Michael Wilson (LI 1942-46)

Born in Radlett, Hertfordshire, his father was a family doctor of a Yorkshire family and his mother Scottish, born in Cardross. Having found letters written from the trenches in WW1, he published his father’s letters in a small book entitled “From Trench to Sky”, as his father, having been badly wounded in the Somme, joined the Air Force and served all through WW1. Michael also wrote “Peter”, his father’s biography, and his own memoirs “Dios es mi co-piloto -in a ten year project, which he struggled to complete before he died.

He was educated at Marlborough and Brasenose College, Oxford, having served on the lower deck of the Royal Navy in the last years of the war. He joined J & P Coats, the Paisley Cotton firm, and spent 28 fulfilling years in South America and the other seven in the UK. He had a real gift of managing his staff and remained in touch with many over fifty years. He was brought up in the Church of England and well nurtured in his faith by the Christian faith of his family. His grandfather, Claud Allan, was an elder of Cardross Church for forty-two years. He was married to Rosemary (nee Gammell) for sixty-two years and had four sons -Crispin and Andrew born in Chile and Richard and Alistair born in Brazil. He was devoted to them and his nine grandchildren.

In the last ten years of his long life, Michael was determined to write his own memoirs. Having written two books about his father, Dr A.G. Wilson, who served all through both world wars, he did not have much creative energy left. So it was a very real struggle against time. He had had a big heart operation in 2008 and had been give ten years to live. Actually, God was good and gave him 2 and a half years longer -he needed every single day.

Six hours after the delivery of the completed “Dios es mi co-piloto” (God is my co­pilot), he died peacefully at home. He had finished his earthly work.

His description of life at Littlefield House, Marlborough College during the Second World War makes interesting reading -not only memories of happy formative years, but a part of our British social history.

Among the unsung heroes of that time are the retired members of the teaching profession who willingly returned to fill the gaps left by the younger men and women who had been called up to join the fighting forces. Michael fully appreciated the sacrifice they had made to keep Marlborough well served by an experienced teaching staff and we wish Marlborough all the very best in his memory.

There is a copy of Michael’s book in the school library.