Eric WilkesBMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c991 (Published 19 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c991
- Ruth Ostrovskis-Wilkes
Eric Wilkes, educated at Newcastle Royal Grammar School, went up to Cambridge in 1937, ostensibly to read modern languages but in fact to act. He was an enthusiastic amateur, but most unusually he was given the main part in a play produced by Dodie Rylands in his first term. He was well reviewed in the national press and two years later became the president of the University Amateur Dramatic Club. The second world war prevented him taking up acting, and he never acted again.
In 1940 he was being trained as a signalman at the Royal Signals depot at Catterick Camp in Yorkshire. Five years later, after service in India, the Middle East, Malta, and Italy, he was a 25 year old, decorated lieutenant colonel commanding a regiment in Germany. He spent most of his war in forward areas intercepting German radio traffic for M15.
As the war approached its end, like so many of his generation, he had to replan his life. He has always been grateful to King’s College, Cambridge, for letting him return to the university, this time to …