Arthur David LINKLATER Robin Valdemar LINKLATER Duncan Melville LINKLATER Margaret Lilian BOISSARD Elsie May SOUNDY treeI1.gif

Nelson Valdemar LINKLATER

also known as Dick, Richard LINKLATER

15th Aug 1918 - 19th Oct 1997

Life History

15th Aug 1918

Born in Bombay

31st Jul 1944

Married Margaret Lilian BOISSARD in St Stephen and St Mawnon, Cornwall

4th May 1945

Birth of son Robin Valdemar LINKLATER

10th Apr 1948

Birth of son Duncan Melville LINKLATER in York, England

19th Oct 1997

Died in Oxford

31st Oct 1997

Buried in East Hagbourne

I will add a link HERE to a slideshow once I have seen to the basics elsewhere.

obit.jpg EVELYN ROXBURGH: Dick (Nelson Valdemar) was the only child of the marriage. He showed an interest in theatrical production, and trained at the Dramatic School [R.A.D.A.] in Gower Street, London. He served in the Navy during the war and did well there, becoming what is the naval equivalent to an A.D.C.to the Admiral. It was then he met his wife, who was a WREN officer, a very nice girl indeed. He now lives at Windsor and works for the Arts Council on the Dramatic side. We are very fond of him and of his wife Peggy and their two boys. The elder, Robin, is at school at Bloxham, not far from us, and they often come to see us, either on their way to school or on their way home for the holidays. The younger boy, Duncan, has just started at Pangbourne at the school for boys entering the Merchant Navy.

So far as it goes I can allow Dick to tell his own story because, when he was soliciting employment with the Arts Council after the war ca. 1948, he wrote his C.V. What follows in bold are his words - the rest are mine. But first his name. After leaving school, and a false-start at the Stock Exchange, the lure of grease-paint made him apply for a place at R.A.D.A. with a view to becoming an actor, an ambition he attained [photographic evidence below] but was advised that Nelson Linklater was not an ideal stage name. Surely there couldn't already have been an actor named Nelson Linklater? If so, that would also have been an impediment. Either way, ‘Richard’ was decided on and, with its diminutive Dick or Dicky, (but never Rick or Ricky!) almost entirely supplanted his given name. At home we always called him Dick, never ‘father’, ‘dad’ etc. Apparently my elder brother, Robin, is to blame for this. While I was being hatched, Robin was shipped off to stay with friends who referred to his absent mother and father as Peg and Dick - for so they were. After the happy event of 10th April 1948 (anything with a cork in it will be fine), Robin was permitted into my presence where the habit of referring to mater and pater by their given names persisted and, in due course, I followed suit. On a visit to Peg's mother, Shuffle, Peg was upbraided for allowing me to refer to my father as Dick. “It's a disgrace” quoth Shuffle, “the wretched boy will grow up not knowing who his father is.&rdquo: “Of course he will” riposted my mother a.k.a. Peg who, summoning me to proove her point, demanded “Who is Dick?” to which I unhesitatingly replied “My uncle.” Q.e.d. - or so the story went.

N. V. Linklater. Born in Bombay, 15th August, 1918.

baby.jpg According to his very scruffy Indian birth certificate, Dick was classified as “European Scotch,” whose emollient effects I have found a great solace over the years. Dick's father, Arthur David Linklater, was a Master Mariner who, in the course of plying his trade, or that of his employer Dhunjibhoy Bomanji, in Bombay, met Elsie May Harris as she was named on their marriage certificate which also stated she was “unmarried”. However, Harris was the name her first husband, Jules Leonard Schaumburg, took at the outbreak of the Great War, Harris being his mother's maiden name and considered less provocative among the Brits than Schaumburg. Dick's mother's maiden name was Soundy. She and Arthur married in Bombay on the 9th June 1917 and produced, as stated above, their first and only European Scotch child who they named Nelson Valdemar Linklater. Arthur had a brother called Valdemar; Nelson must have been a flight of fancy. Hereafter Nelson will be referred to as Dick. When Dick was about seven, he and his parents moved back to England and lived at The Willows, one of Sir Dhunjibhoy Bomanji's residences near Windsor. I have a number of images of The Willows HERE. Dick's father worked for Sir Dhunjibhoy for a number of years. For the details see DUM's PAGES. Dick's half-sister, Doris Ada Ethel, and two half-brothers, Bruce Clifton and Dudley Palmer, all Schaumburg/Harris, returned to England somewhat later I believe.

dickx4i.jpg dickx4ii.jpg dickx4iii.jpg dickx4iiii.jpg

Educated at the Imperial Service College, Windsor 1931/35

The school was usually abbreviated to just ‘the I.S.C.’ It subsequently amalgamated with another school to become Haileybury & I.S.C. with a reputation for sending boys into the army. I imagine the school was chosen for being close to home at The Willows. There are a number of diaries covering his time at school, mostly small, pocket affairs spanning 1933-1937, then 1949, 1954. Thereafter they continue more or less unbroken from 1960-1990s, but these are merely appointments - theatre, dentist, car, toes - very mundane.

diary_april_1933.jpg His schholboy diaries are a bit more interesting. At right is a sample from 1933. It's all a bit like that - regarding both content and form. Among highlights of 1933, during a stay with friends at Hatfield, Dick singled out “going over the Shredded Wheat Factory” as “very interesting”. More notable for me were some of the following. On the 16th January “I shot a large rat in the chicken run” followed, strangely, by “Had my eyes tested. They are alright. I am very glad.” Presumably the rats were less so. On the 9th Feb, more bad news for the rats; “Dad got me 3 Beduin guns, 2 spears, and 6 cutlasses and 2 sabers. Super.” - but evidently insufficient armoury because on March 7th and 9th “Went to Hatch about a bow - not successful” in spite of which on the 9th “Went to Hatch for some arrows. Got them.” (His aim must have been off because he had to get more arrows on 12th Dec.) On the 22nd March “bought a knife (dagger) from Howard” - an unidentified arms-dealer, probably from the I.S.C. On March 24th “got some blank cartridges” 17 of which were “let of”; [sic] on the second day of the holidays, 6th April. It must have been a noisy week because the same day he “got some blasting powder and fuze wire from Dad and made some jolly good explosions.” Next day “got ½lb of blasting powder from Dad and some fuze wire. Made explosions. Got 100 blanks.” and on the 8th and 9th “Made 2 or 3 big explosions.” Either the neighbours complained (e.g. “Sir D” - whose arrival on 29th March and subsequent departure for India on Nov 30th was noted) or the powder ran out, as there are no more reports of explosions until late November when Dick “did explosions” for the best part of a week, often, it seems, assisted by his half-brother Bruce. However, on April 15th Dick “got a new blank cartridge pistol at half price” A catapult was bought for 2/- [that's two bob or ‘shillings’ for the uninitiated] on June 3rd. The final addition to the arsenal seems to have been made on 20th Oct when his other half-brother Dudley gave Dick some “relics from Pupa” [Papua?] consisting of 2 fish spears and another bow and arrows. To what use this hardware was put is largely unrecorded, but certainly Sep 13 proved an unlucky day for 115 flies and 8 wasps whose dispatch Dick records immediately after noting “remaking my chemisrty set.” Whether this was for the purpose of waging chemical warfare is not recorded. On the priniple that ‘the old ways are best’ a battleaxe was bought on 3 April 1934 for 5/- presumably to cope with extra-large flies. It was pronounced “V.G.”

