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|01 Born 1919. Father worked Lambourne racehorse. Mother housewife. 4 brothers, 4 sisters. Father tended racetrack. I worked there while waiting for engineering apprenticeship. War started. Joined RAF.|
|02 RAF training as armourer & air-gunner in various places. Stationed Harwell 1941-4. |
|03 Posted to Lincolnshire, then India. Left 1946. First time left home. Harwell near parents. Was asked to…|
|04 …work as armourer at Hampstead Norris – enjoyable. Knew wife when she was 5, I was 8. She visited her grandmother in my village, Kingston Lisle, yearly. I got to like her.|
|05 She was 17 when war started. Didn’t see her for 4 years. Met her again on leave. Married 6 months later. Married 52 years. She died nearly 9 years ago.|
|06 After war, worked at Nalder & Nalder, Challow, making machinery.|
|07 First child born 1945, Lincolnshire. Had 3 daughers. Lived in Kingston Lisle.|
|08 Diagnosed February 1968. Had felt ill & GP said dyspepsia. Collapsed in garden. Taken to Warneford – mental hospital. Came round after 3 days. Doctor said high sugar levels. Had given me electric shock, but couldn’t continue if diabetic.|
|09 They thought I’d got mental problem. Doctor asked silly questions. Allowed home for weekends, but attached to Warneford until August. Thought I’d never escape.|
|10 Warneford couldn’t understand why not diagnosed with diabetes before. Probably had it for years – had often felt ill. Shock when came round in hospital. Diagnosed with diabetes a few days later. Couldn’t understand why treated for mental problems. Waited week before put on something permanently…|
|11 …at old Racliffe Hospital. Tablets. Felt better. Didn’t know how long I’d been diabetic. Went to diabetic ward at Churchill. Still went every day to Warneford. Strict diet. Weighed everything. Wife taught how. Had week in old Radcliffe to test different diets.|
|12 Tried diet of pulses. Liked it & stayed on it until wife died. Wife froze portions. Added to casseroles. Evening Standard reported on my diet.|
|13 Used to drop blood on strip. Now have Soft Test & Glucotrend. Told I didn’t need to do it every day. |
Workmates good. After diagnosis, often felt funny – lay down in first aid room. Embarrassed.
|14 Worked 23 years in engineering. Work got too heavy. Moved to Pressed Steel in 1969 as production line inspector. Found faults…|
|15 …and steel sent back. Caused arguments. |
Workmates reacted well to diabetes - becoming more common. After me, 2 brothers & 3 sisters got it. Doctor said genetic.
|16 In car industry until 1975. Then Greenhams medical supplies until retired,1983. Made machines for hospitals. When go for physiotherapy, they’re probably using machines I made. After retirement, gardened, made anything mechanical, did wood-turning…|
|17 …joined gliding club. Can still glide if accompanied. Also flew microlights. Met man I knew from microlight club…|
|18 …& he took me up over Whitehorse Hill. |
Still drive car. Diabetes hasn’t stopped me doing anything. I’m active & careful – don’t have beans as often since wife died…
|19 …don’t leave time to cook. |
Sometimes collapse in garden, crawl in, take Mars bar & tea.
Soon to have cataract operation. I go running & walking, but leg problems since carrying memorial for friends who crashed in war.
|20 Made memorial stone for site nearby where crashed, 1942. Damaged back. |
Targets keep me going e.g. wing-walking. I’ve felt ill sometimes, but want to do things before too late.
|21 Used to be terrified of medical staff. Now they’re friendly. I bring notes of what I want to ask.|
|22 Long waiting times at hospital. |
Once they were going to give me insulin. John Radcliffe said sugars dangerously high. GP persuaded them not to…
|23 …put me on insulin. Brother on insulin doesn’t enjoy life as I do. GP has just left, but her replacement nice too – listens to you.|