Nelson Valdemar LINKLATER Robin Valdemar LINKLATER Jessica Polly Jorun LINKLATER Magnus Christopher Toby LINKLATER Sally Elizabeth SIMMONDS Margaret Lilian BOISSARD tree

Duncan Melville LINKLATER b. 1948

Answers to Pindar or Gruffer

10th Apr 1948

Born in York, England


25th May 1974

St Andrew's, East Hagbourne, Oxfordshire


25th May 1974

Married Sally Elizabeth SIMMONDS in St Andrew's, East Hagbourne


19th Apr 1975

Birth of daughter Jessica Polly Jorun LINKLATER in Brecon


22nd Jul 1976

Birth of son Magnus Christopher Toby LINKLATER in Henley


Born in York. Not much known; although I was there, I remember little of it. In fact I don't remember York at all, my earliest memories being from Nottingham where we lived near Wollaton Park till about 1952 when we moved to Dorney, near Windsor, where I attended the village school till I was about seven. On my there I was sick on my desk, which must have endeared me to everyone. Thereafter things did not get much better, but I did carry off an art prize for my ‘Sun Flower’ when about five or six years old (pastel on brown wrapping paper now believed lost). The prize was half a crown (or 2/6d to the initiated), riches beyond the dreams of avarice ca. 1954. From there I progressed around 1955 to Haileybury and Imperial Service College (usually just “Haileybury” or “the I.S.C.”) where I was soundly thrashed throughout my time there by the headmaster, a benign old codger known as Sidney B. who had had the pleasure of attending to the hind quarters of my father when he, in his turn, had been at the I.S.C. in the 1930s, and when Sidney B. was then a very young house master and codgerdom - benign or otherwise - aeons ahead and myself not even a twinkle. As for twinkling, Sidney B. took upon himself the onerous task of enlightening all boys (girls? don't be silly!) in their final summer term in a much-anticipated session on the ‘facts of life’ - or ‘fols’ as we pithily abbreviated it with much sniggering. Not quite on a par with the fols as expounded to Peter Ustinov (“touch it and it will drop orff”), Sidney B cast little light on the subject, concerned as he was in the main with warning us about the perils of homosexuality and undesirable attentions from older boys. We came away little the wiser and somewhat disappointed, both of which were concealed from squits eager for enlightenment but now far beneath the notice of those of us about to leave skool who had been tried in the fire of initiation.

I aspired to go to sea, preferring the merchant service which, in those days, had notably more females on board than the Royal Navy. Pangbourne Nautical College was selected as the best place to hone my scholastic attainments, especially as I had sunk from 1st or 2nd in Latin under the able tutelage at Haileybury of a man called Ansell, who also encouraged my interest in classical music, to near bottom under the sarcasm of a loathsome man called D. A. Blundell, or ‘DAB’ as he was known, and then of an even more disreputable old soak called O'Hara, known as ‘The Buzzard’ for his reputed acuity of vision, seemingly unimpaired by the prodigious quantities of alcohol he consumed and of which he reeked at all times of the day. My time at Pangbourne was not entirely wasted. According to my reports, I entered the school in the Michaelmas Term of 1961 a stripling of 5 ft 4½” weighing a mere 7 stone 3 lbs with a puny chest measurement of 30” (normal) and 32” (expanded). By the Summer Term of 1966 I had blossomed to a height of 5 ft 11½”, weighed 11 stone 5 lbs and had a chest measurement of 35” (normal) and a massive 38” (expanded). I am convinced that by the end of my final term, had they bothered to measure, I would have notched up the extra ½ inch in height, and attained the full two yards.

What was wasted at Pangbourne was my eyesight, ruined, I felt at the time, as a result of reading by torch-light under the bedclothes. The same thing did not happen to my hearing. By dint of great thrift I managed to accumulate sufficient funds to buy my first transistor radio, a Japanese make called Fuji Denki if I remember correctly whose main selling-point as far as the shop assistant was concerned was that it came in a “genuine pigskin case.” It also had a single earpiece which made listening after lights-out possible without attracting further administration of justice from Sidney B. One night I chanced upon the broadcast of Artur Schnabel playing all Beethoven's sonatas and from that day on I was hooked. At the time I knew nothing of Schnabel or Beethoven but the music was irresistable.

As perfect eyesight was a pre-requisite for the Merchant Navy my ‘career’ received an early setback from which it never really recovered. Those responsible, as I saw it, for this collapse were writers such as Eric Ambler, Sax Rohmer (Arthur Henry Ward), Seamark (Austin J. Small), Edgar Wallace, Rider Haggard etc, all of whom I started reading at Haileybury. In fact, my break-through in reading, i.e. the first book I willing read from start to finish under my own steam, was ‘She’ by Rider Haggard. Whatever the actual cause of my myopia, the effect was that I could not see what was written on the blackboard at Pangbourne even from the front seats - and nobody in their right mind wanted to occupy them. Vanity prohibited my wearing spectacles but by an astonishing stroke of genius I discovered that a small hole drilled through my wooden ruler with my compass (what they were for surely?) enabled me to get some idea of what was expected of me scholastically - for a while at any rate. In spite of this pioneering use of pinhole optics it soon proved ineffectual and what was written on the blackboard became as much of a blur as the remainder of my time there. More to the point, short sight debarred me from what I perceived as the prestigious ranks of the merchant navy, leaving open, if memory serves me aright, only engineering, catering or work as a purser, jobs where one actually had to graft or get one's hands dirty rather than ponce around in gold braid giving orders. No fun at all. Not even having a ship to jump, I became a landlubber. I built this website.