The presence of Sir Dhunjibhoy Bomanji usually heralded a boost to Dick's exchequer. On June 4th “Sir D and Lady B etc came over and we all played tennis. Good games. I was given 8/6 & promised £1. Jolly good.” And sure enough, two days later ‘Sir D’ stumped up. After a similar encounter the following week ‘Sir D’ produced another 9/-. Jolly good! But then a man who dined off gold plate, as was noted on 12th Nov “To lunch with Sir D on gold plate” could obviously well afford it. The jackpot seems to have been on 2 August 1934 when “Sir D left for Harrogate - gave me £5. V.G.” V.G. indeed.

Back to 1933. On 27th April “we decided to get a Standard Big Nine Car... registration number AGU 316.” I like “we”; perhaps he chipped in with a contribution from his winnings from ‘Sir D.’ Two days later “went into Windsor in the morning and got a book ‘Motor Racing’” so you can see how his mind was working. By May 2nd he was behind the wheel; “Drove the car up and down the drive. Easy car to drive.” - compared to all those others! Mind you, he may well have been the most experienced driver in the family as it was only on the 3rd May that “Mum had her first lesson in the new car with Miss Evans. Mum drove jolly well” and not till 5th did “Dad” have his first lesson. However Dick's skills seems to have been limited to strictly forward motion for some 6 months, as it is not till August 16th that he records “backed the car up our drive.” Then, on August 20th, “I had my first lesson in driving the car from Mum.” - a shocking case of the blind leading the halt. Presumably “mum's” driving was better than her tennis (or she was very charitable) because on 1st May “Played a litle tennis with Mum. I won 6-0, 6-1, 6-0, 6-0” Dad was made of sterner stuff. On August 18 1934 “I played tennis with Dad. I won 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.” Anyway, here's the limmo.

[IMAGE src="car.jpg" width="450" height="300" alt="not scanned yet" /]

AGU 316 evidently had plenty of use or abuse because by 21st April 1934 “In afternoon went out in car but took it to Morton's garage to have the clutch and gears repaired.”

On 30th April it was “hot” so he “wore white bags.”

Scholastically, at the end of the Summer Term Dick was placed 6th out of 24 in the Middle IV and at the end of the Winter Term was 11th out of 20 in Lower Shell - whatever any of that signifies! He was the intermittent receiver of “lines” - usually 100 or 150. The occasions on which he was given them and by whom are noted, as are their execution and often when handed in, but with one exception never for what offence - the exception being on 9 May 1934 “got 100 lines from C... for talking.” One might have expected Dick's activites of early May to have excited the notice of the authorities; on the 8th he “got 3 stink bombs”; which inevitably meant that on the 10th he “let off 2 stink bombs.” One left un-accounted for. Oh! wait a minute! what's this? On 13th “let off 6 stink bombs. Good fun.” Where did they come from? Not, I think, from his own chemical-warfare laboratory. The stink-bombing campaign seems to have gone unpunished; no mention is made of being told to write 500 times “I must not make a filthy smell.”

1933 seems to have been unmarred by tragedy until the very end when “this afternoon Peter the small kitten died and Dad buried him just behind the wall. Not very old. Blood poisoning due to Rat.”

1934 is unique in that there are two diaries; the usual pocket diary, more or less complete, and a larger, desk diary only partly written up from Jan 1st till March 23rd. What follows is taken from the latter, and therefore written when Dick was about 15½. It does not make for very gripping reading! Almost without exception each day's entry begins with a pretty complete summary of the weather. Then it is usually a question of things done, never reported speech. Here is one of the better entries for Monday 26 February 1934.

The weather today was not very good. It did not rain at all but it was very cold and windy. School today was alright. [sic] There were no games, and we had corps in the classrooms. We did not do anything, just sat there and listened to a lot of rot. I took my old 3 power microscope to school today and lent it to Woolcombe, as he might want to buy it for 12/6.

Woolcombe apprears not to have come up trumps, at least not before the diary entries stop at March 23rd. In a separate notebook ca 1935 among the many hand written lists Dick made (of books - whether read, to sell, or to buy is unclear; films seen; the date, subject, light, lens, filter, stop and exposure of every photo! and the result - v.good, fair etc; Christmas presents given and received; first aid (including snake bite); morse code; extracts from a number of plays and the price of season tickets between Windsor and Moorgate) - among all this lot is a short list of "Things for Sale" organized in 3 columns headed “Object”, “Price”, and “Buyer”. The objects are listed as “Air Pistol (warrior), Stop Watch, Microscoope (small) a one third share in throwing knife, sundry books.” There are no entries under “price” or “buyer”. Whether Dick was thinking of selling a one third part of the throwing knife while retaining a two-thirds controlling interest, or whether his only share in the said knife was one third whose value he was hoping to realise in cash, is not explained.

Mention of the microscope provides a clue to one of Dick's interests; there are a number of references to microscopy in the diary. Collecting cuttings from magazines seems to have occupied him as well; “I filed a large number of articles and pictures to do with motor racing, ships, aeroplanes, and the like” [10.i.1934] Pictures and articles about film stars were also of interest and he seems to have gone to the cinema frequently. In 1934 he saw 25 films at the Rialto in Maidenhead, 2 at the Playhouse in Windsor and 3 in London - according to the list of “Films I have seen in 1934” - whereas the year before Windsor was the favoured cinema with 12 visits, then Maidenhead with 8 and Slough with 6. He usually went with his mother plus a variety of other people - including on at least one occasion (3 April 1934) “Sir D“. Dick's father seems rarely to have been one of the party. There are also occasional references to painting or drawing - “In the afternoon I did a little painting. I only started it, - 'Cintra',[sic] in Lisbon.” This work is now believed lost.

