she
disapproved of all my girlfriends).
The paediatrics job was not my metier, though it was less busy than the
maty job. I remember having a newborn who needed an exchange transfusion
in the middle of the night for erythroblastosis. I phoned Bud Robinson and
he asked me if I had done one before, to which of course I replied no. He
came in and we did it together. I also worked at Bognor Regis chest
hospital, and that was part of the job.
I had a heart to heart with Valerie’s father. It did not go particularly
well. He was a Baptist missionary who had worked in Southern Sudan. In the
end I said to him "I have no idea what you are talking about". We
never repeated the topic of religion, though he did give a “sermon” at our
wedding reception 2 years later.
On 30th October 1972 I passed the DRCOG exam in London.
In mid December Valerie went to Tennessee for over 7 weeks.
I had decided to get back into anaesthetics. On 22nd January 1973 I had
an interview at Poole for a registrar job in anaesthetics and was successful.
Somewhat ill advisedly I bought a bungalow, 6 Springdale Avenue,
Broadstone before the interview, but it worked out alright. I started work
at Poole on Monday 26th February 1973. I was starting to play a lot of
squash at The Arndale Centre and Meyrick Park.
Valerie and I were living together in the Springdale Avenue bungalow.
There follows details of my most memorable case whilst at Poole.
July 1973. Anaesthetic Registrar, Poole. 8pm Saturday evening.
Emergency bleep to Casualty for 2yo little boy who had inhaled top of pen.
Rushed to theatre where completely obstructed, unconcious, deeply cyanotic,
Alan Bracewell appears in pyjamas....
Below is a letter from Alan Bracewell the ENT Consultant.
"Your letter arrived this morning. Thank you for showing me the account
of our joint adventures with the pen top.
My wife read it and said that she knew the problem was desperate as Peter
our laid back Australian registrar was very capable and if he said it was
desperate it really was.
She says I was still dripping water as I left the house. I suppose with the
excitement and the running up the stairs I had more or less dried off by
the time I reached theatre.
The technical problems of getting the pen top out were partly due to
inadequate equipment. The pen top would not come up the scope as it was too
narrow and the forceps were not strong enough
to get hold of the edge of the pen top and allow it to be pulled through
the cords and extract it. Eventually with a small pair of adult laryngeal
forceps I was able to get a good grip of the pen top and pull it up against
the end of the scope and 'railroad ' the scope and the top through the
larynx and out into the upper airway. I was afraid that this traumatic
procedure might cause laryngeal oedema - hence the tracheotomy but he was
OK when we scoped him under a GA 48hours later and we closed the tracheotomy.
Two good things came out of it. His mother gave me £100 which I donated to
the children's ward fund and I bullied the administration into letting me
get a decent set of paediatric scopes and forceps. I went to a conference
in Venice a few months later and Stortz had just produced a new range which
we bought. As far as I am aware they are still in use.
Please do not feel that you have to alter your account in any way. I do not
want that to happen. I just thought that some of the details might be
helpful in embellishing the story when you tell it to your friends. Recently
I had to write a sort of obituary about my old colleague Peter Adlington
who died about a year ago. After collecting as much information as I could
from family and colleagues I wrote it and had it published before showing
it to anyone else. I knew that if I sent it around for approval every one
would want their say and it would become a committee rather than a personal
view - so keep you piece 'personal'.
With best wishes
In September 1973 Valerie and I had a holiday in France (the yellow MGB
broke down unfortunately). Subsequently Valerie went to Bristol to do her
midder nursing training. I moved into the penthouse accommodation at Poole
General and started swatting for my final fellowship. The exam was in
January 1974. Typically before I knew the result I applied for a senior
registrar job rotating between Winchester and Southampton. I passed the
exam (just), and the interview for the job was just 16 days later and
their first question was had I passed. When I said yes they gave me the
job, such was the competition or lack of it back then.
Isle of Purbeck, Summer 1974
Brother John writes:
I moved into 29 in January 1968, sharing with a friend from Plessey.
A year later he decided to get married and left. I found someone else
to share the rent. He was a strange guy and left. Repeated with another
guy, who was also strange and he left. About 1973 the bungalow owner,
an Italian, arrived and announced he wanted to sell the bungalow. Being
comfy after 5 years, I offered and bought the bungalow for £5,000 furnished.
