John Collings-WellsBMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b2444 (Published 16 June 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2444
- James Collings-Wells
John was born on the night of 5/6 June 1922 on the family coffee farm in Kenya. There were no clocks, so he never knew his true date of birth.
The family moved to England when John was 5 because he had a patent ductus arteriosus, and it was thought that the altitude would be detrimental to his health. Before this time, he was bilingual, speaking Swahili to his friends, and wore no shoes.
He grew up in Cheriton Bishop, Devon. With the help of his godfather, Reverend Darrol Smith, he built a wooden canoe in a workshop at the back of the rectory. John’s love of woodwork endured for the rest of his life. …