He refers throughout his diaries to his parents as “Mum” and “Dad”. Other family members make brief appearances. His half-sister Doris had married in 1927 and already had two sons, Ian and David. Andrew would follow in 1936. However, back in 1934, on the 9th of February Dudley, his youngest half-brother, “came home for a few days from Australia” and stayed till the 11th, when “Dudley was here all day but he had to go back to the ship in the evening. In the afternoon, before he went, we had a game of 'Bicycle Polo' on the lawn. It was a good game. Dudley won 10 - 7.“ But on February 15th “Dudley came back in the evening for a few days” during which he was having dancing lessons, even on the Sabbath, for on the morning of Sunday 18th “Dudley went and had his dancing lesson in Windsor. I went with him and watched. He is quite good.” Bruce was a visitor in early March but on the 18th “went back to the ship (Mongolia) in the evening.”

There is also the occasional oddity such as this; “I came home early and fooled around in the house, and studied the ordanance survey map for some time. I discovered numerous strange places.” I daresay cartographers would claim others got there first. And on Jan 16th he records a trip by train to London with his friend Bass (no other people are mentioned as being on this jaunt) where they “wandered about in the morning before lunch. In the afternoon went to the London Pavillion and saw a very good show. The total cost was 10/3½ (each).” Occasionally he listened to a play on the ‘wireless’ including ‘Trent's Last Case.

But far and away the most carefully recorded activity was reading. This is what one young lad of 15½ read in the first 3 months of 1934.

8th Jan: He began Grim Death which he finished on Jan 12th and pronounced “a very good book.”
12th Jan: Started Keep On the Light “of the same series” finished on the 15th. No verdict recorded.
15th Jan: Read Endless Story by ‘Taffrail’ which progressed from being “very good” to “a jolly good book” and finally pronounced “very fine and true.”
28th Jan: Jungle Ways by ‘Seabrook’ was found to be “a very fine and descriptive book, all about various savage tribes in Africa. It is, of course, true and is about recent times about 1928”
29th Jan: Straight on with In Quest of the Sun by Alain Gerbault
4th Feb: He started 1066 and All That which he finished two days later and immediately took up its sequel
6th Feb: And Now All This. He recorded having bought both books for 3/- on 16th Nov 1933!
12th Feb: Began The Last Home of Mystery by Powell (“it is all about India and is very interesting...”)
14th Feb: Nights Ashore [very appropriate on Valentine's Day which otherwise went unremarked] written by Jack Hamilton which was a copy signed by the author and a Christmas present from Dudley
15th Feb: The Percy F. Waterman Omnibus sounds chunky and was pronounced “a fairly good book but impossible.”
25th Feb: Out West With Westy Martin by P.K. Fitzlage (?) “not a bad book, and not too much of the Yankee stuff in it.” [That's where I get it from!]
11th March: Lords of the Air
19th March: The Broad Highway by Jeffery Farnol “quite good”
21st March: Finally, but not finally, The Empire Annual for Boys vol 22 “not a bad book but very boyish.” Which is no more than you'd expect from the title.

At which point the diary breaks off, but not the reading and collecting books which went on throughout his life with the oft-repeated refrain of “not more books!” from my mother. And while he was indulging in all the above extra-curicula reading he still found time to do his prep according to his diary!

An outbreak of measles was noted, but not chronicled in any great detail. Dick himself was off school with something which seems not to have been measles. There was at least one death however; on Feb 19 “I went back to school to-day, alright. I am off games and corps untill further notice, as I still have a bit of a cold. There are still numerous cases of measles. When I got back I discovered that M. STREET” [Dick's capitalization] “died of double pneumonia on last Friday evening. His people are in India.” The following day “In the morning we had a service in the Chapel in memory of M. Street. It was quite sad. Mr Beckwith looked very ‘cut up’ about it.” Mr Beckwith, or Sidney B as we usually referred to him years later, was to have the pleasure of administering numerous thrashings to me - all no doubt richly deserved but never for smoking on the roof, dropping stuff down the chimneys of staff rooms, breaking in to the school tuck-shop on a regular basis - in the company of others! I digress.

Other medical matters are noted - “Mum had an operation performed on her head today, as she had three cists cut out, by Dr Cudigan (assisted by Dr Gilespy). Mum was feeling very ill and rotten with a great deal of pain. Of course she was in bed all day” - which in fact turned in to the better part of a week. This diary ends with a medical mystery. On March 16 Dick wrote “There were no games but I think I have a bit of a cold. I have a slight tooth-ache in the broken tooth at the back (on my left). Made an appointment with the dentist for next Friday.” The following day he was confirmed by the Bishop of Oxford - just in case! I wonder if Dick had confessed to the Chaplain or anyone that on June 21st 1933 he had “made an Idol”? Presumably it was found inefficacious so other deities were resorted to - with what results God alone knows. Back to the tooth on the 19th “I did not go to school to-day as I feel rotten, and my tooth paining. The Dentist says it is an abcess and he will take the tooth out on Friday by gas, if it is better.” [sic!] On the 22nd “I did not go to school today. I stayed indoors most of the day, going out into the garden now and again. My toothache has almost gone now. I am having it out tomorrow.” Fast forward to ‘tomorrow’ but alas; Thursday 22nd February was the last entry in that diary. However, the pocket diary reveals that he “had my offending tooth taken out with gas.”

