Arthur David LINKLATER Robin Valdemar LINKLATER Duncan Melville LINKLATER Margaret Lilian BOISSARD Elsie May SOUNDY tree

Nelson Valdemar LINKLATER 1918-1997

Usually known as Dick or Richard

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 in Carmarthen, Wales


10th Apr 1948

Birth of son Duncan Melville LINKLATER in York, England


19th Oct 1997

Died in Oxford


31st Oct 1997

Ashes scattered in East Hagbourne


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 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 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.

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.


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.”

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