Capt. Arthur David LINKLATER

Life piled on life were all too little, and of one to me little remains.

His constitution must have been pretty tough. Six times round Cape Horn would sort the men from the boys. His journals make occasional mention of injuries, his own or other people's, but rarely if ever sickness. Dum seems to have survived pretty much trouble free apart from odd instances of catching something nasty; in 1936 for example he had pneumonia. The first signs of his health actually ‘failing’ appear from around 1941. I am not certain what was wrong with him and he never spells it out, but in stead uses expressions such as "my old trouble". He had two visits to hospital in 1941 and 1942 for tests before being "removed by ambulance to R.S.H." on 10 August 1943. "26 September: Discharged from Hospital (in 46 days). Operation no. 1 done. Taxi 27/6 [which must have hurt more than the operation.] and now to wait some 12 weeks or so before returning to hospital for second operation."

On 29 January 1944 "Returned to Southern Hospital for second operation..." Mysteriously it was not till 10 February that he was "taken to theatre and put on table. Mr Wells made examination & postponed operation for two months" and he was booted out on 16th Feb. He was in and out of hospital and Dum makes passing references to "Stilboestrol treatment" and tubes; "1 August 1944. Weight 11 st. 7 without coat. (Tube just removed)" which must have saved an ounce or two! Probably one of the most upsetting side-effects of all this was that he missed his son's wedding; "Monday July 31st [1944] Dicko married at Falmouth to Peggy Boissard...Neither W.P. or myself at wedding owing to my illness and travelling difficulties"

At the best of times, travelling from Wallasey to the Church of St Stephen and St Mawnon, Cornwall would be a challenge, and clearly this was not the best of times. There are further references to "Stilboestrol stopped" and "wound healed" and "Mr Wells at Cottage Hospital examination made and "very satisfactory". Carry on for 6 weeks" Dum's references to his health seem made in much the same way as he notes the weather; merely as stated facts of passing interest but not requiring any histrionics. His health never features in his Christmas summaries save on one occasion, that of 1944 when he stoically observed "Have now lost my job being unable to work and it seems clear my complaint is incurable - for although much better in many ways still a long way from being right. Now on old age pension..." etc. He makes no further mention of his health in the remaining two years of his diary.

They moved to 10 Shellston Drive, Wollaton Park, Nottingham in January 1951 but this is not recorded by Dum as he seems to have stopped making notes around 1946. Then they moved in with ‘us’ at Longwaters, Dorney some time around 1952 when I was about six. I have only the vaguest recollection of Dum prior to that. In the meantime he had also, seemingly to his chagrin, had to take to using spectacles. For a seaman this was terrible; there was nothing more vital than perfect eye sight, without proof of which you could not command a vessel. I have his carefully preserved "Examination as to Form Vision, Colour Vision, and Colour Ignorance" dated 23 November 1895 certifying that he had passed in all three, which was more than I managed some seventy years later. It also recorded; height 5.7; complexion fair; hair light; eyes blue; scar on nose which his Certificate of Continuous Discharge had failed to record and for which I search in vain in photographs of him. In October 1942 he ruefully noted the need for "Distance glasses from today" and as if that did not take the [sea] biscuit, on 24 December "New reading glasses." At Longwaters I remember him wearing a green ‘tellers’ eye shade as he paced the quarter deck [rear lawn] to and fro, and had a white stick. If he didn't go totally blind he must have been nearly so; on one notable occasion, he was about to eat his Christmas pudding while it was still in flagrante until Peg, with a shriek, stopped him.

Death Cert.

Dum died on 6th February 1955 in Maidenhead Hospital and his ashes were scattered in Reading cemetery. I do not have a copy of his will - or at least not a properly executed one. But for all intents and purposes the one he made a note of in one of his commonplace books would have served.

9 Word Will.
Unto my wife all of which I am possessed.

For the purposes of Estate Duty, the tax liability at his death amounted to nil.


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