But not quite the end of the diary, as there is one final intriguing entry - the final one in fact. “In the evening Dad went to the meeting of the Windsor Fashists. Mum sat in the car. I read stories out of 'Chums' 30-31.” Five years later, almost to the day, Dick's father noted on the back of the photograph of Dick above the precise date (3rd March 1939) on which Dick “left home to join H.M.S. Resolution” to fight the German Fascists. ‘Dad’ went to a second meeting of the Windsor Fascists on 11 April 1934 with a Mr Law. Some other notable events for 1934 were;

March 29 Mum and myself went to London. Mum had her hair permed but I wandered around for a little while.
April 11 Made a pair of stilts.
April 12 Finished my stilts in the morning. O.K. Practised stilt walking in the afternoon.
April 19 Read ‘Strange As It Seems’ [No irony, but the title of a book.] Dad went to see a Mr Crosse, stockbroker. Went too. [which might be significant in view of his first career move after school, and in view of...]
April 27 In evening had talk with Dad about my future.
May 9 Came home about 4.0. A policeman had tea with us (oficially). [Not a word of explanation!]
May 17 Mum went to London - put her fur coat in cold storage.
May 29 [Something happened that was “painless” but just what you will have to decipher for yourself! The entry ends: Mum saw a doctor. She has to have her tonsils out. [which she did on...]
June 11 Mum had her tonsils out at 12 a.m. today. Getting on O.K. [but was in bed till June 24th!]
July 8 Dad's birthday. Mum fainted. O.K. now.
July 31 Celebrated the first day of the holidays by going in to Windsor where he “bought a knife and 2 pipes.
August 4 Bought an I.S.C. shield for 14/6 [I still have the shield.]
August 11 In the afternoon we went over to the Bennets ... and met a fairly young German couple. Jolly decent. I had my first ’social‘ smoke - in company. [Nowadays considered anti-social!]
August 15 Mum was assaulted. [Sorry! but that is all he wrote.]
August 29 Went and saw a court case at Windsor Courts. Good. Finished ’Murders and Murder Trials’. V.G.
August 25 Mum, Dad and myself went in bus to Maidenhead and got a punt. Brought it back. [Presumably not on the bus. ‘The Willows’, where they were living, had access to the Thames.]
August 30 Went into Windsor...bought a small pipe 2/6 Good. Almost finished my ash tray. [Just as well! He had started a novel ash tray the previous day. It seems he may have put this to too good a use or indulged in over-vigorous dottle knocking for on ...]
Sept 3 Mended my pipe stem.
Sept 9 Gambled in the evening. [No details.]
Sept 17 Got stung by a wasp. O.K.
Sept 18 Had first injection against colds. [Had the 3rd and last on 2 Oct.]
Sept 19 A youth banged into the rear of our car. Not mum's fault. Dogs killed 1 hen. [The culprit to be revealed on the 25th.]
Sept 22 First day of Christmas Term... Am in A block. Lower V. Good.
Sept 25 Susie killed 2 hens. [Which inevitably meant...]
Sept 26 We sold Susie £1.
Oct 18 Got beaten by Brock. 3 for not wearing corps boots on watch on Tuesday. Quite O.K.
Oct 31 The Prince of Wales came to the school in afternoon. He spoke etc. He was there for 1 hour.
Dec 1 Man was caught in the Hatch.
Dec 26 Have a weird rash on myself. Mum also has it.
Dec 27 Had a heavy rash and Dr Cuddigan came. I have German Measles. Went to bed. Mum also went to bed with a rash. (Poisoning.) [And there he stayed till the 31st and the diary ends.]

He spent his final school year (1934) in the ‘Remove’. I only know two stories from his school days. His house-master Sidney Beckwith, then a young man, had recently married a pretty, young blonde wife who, some twenty years later, tried to teach me to paint. The Beckwith's bathroom was immediately below Dick's dormitory. Ever keen to expand their knowledge of comparative anatomy the occupants of Dick's dormitory decided to prise up a strategic floor board or two and make a suitable hole in the ceiling below, through which the contours of the comely wife could be observed as she went about her ablutions. The boards were loosened, the spy-hole made; all that was required was the sound of running water. Duly alerted by encouraging sounds that the show was on, the kneeling occupants of the dormitory jostled for position but unfortunately, in doing so, dislodged a chunk of plaster onto the occupant below, who turned out not to be the shapely wife, but the less-attractive bulk of her by now irate husband. They were all soundly thrashed. This presumably was before 1933 or would surely have merited a mention in his diary, where the only beating noted was that on 8 Oct 1934 (see above) “Got beaten by Brock...” etc.

I know of one other misdemeanour that won Dick the posterior attentions of Sidney B. Being bored one day in chapel and finding himself possessed of a razor blade he unpicked the seam on the back of the jacket of the boy slumped forward on the pew in front of him. The result was twofold; 1] when the congregation was invited to arise the boy in front arose as did his jacket; one half to the left, and one to the right; 2] my father received a well-deserved thrashing. [Information obtained direct from the offender.]

I can vouch for the quality of thrashings administered by ‘Sidney B.’ By the time of my schooling, he was head-master of the I.S.C. prep-school which had amalgamated with Haileybury. He had had some thirty years in which to improve his aim and perfect his technique from which I beneifitted on many occasions - “ this is for your own good...” etc. If this should create the impression that Sidney B was a slavering sadist, that would be incorrect; he was fair-minded and well liked. Bearing in mind that to a ten- or twelve-year old, anyone over 15 is old and anyone over 20 positively antiquated, by the time Sidney B was called upon to administer justice to my nethers ca. 1960, he must have had more than a touch of the sear and yellow about him, and probably retired shortly after I left the school. However, the nerve endings in my buttocks carry the memory to this day of the vigour of his strokes. Were they diminished by age, then those received by my father must have been truly resounding.

I wonder if the ritual was the same in my father's day. Malefactors in my time were summoned by Beckwith to give an account of themselves before sentencing. If it was to be a beating, this was always received in pyjamas just before lights-out with the guilty party bent over the foot of his bed, the other occupants neatly tucked up in theirs. Justice was thus done and seen to be done by the other occupants of the dormitory. The minute Beckwith withdrew the victim lowered his pyjama trousers and a discussion ensued as to the quality of the caning; the spacing and severity of strokes delivered being analysed by young cognoscenti with the aplomb of old farts discussing the club's port, cricket scores or whatever it is that old farts discuss. There was cause for self-congratulation if the spacing was wide and the welts less than bloody, but no kudos to be gained thereby; that required closely spaced strokes with well-risen weals, and preferably some blood, born with stoicism. I don't remember any beating being considered ‘deserved’; transgressions meriting the cane were usually against the régime rather than one's peers. By the same token, beatings were rarely considered unfair. But I digress.

rada.jpg I left school to work as a clerk in a Stockbroker's office (Waithman, Donegan and Co., 11 Copthall Court, London, E.C.) and was there for about a year. Finding this job uncongenial, and the ultimate prospect dull, and being very anxious to get into the theatre, I became a student at the R.A.D.A.

