It’s strange what you learn about people after they are gone. His son, who I recently met for the first time in over 30 years, always thought his father had been born in Scotland ... when he actually had been born in London. During the ‘get together’ we reminisced over our youth, he talked about his life in New Zealand and about his father who Mike sadly lost when he was only 17 … and I filled him in on our Family history.
What I didn’t know was that, although he was a wonderful conscientious Doctor …adored by his patients …he never actually wanted to be one. His love was apparently music …cello like his father but his mother (Euphemia) said it was not a proper job …it was for pleasure. I found it strange because her late husband, Horace, had been a cellist and taught at home. Horace did have an inherited private income, which I suppose made a difference but maybe being forced to do something his heart was not in, is why Reg grew away from his mother after the war years …. along with her disapproval of his choice of wife ….well no one was really good enough for any of her children.
He had studied hard at St Andrews and the only exams he failed were his finals, which he had to retake after being banished to a tent in the garden in order to avoid any outside influences, which might distract him. After he passed it was not long before he had to go to war, serving on the Hospital ship ABA and finally his theatre of war was to be North Africa …..his final rank being Captain.
I found letters amongst Mums papers, that had been sent to my Nana and it could be seen that, as the war years progressed, there were more censored black lines than actual text … how I wish they had not become miss placed in the move up here.
He never let on how ill he had been during that time until much later and I remember that after his death in 1963, Auntie Pat found papers showing that he had been ‘mentioned in dispatches’. He was not one to brag … business like, yet caring, in his work … and always seemed to be the life and soul of any party or gathering. His smile was like that of a mischievous lad and his laugh was so infectious … the latter often heightened by ‘a wee dram’..