Half of this came from Robert, who supplied £2,500 cash. I continued living
at 29, with occasional visits from the co-owner (Robert). Around 1974,
Robert announced he wanted to withdraw his share in 29, I think to help
him buy another bungalow nearby, number 6. 29 was valued at £8,000,
so I paid Robert £4,000, for which I got a mortgage on 29. From Robert's
viewpoint he had made a profit of 60% in 2 years or less. Soon after,
my Aunt Win died and I inherited a business property and cash. Mum said,
don't buy a swank car, pay off your mortgage, so I did. Best advice
I've ever had, I'm still living in the bungalow after 49 years, and it may fetch
£250,000 today. Robert's £2,500 half share would today be worth £125,000
if he'd left it in, an average increase of 100% per year.
At the end of February 1974 Aunt Lucy died and Valerie and I went to her
house at 16 Star Street in Ryde to arrange moving some of her effects
(including the cabinet and nice antique chairs). Mum had asked John but
he had a squash game, hence the attached comment in her diary
I started my senior registrar job at Winchester on Monday 1st April 1974,
and was resident in the mess at Holdaways. The Consultant anaesthetists
were Dr Boddington (soon to retire and be replaced by Bob Buckland), Noel
Thorpe who took early retirement on grounds of ill health and was
replaced by Roger Cloonie, Ken Harrison who was head of department,
John Bowen and Kate Packer.
I was playing water polo for Southampton and playing a lot of squash
at Winchester squash club. I was captain of their second team. John Bowen
once asked me if my work was interfering with my squash.
In August 1974 I went to Vaenersborg and Trolhatten in Sweden to do a 3
week locum. I was a little uncomfortable not being able to speak the
language although most of the Swedish people at the hospital spoke good
I had also joined the Territorial Army (I joined while I was at Poole in
1973) and was Medical Officer for the 2nd Wessex TA unit based at Brock
Barracks in Reading.
In mid October 1974 I stayed with Valerie in Bristol where she was doing
her nurses training, and that is when and where Susannah was conceived.
In mid November Valerie and I set a wedding date (I suppose you could say
it was a shotgun marriage, though it was probably just the push I needed).
Valerie’s mother thought a date in 1974 was best so we settled on Saturday
14th December at Broadstone parish church. In the attached wedding photo
left to right are Aunt Gert, Mum (looking non too pleased, she said later
I had been entrapped), Roger who was best man, myself and Valerie, Mattie
Nunn, JCP, Norman Nunn, Barbara Nunn.
At the wedding reception Roger’s
girlfriend Linda dropped a bombshell, she told Mum that Valerie was
Broadstone parish church, 14dec1974
Aunt Gert, Mum, Roger Pearce, RJP, Valerie, Mattie, JCP, Norman, Barbara
We did not have a honeymoon because there was a prior arrangement for me to
go to RAF Sharjah to do a locum as a general duties medical officer in the
After my year in Winchester (during which I lived in the mess) I moved to
Southampton General Hospital for my second year as an anaesthetic senior
registrar. Valerie moved down and we lived in hospital married
accommodation in Laundry Road at the back of the hospital. During my year
there I earned extra money by doing GP night and weekend shifts. I remember
on one occasion being called to a house where a somewhat overweight late
teenage girl was experiencing severe abdominal pain. The family were all
downstairs in the living room. I was having difficulty making a diagnosis
until I realised the pain had an episodic character, and indeed soon after
she delivered a healthy baby to everyone’s incredulity in particular her
own as she had no idea she was pregnant.
In anaesthetics we rotated round neuro, paeds, and cardiac at The Western
Hospital, which was not my favourite.
On 16th July 1975 Susannah was born by LSCS at Southampton General Hospital.
It was Category 1 and Andy Dewar was bought out of the bar to supervise
the GA. The surgeon was the senior lecturer.
Round about this time I sat my ECFMG as I had decided I wanted to go abroad
and the USA was a possibility. I passed.
In October I did a TA camp at Knook.
I was still doing a lot of GP deputising.
Susannah’s christening was on Sunday 11th January 1976 in Southampton.
Sam and Des Henley, John and Charles and Frances Holme came and they can
all be seen in the attached photo in Laundry Road.
In March 1976 Valerie, Susannah and I went to the continent including a
visit to East Berlin, followed by a trip to the Mary’s hut.
Susannah's christening, Southampton 11jan1976
Also around this time Tom Mcaughey from Montreal General Hospital came to
Southampton to see me and lined me up for a one year clinical fellowship
there starting on 1st April 1976.
42z Uncle Wilf dies 1944.
44z Gold Award 1962
45z "Bloody Squash" 1974
Award of Purple from University ofLondon Union
Selection for British Universities
Conceived, written and copyright © 2014, Robert PALMER,
All Rights Reserved.
Compiled, formatted, hyperlinked, and hand-coded
2014 by John PALMER,