It was obviously unnecessary to dwell on another job preceeding that with Waithman, Donegan and Co., that of a bookie's runner. Apparently one of his first tasks was to deliver something to a certain address - winnings, a hot tip whatever. As his tentative, preliminary rings failed to arouse anyone, Dick applied himself to the knocker, only to have the door suddenly flung open from within by a scantilly clad woman in full tirade; "ooo the 'ell d'yer fink ye'r? Makin' all that bloomin' racket. 'snuff to raise the bloomin' dead. Andgerlate. Well don't just bleddin' staynd there gawpin' fer all me naybers. Get yer arse up them stairs!" So up them stairs he got his arse and only with the greatest difficulty managed to get through to the lady that he was a mere delivery boy, not a customer seeking a bit of a Beckwith. With work experience like this, plus his scholastic record, Dick was a natural for the Stock Exchange. Common sense finally prevailed and he auditioned successfully for R.A.D.A.

At the R.A.D.A. I was awarded the Irene Vanburgh Prize in my third term, and a certificate of Merit in my fourth term when a finalist. (Diplomas were not awarded to students leaving at the end of a Summer Term).

gardelle.jpg While at the R.A.D.A. he also studied art which remained a life-long interest and hobby. This grizzly picture is the outcome of research Dick did into “The Murder of Mrs Anne King by Theodore Gardelle in Leicester Fields, London, 1761” - as Dick entitled the notebook into which he transcribed information from a dozen or so books which he studied in the British Museum Reading Room between 24th October and 29th November 1938. I can be so precise because he preserved all the library slips! Just what it was that Dick found so absorbing about this case I do not know, unless it was the bizarre manner in which Theodore Gardelle tried to kill himself after his arrest. I think Dick may have had a play in mind, although I know of no sketches etc, but only the one volume of copious notes from which the above illustration is taken. On being thwarted in his attempt to take poison (arsenic or opium depending on whose version you believe) he tried to commit suicide by swallowing two dozen ha'pennies. I remember Dick telling me of this in my youth. Jack Ketch finished the job in due course. Like many of us, Dick read about crime - both fact and fiction. He recorded on 19 June 1934; I bought a book - Murders and Trials - for half a crown - one of many such acquisitions.

On leaving the R.A.D.A I joined H.V. Neilson's Frank Benson Shakespeare Company, touring in an odd assortment of parts in a repertoire of nine plays. During the Christmas break I played in a Pantomime at the People's Palace.

In the Autumn of 1938 I was at Miss Thorburn's Theatre in Uckfield, Sussex - but this was an ill-fated season, upset by the Munich crisis etc., and I joined Eric Blankney's Academy Players, produced by Wallace Evenett. This was a fit-up Company touring round schools and the smaller towns with scenes from Shakespeare and Shaw's ‘Arms and the Man’.

There is an undated address book which must be from around 1938 and which may give some indication of how far afield Dick's touring took him, as a number of the addresses are indicated as “digs”. The places include London, Uckfield, Bromley, Westcliff-on-Sea, Clifton (Bristol), Exeter and Torquay.

He made his stage debut in, I think, Sheridan's ‘School For Scandal’, though what part I am unsure. The only other annecdote of Dick's stage career concerned a part in which he was onstage with a basket of figs or fruit. On the first night, word-perfect and with a well-rehearsed dramatic flourish he announced “I take my fruit and go!” or words to that effect, and stage direction that he do just that. Unbeknownst to Dick, some “whoreson knave” in the cast had nailed his basket to the floor! Very childish - like putting the Office stapler in jelly.

The following spring I was offered the job of Assistant Manager (front of house) to J.E. Masterton, for the Wilson Barrett and Esmond Knight Company at the King's Theatre, Hammersmith, and was there until mobilized into the Royal Navy in August 1939, when I was just 21.

raw_recruit.jpg The photograph at right was taken about the time Dick enlisted. The reverse is inscribed in his father's handwriting; “3rd Sept. 1938 War declared. 3rd March left home to join H.M.S.‘Resolution’.” Dick always maintained that he was the first casualty of the War. He was making merry somewhere at the thought of killing Jerry when, within five minutes of War being declared he was coshed in a public lavatory and robbed of ten bob. I have it in the back of my mind that the scene of the crime was the public lavatories in the Guildhall in Windsor, but may have this wrong, so don't put a plaque up yet. [Ten bob was slang for ten shillings, and ten shillings was 'old money' for fifty pence. The only beer I knew Dick to drink was ‘bitter’. Depending on his preferred tipple at the time, whether for ‘ordinary’ or ‘best’ etc., 10/- would have bought 15 to 20 pints, more than enough to ensure approaching war in the right frame of mind. (In 1939, porter and best mild were 6d a pint; ordinary bitter 7p a pint; best bitter and stout 8d a pint.) Dick was a very modest drinker; I only ever knew him to drink the occasional half pint or glass of wine. God knows where I get it from!]

In spite of coming off second best in the opening campaign of the war, Dick was only to suffer one other minor injury - and that as a result of ‘friendly fire’. He contrived to step in front of a small-arms instructor just as the instructor went ‘live’. Dick received the bullet in the leg but it was pronounced inoperable as its removal was likely to cause more harm than good. He showed no ill effects and it certainly never affected his walking, which was always at a tremendously brisk rate. Of which more anon. I believe the nearest he came to any major action was on the fringes of the Battle of Narvik. He was a gunnery spotter; that is to say he had to observe the trajectories of shells and, relative to their intended targets say “up a bit”, “left a bit” etc. Apart from serving on the Resolution there is a photo of HMS Zambesi among his pictures and on which he served, as also HMS Baldur II. But I probably owe my name to the fact that for a while Leading Writer Linklater C/SR 8497 was to be found in Mess 2M of Duncan Block at the R.N. Barracks, Chatham.

I served as a rating until August 1941; a leading Hand until March 1943, and a Petty Officer until commissioned as a Paymaster Sub Lieutenant in July 1943. In the following year I was awarded twelve months accelerated promotion, following special commendation by the C-in-C, Plymouth, and was made a Lieutenant (S).

When in Iceland 1942/43 I used to assist in the short Forces Broadcasts relayed from Reykjavik. These were run by a Flight Lieutenant Thornton, R.A.F. who had been a B.B.C. man before the war. They mostly consisted of variety and orchestral programmes made up from gramaphone records, but we also read news summaries and so on. I also helped to run gramaphone record concerts for the Y.M.C.A., and later, when I was in Cornwall, in 1944, I ran similar weekly concerts.

