Wednesday 15th May 2024

Robert Wilkins BaA 47-54


Submitted by Peter Hill

Rob Wilkins came to Christ’s Hospital in 1947, to Barnes A, and wore the RMS badge on his left shoulder. Perhaps he learned a little navigation, as he left in 1954 to join the Royal Navy. His family lived at nearby Arundel, where we sometimes went on Whole Holidays to walk around the park. He went to Dartmouth, (after appearing for his Admiralty Interview Board in Housey clothes) became an executive branch officer, and then trained to become a pilot on fixed wing aircraft, and later, helicopters.  A naval colleague described him as ‘a natural leader and a venturer’. He spent four years in Canada where he was part of a Seaking squadron. He told me he was the first qualified Seaking pilot in the RN, having trained in the USA, and then moved to a squadron in the Canadian navy. In July 1967 he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander, and six years later went to Hong Kong as Naval Staff officer to the Commander, British Forces. He described this as ‘a very privileged job and most enjoyable’. He retired from the Navy at his own request in September 1976.

On retirement Rob went back to Dorset and with his wife ran a village shop at West Stafford, just outside Dorchester, till competition from the local supermarket killed off the business. He then did what he called ‘a hotchpotch of things’ before ferrying large sailing yachts across the Atlantic.

But as he got older his health deteriorated and – tragically for a man who had led such an athletic, physical life – trouble with his legs and spine meant he could not drive and his mobility was restricted. Perhaps his email address – he called himself  ‘capn-bob’ and his domain name was ‘pegleg’ , told the story. Rob married Rhiann in 1961 when he was a Lieutenant RN and had three sons (Mark, Nick and Robin) and a daughter, Laurie. He had ten grandchildren, and five great-grandchidren. He divorced in 1992 and spent the rest of his life with his partner Eileen Fisher.

He died peacefully on 19 August 2023 at Dorset County Hospital.

More obituaries

See all

Elizabeth Tucker – Head Mistress Hertford 72-82

Taken from the Eulogy submitted by Malcolm Young (Nephew)   Elizabeth was born on the 20th of July 1936 in London. She enjoyed a happy childhood with World War two making life exciting as t...

Read story

Robert Johnston – MdB 50-58

Submitted by Chris Johnson (LaB 52-59) Bob passed away peacefully at Royal Columbia Hospital, Vancouver, on March 20, 2024. Predeceased by parents Edna and Fred, and sister Mary. Survived by his lo...

Read story

Bridget Woollard – 3s 66-73

Submitted by Emma Brady (sister). Bridget was born on the 28th May 1956 in Muswell Hill in north London. At the age of just 10 years, Bridget left home for Christs Hospital, Hertfo...

Read story

Ian Baillie – PeA 53-60

Remembering Ian Baillie - Submitted by Graham Riches (ThB, MaB 1952-60) It was so sad and unexpected to learn that Ian Baillie, my long time Housey friend of over sixty years, had passed away. Ian ...

Read story