Edgar Aveling Obituary

Edgar Aveling (B3 1931-35) died 8th July just short of his 105th birthday. At the time he was thought to be the oldest living OM.

At school he excelled at shooting and was part of the team that won the Ashburton Shield in 1935. He was also introduced to the Welsh mountains by the Everest veteran EGH Kempson and was a keen hill walker all his life. He made his final ascent of Tryfan in north Wales at the age of 79. He had a fine tenor voice, singing in the school choir and later with the Bach Choir in London under Reginald Jacques. He particularly loved the great Mozart/da Ponte operas and was a life-long member of Glyndebourne.

He attended the College of Estate Management before being called up in 1940. He joined a survey regiment in the Royal Artillery and was mentioned in dispatches having been blown up by a land mine that killed his driver in Normandy.

Realising that it was land surveying rather than valuation surveying that he really loved, he joined the Survey of Kenya in 1953. One of his first jobs was mapping the Tsavo National Park, spending 18 months under canvas. As much of the work was done on foot, hairy encounters with wildlife were frequent including on one occasion having to climb a tree to escape a charging black rhino (a much more abundant species in those days). Later he rose up the ranks serving as provincial surveyor in both Nyeri and Nakuru.

In his spare time, he played tennis whenever he could and occasionally golf, a sport at which his wife Dorothy excelled. Two years after Kenyan independence he returned to England and valuation surveying. When not commuting to London he developed his one acre garden in Surrey. Always a lover of trees he planted several fine specimens notably a copper beech, a swamp cypress and a fine red oak. He also made a grass tennis court from scratch, continuing his lifelong enjoyment of tennis.

For most of his 40 year retirement he was very active, celebrating his 100th birthday in some style with a lunch party on the lawn and writing a Betjemanesque poem for the occasion. Outliving his wife of 60 years by 11 years, he is survived by two sons, Wynne (B3 1960-64) and Conrad (B3 1964-69), six grandchildren and six great grandchildren.