Among Dick's letters was preserved a typed copy of ‘Four Excerpts’ from ‘R.N.V.R. - Twenty Years’. I don't know who the author was or what this was, whether a book, article etc. but the excerpts relate to the author's time stationed in Iceland and Falmouth.

I was in charge of the Outer Office and answerable to the Admiral's Secretary, Paymaster Lieutenant Commander Ronald Owen R.N. The desk next to mine was occupied by Leading Writer N.V. Linklater, known then as "Links" and next to him sat Leading Writer Neil W Nicholson, an employee of Christian Salvesen & Co. Ltd. He had some knowledge of Scandinavian languages and, exceptionally, may have been in his second year in Iceland. Many evenings working late provided opportunity to get to know ratings with whom one worked resulting in two lasting friendships. Leading Writer Linklater had been through R.A.D.A. and had been Assistant Stage manager for the Wilson Barrett Repertory Company. Owen and I agreed that he was wasting his talents and encouraged him to apply for a Commission in aid of which he was promoted to Acting Petty Officer Writer and, in due course, went back to the U.K., appeared before a Board and was commissioned as a paymaster Sub. Lieutenant R.N.V.R.

When I arrived at Falmouth I found a minimal staff in the Admiral's Office. This was understandable because naval activity had not been great. I had a good relationship with the office of the Paymaster Director-General in Admiralty and was able to persuade them that there was an urgent requirement for a Secretary for the Maintenance Captain, who doubled as Commanding Officer, H.M.S.Forte. This was filled by Paymaster Sub. Lieutenant Anthony Creery-Hill R.N.V.R., who became a friend and remains so. Another urgent requirement was for a Confidential Book Officer. This was filled by Paymaster Sub. Lieutenant N.V. (Dick) Linklater R.N.V.R.

I was living in rooms a short distance from the office and Dick joined me thus furthering our friendship. His work load was considerable as he was responsible for issuing Confidential Books to both R.N. and U.S.N. Ships and Establishments throughout the Command. Also serving on the Admiral's Staff was Second Officer Peggy Boissard W.R.N.S. of a talented family, who hailed from Guatemala where her Father had a plantation. They fell in love and were married on 31st July 1944. I was thus left on my own and moved to Church Farm, near Budock Water 2 miles approx. distant from Falmouth. Living was good with plenty of eggs, Cornish Cream etc. and kind hosts. I bicycled up and down steep hills, partly on church paths, but when the Admiral and I were working late, he insisted that I be taken back by service transport, a procedure which worried the Maintenance Captain to no avail.

A notice in the paper announced that “on 31 July 1944 at the Church of St Stephen and St Mawnon, Cornwall, Sub-Lt N.V. Linklater R.N.V.R... [married] ...Margaret Lilian Boissard...” The church is in a village called Mawnon Smith a few miles south-west of Falmouth.

In course of running down the Falmouth Command after VE Day, Dick Linklater reported that all the Confidential Books from the Coastal Forces Base had been returned with no corrections inserted. I sent a signal to the Commanding Officer, Commander Halliwell R.C.N. Retd. to recover the books and correct them. His reaction was to tell me that he would not stand for such a signal sent by me! I replied that the signal came from the Admiral. As he is insisted that I was the originator, I said he was correct and that the Admiral would see him at 2 p.m. so that he could state his complaint. As I expected, the Admiral said “Well done”. Shortly after, the Commander called to say that he had thought better of his complaint and did not wish to see the Admiral who was not surprised when I told him.

I continued to serve as a Lieutenant (S) until released in April 1946, and at the end of my leave in June of that year I got the job of Films Officer to the Army Kinema Corporation, Northern District, here in York. [They were living at ‘Tranby Croft’, The Avenue, Clifton, York.] My appointment now is as District Documentary Films Manager, and my salary is £525 per annum. It is an administrative post.

I joined this corporationon on the advice and recommendation of Mr Masterton, who had been the General Manager of King's Theatre, and who is the District Manager of the Army Kinema Corporation here. He then held out promise of a new theatre venture, which has, however, fallen through; and I wish to return to work connected with the theatre and the other arts.

I was married in 1944, have a son of 2½ and my wife is having another baby in April. Me!

Which is where we came in with Dick soliciting employment with the Arts Council early in 1948. All of which bore fruit because on 10th Feb 1948 the General Secretary of the Arts Council of Great Britain wrote “I am authorised to offer you on behalf of the Council a position as Assistant Regional Director in Nottingham. The Council offers, in the first case, a contract for one year at a salary of £450, to which would be added an expense allowance of £156...You woud be required to take up your duties in Nottingham on the 1st April or shortly after that date...”

Dick's letter of acceptance dated 11 Feb 1948 concluded; “I note that I will be required to take up my new duties on the 1st April or shortly after. May I please ask a concession here, that, if convenient to the Council, the commencing date be a few days after the 1st. I will be required to work-out my present job until the 31st March, and as my wife is expecting her baby on the 8th April [I was 2 days late] I will appreciate some time beteween appointments.” Concession presumably conceeded.

My earliest memories are of Nottingham and one such concerns a performance of ‘Peter and the Wolf’. Dick for some reason supplied them with the necessary goose feathers. (I know! I know! it was a duck; but you can't see duck feathers from the back of an auditorium can you? although I recollect the venue as more like a school or village hall.) This was the first performance I can recall to which I had access through Dick's work for the Arts Council which over the years gave us, as a family, many fantastic opportunities of see the best that was on offer, not just in the way of theatre, opera and ballet, but also to the many exhibitions promoted by the Arts Council.

There came a time, however, when Dick's enthusiasm for the job began to wane, largely because of the crass interference by politicians, endless fights over funding - one example I remember cited being that pickled gherkins or cucumbers receiving more subsidy than the proposed National Theatre - and the increasingly narrowly bureaucratic focus of the job. Having played a leading part in ridding the theatre of political interference with the abolition of censorship, and having steered the National Theatre to its eventual successful launch, the prospects ahead did not inspire interest or instil confidence that things would improve. The opportunity to take early retirement arose and in 1978 he took it, aged 60. In preparation for this Dick and Peg had already moved in 1974 from 102 King's Road, Windsor to 1 Church Close, East Hagbourne where they spent the rest of their days and both had their ashes scattered in St. Andrew's church yard.

There were two obituary notices for Dick printed in the national papers which fill in most of the blanks of his career with the Arts Council. Both used the photo at the head of the page, which everyone thought was taken at some grand ‘do’, but was in fact taken at the local village fête by a photographer from the local bladder. The silver goblet Dick is clutching in his right hand was awarded annually for the best show of roses - which on that occasion he was clutching in his left. First the obituary which appeared in The Independent on Friday 24 October 1997.

