My father, Des, died today. He was 83 and went into hospital mainly because he wasnt eating properly and was dehydrated. That turned into an infection on his chest that became pneumonia, then septecemia. He died peacefully at about 1.15pm today. Des was a great character and will be missed in the little town of Clevedon, where he lived from his retirement until his death.
Des worked at Rolls Royce in Filton/Patchway on the engines for the TSR-2 and Concorde, both aircraft he was very proud to be a part of producing. He showed us how to make a TSR-2 out of paper and explained why it would have been such a fantastic aircraft. It was miles ahead of what the Americans were producing at the time, and It was only cancelled to appease the US, we were heavily in debt to them at the time. He was very sad when the TSR-2 was cancelled but was always very proud of the Concorde. Bits of “leftover” Concorde would come our way, and as a child I had a fish tank made out of Concorde windshield. To this day I still have a kitchen knife, a “special” made of out some super hard alloy developed for some purpose – it will blunt a steel sharpener, and looks oxidised or even rusty but it has a purply sheen. Its very sharp. I dread to hold it under a geiger counter for fear of what I might find!
Des was in the Royal Engineers towards the end of the Second World War, having been bombed out of the family home by a gravestone blown onto his bed by a Luftwaffe bomb landing in a graveyard nearby. He took one look and headed to Devon with the rest of his family who had been evacuated there. There he met Margery, my mother. In the Royal Engineers he found out about explosives and charges, I was taught how to recognise dodgy dynamite and how to wire up a plastic explosive charge by the time I was 6. He was not proud of the fact that after the war he was sent to the Irish Sea where the Army dumped “TONS” of mustard gas, explosives, shells, you name it they dumped it. He reckoned it would just be ripe by now.
I will miss my Dad. One last time – Dad, the sequence is : 3,8,7,a,q,6,4,2,j,k,10,9,5.
Stuart Desmond Gilbert 1924 – 2007
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