N.V. Linklater - Cutting Edge.

Nelson Valdemar Linklater, Arts Administrator. Born Bombay I5 August 1918. Assistant Regional Director (Nottingham), Arts Council of Great Britain 1948-52, Assistant and Deputy Drama Director 1952-70, Drama Director1970-77; OBE 1967, CBE I974. Married 1944 Peggy Boissard (two Sons). Died Oxford 19 October 1997.

Behind any organisation such as the Arts Council of Great Britain, with its necessarily high-profile chairman and chief executive, there are invariably dedicated and frequently self-effacing officers in responsible positions. It is their hard work that often provides the cutting edge as well as the essential back-up to the organisation's public operation. N.V. Linklater was just such a man.

After service in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, and short periods with the Army Kinema Corporation and working in the theatre, virtually the whole of “Dick” Linklater's professional life was spent on the staff of the Arts Council, whose regional office in Nottingham he joined in 1948. Moving to London four years later he was subsequently promoted within the council's drama department, finally becoming its drama director in 1970.

Chief among the developments in the British theatre during that time were the abolition of theatre censorship, the revival of the Royal Court Theatre, which focused attention on theatre writing and led amongst much else to the rapid development of the Arts Council's own new drama schemes, and the creation of the National Theatre. In all of these he played a significant part.

Much of his work however was concentrated on the regional companies that together made up that unique grid of repertory theatres that served its audiences so well throughout Britain over so many years. Linklater's belief in this system stemmed in part from his own early experience in the theatre in Nottingham, where the local company's growing success led eventually to the building of a striking new theatre. Using this as an example, he continued to support other such worthwhile developments, realising that the public as well as the profession itself needed and deserved the best conditions possible in which to develop a fruitful relationship. It was the first signs of a gradual erosion of the council's much-valued independence and of its "arm's length" principle that prompted Linklater's decision to retire early in 1978.

He had always had a particular concern for stage design, having advanced early on an Arts Council scheme for young designers to gain practical experience in the theatre; in his retirement he developed his own latent talent for painting.

And this was the obituary that appeared in The Times

N. V. LINKLATER

N. V: Linklater, CBE, arts administrator, died on October 19 aged 79. He was born in Bombay on August 15, 1918.

IN THIRTY years on the staff of the Arts Council, N. V. Linklater was actively involved in significant developments in the theatre, most notably the remarkable post-war growth of the country-wide repertory system, which led in turn to the construction of many new theatres, and, pre-eminently, to the creation of the National Theatre.

All of his work stemmed from a strong belief that as an officer of the Arts Council it was his job to enable things to happen. He saw himself essentially as a man from the theatre, arguing its case and breaking down barriers between administrators and practitioners. In this, of course, he had the support of the drama panel, a regularly changing body of professionals currently working in the theatre, on whose advice the council depended to help formulate its policy.

Nelson Valdemar Linklater owed his first name to his being the son of a seafarer. However, after leaving the Imperial Service College, where he was educated, and enrolling at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art he changed it to Richard, thus becoming known as Dick. He served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during the war, seeing action in both Norway and Iceland.

Even before the war he had concluded that he was not cut out to be an actor, so when he was demobbed he first became a documentary films manager for the Army Kinema Corporation. It was perhaps there that he discovered a talent for administration, and in 1948 he joined the Arts Council of Great Britain as assistant regional director in Nottingham, in charge of drama.
Under André van Gyseghen and then John Harrison, the Nottingham Playhouse Company had already made a mark on the theatrical scene, and Linklater followed its growth and expansion into a striking new theatre, with its drum-shaped auditorium, with a special sense of involvement. John Neville, Frank Dunlop and Richard Eyre were three of its later artistic directors.
Linklater subsequently joined the Arts Council's drama department in St James's Square, London, and was promoted over the years first to assistant, then to deputy and finally, in 1970, to director of drama.

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He did much to encourage partnerships between local authorities and the Arts Council in the funding of regional companies, aware that local support and involvement were essential to their continuing success. He also knew that the future health of the theatre at large depended on the training of young professionals. Writing is the theatre's life-blood, and special schemes were developed to commission and support the presentation of new plays. The John Whiting Award, in memory of the playwright, was established to give new writing a still higher profile. Linklater's strong personal interest in stage design also led him to initiate a scheme to give trainee designers opportunities to work in theatres. He was appointed OBE in 1967 and advanced to CBE in 1974.

He retired early, in 1978, feeling that the Arts Council was in danger of losing its much-valued independence. He maintained his interest in the theatre by serving on the boards of the Oxford Play-house, the Southern Arts Association, the Central and St Martin's School of Art and Design, and the Arts Council Trust for special funds. In retirement he had at last time to read more, to devote to charities such as the Council for the Protection of Rural England, and to develop his latent talent for painting. He was especially delighted when Lord Goodman, the one-time chairman of the Arts Council, purchased one of his oils.

A gentle, kind man, he was always ready to give help and advice to any individual wise enough to ask for it. Many working in the theatre today have good reason to be grateful for his long devotion to it. He leaves a widow, Peggy, and two sons.

Dick had and maintained till his dying day an astonishingly good memory not just for who played what in which production, where and when and directed by whom, but also books, their authors and contents. He was an avid and adventurous reader, including modern poetry, as well as being similarly stimulated by contemporary art for which again he had a discerning and appreciative eye. I would hazard a guess that he was keenest on British 20th century art and artists, Ben Nicholson, Moore, both Nashes, Hitchins, Spencer, Sutherland being among many he admired, but not without some reservations. When he became Head of the Drama Department at the Arts Council, one of his first acts was to have a picture in his office by Bacon replaced with one by Ben Nicholson, a thoroughly sensible choice. He also bought pictures in a modest way. Similarly he was a keen explorer of music of all types - although I never remember him playing any rubbish like country and western or for that matter any 'pop'. He was as partial to clasical Indian music as he was to Indian food, which he was adept at cooking, having possibly inherited the skill from his mother.

A quirk possibly inherited from his father was an inability to whistle, which Dick was forbidden to do by Dum, the explanation being that because whistling is forbidden in the Royal Navy, where a man whistling was the signal for mutinies at Spithead and The Nore, so it was banned in the Linklater household. Apart from the fact that Dum was never in the Royal Navy, it is posible that Dum was himself prohibited from whistling by his father, James Stevens Linklater, whose livlihood centred around fishermen, and who was born and raised in Orkney, among whose fishermen whistling was one of many freets*, superstitions or taboos, against anything that might bring ill luck; freets included using certain words or subjects at sea e.g. hare, pig or salmon. Other things to be avoided were ministers and women in general, and in the case of the latter, especially those with flat feet, a squint, or any married woman believed to be barren! “To be on the safe side, really superstitious fishermen avoided women entirely on the way to sea.” [Miller: 1994] - which I suppose saved a lot of embarassing questions about a woman's marital status and fecundity. Whistling was freet lest it summonned the wind. I must stop whistling! *FREET is said to come from 'fruit', meaning the essence of something which could be stolen by witchcraft or sorcery, and came to be generalized to include any superstition.

My parents lived for some 18 years in Windsor in a house opposite what is known as The Long Walk. There are two railway stations in Windsor - the price exacted I believe by Queen Victoria for permitting the GWR to sully her pelucid environment. One, I think called ‘The Central’ goes to Paddington and requires a change at Slough; the other, (‘Riverside’?) about a quarter of a mile further on than the Central went to Waterloo without changes and was Dick's preferred commute to work. On some occasions, a trip to the theatre meant a trip up to London with Dick first thing in the morning. He almost invariably walked to the station; up the Long Walk and through the town past the Castle, a distance in excess of a mile I would say. He had it timed down to the last second. He would often wolf breakfast, as perforce would anyone else accompanying him to London have to, before the ‘walk’ to the station. Even when 18 years old, in the 1st [Rowing] VIII at school and in training for Henley, it still used to bring me out in a sweat! At a younger age, these mad dashes for the train were a real test of stamina; impossible to walk, and not quite a run - more of a commuter's lope.

A partial flash-back to his school days and the time spent in ‘remove’. For a number of years Dick was on the board of, I think, the Central School, along with Lawrence Olivier and other leading theatrical alumni. It was suggested that the Central School have an admissions policy requiring at least 5 ‘O’ levels - the then mid secondary school exams. There was a short silence before someone queried the wisdom of such a policy in the light of the fact that they, the assembled company, probably could not muster that many between the whole lot of them. Nor could they! Which may be one reason why Dick was so remarkably tolerant of my own and (I think I may safely say) my brother's less than scintilating school records. ‘Wayward’ I think would be the most flattering description of our careers. Tolerant and forebearing to a degree, but when required Dick could deliver discipline and I was on occasions beaten with a stick - richly deserved on every occasion, no doubt. Not just any old stick, but THE stick. After cataloguing the string of egregious misdemeanours under review, with the solemnity of a judge donning his black cap, I would be ordered, to “go and get the stick!” I knew which one from the collection in the hall stand was meant; a short, smooth, light-brown number, with a knob handle - not, fortunately, the longer, heavier, and more knobbly blackthorn item! But waste no sympathy; this was no merciless flogging, but the judicious and very occasional moderate application of bough to butt. While it did no good, it did no harm.

I am in two minds whether to leave the above paragraph in, as possibly tending to give an impression that Dick was anything other than a thoroughly reasonable, fair-minded, tolerant and liberal parent. I included it equally to avoid giving the impression that Dick was a push-over. He was not; you do not get to the top of any profession without a streak of intellectual rigour and determination.

He died after an unsuccessful heart operation. He had had slight problems for several years, none of which dented his enthusiasm for taking the dog for a walk twice a day come rain, shine, hail, wind or rough weather - albeit at a slower and slower pace so that in the end he no longer enjoyed company on these outings, feeling he was holding people up. Being uncomplaining and easy going it was only after considerable badgering from my mother that he finally consented to see the doctor when his chest pains kept him awake at night. He was ordered straight to hospital. When he said he'd just have to drive home to get his things he was ordered into an ambulance! The plan was to reinflate certain arteries (name of procedure.) In the event, come the operation it was decided that this would not suffice, so, at age 79 he was subjected to a triple by-pass. The arteries were very thin and fragile. Something came adrift and he haemorraged. He was opened up again and a better knot or whatever was tied but the blood supply to his brain had had a catastrophic interruption. From having retained a better memory than me right up to the time of the operation he seemed to be reduced to the condition of a severe stroke victim, incapable of articulation and seemingly very little aware of his surroundings. He survived for about another ten days, but never spoke again or really seemed aware before mercifully dying. He would have hated it and left instructions accordingly.

This was all pretty unexpected by me. I did not even know he was due to go into hospital and would not have known at all had it not been for a tip-off from my brother; Dick not wishing to ‘make a fuss’. I do not recall ever having a conversation with Dick of a when-I-die type, so when the blow fell I was in a quandry as to what he would have liked done. He was a regular attender at the local church, St Andrew's, which was only some 50 yards from their house as can be seen from the final ‘sunset’ photo which Dick must have taken from one of the upstairs windows. During the previous 22 years he must have walked through or past the churchyard twice a daiy or more with various dogs, or on his way to a service. As a keen painter and photographer he had done innumerable sketches and taken countless photographs of and around the church. Both my parents had long before ear-marked a plot in the cemetary; nice enough, but as in so many villages, no longer attached to the church but some distance away on the edge of the village. Wondering what to do for the best I was in the attic room in which Dick used to do his painting, and noticed on a chest of drawers, right by the door, a small pile of photographs. Top of the pile was this next photograph - so that is where his ashes were scattered in October 1997.

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By way of sneaking a memorial into the old part of the churchyard without it being too obviously one, my brother and I undertook to install some new stone steps in place of what had been there before - a mish-mash of concrete slabs and bits of brick. This was accomplished in 1999. They are immediately to the left of the view in the above photo. They lead from the gate in the south eastern corner of the churchyard onto the fields and through which my father had passed so many times walking a dog. There are now two steps on a base of flags with two risers. On the face of the topmost is carved “In memory of Dick and Peggy Linklater” and on the bottom riser the first three words from the opening of ‘Samson Agonistes’, “A little onward...” - which contains a joke I feel Dick would have savoured - and the date “fecit MIM”. In years to come, people may wonder who the hell MIM was! Everyone who knew my father said what a nice, kind, generous, and cultured person he was. He was fair and open minded, with a keen sense of fun but also acutely aware of the plight of others and gave generously both to the local community and to society at large. A peer among fathers, he set an unattainably high standard for his immediate successors.

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