Robin Taylor 1921-2004

Robin (Rosamond) Taylor, she disliked her given name and adopted the nickname Robin which she was given during her college years, died in October following a lengthy illness. Born in Bridlington, where her father taught languages she entered Reading University in 1941 to read French and German. In 1943 she was recruited by the Royal Navy as a code-breaker at Bletchley Park where she operated code-breaking machines known as 'bombes'. With other WRNS she found herself billeted in the unexpected grandeur of Woburn Abbey. Although her future husband Wilf was also working at Bletchley as a naval officer they did not actually meet there. After the end of the war Robin was recruited by the Foreign Office to join its newly formed code centre at Ruislip (later to become GCHQ Cheltenham). She enjoyed this work before returning to naval service in the WRNS in 1949 where she passed an officer training course and was posted as a Third Officer in charge of a WRNS detachment at the Naval-Air station in Cornwall.

It was there she met Wilf, who was then a naval education officer on the base. They married in 1951 and Robin resigned her commission. They moved to Dulwich in 1954 where their first child was born. Wilf's postings in the Navy required frequent moves and Robin soon began to look beyond being a housewife and one job was chauffeuring wealthy American tourists off their ships at Southampton or from airports at Heathrow or Prestwick. Wilf and Robin returned to live in Dulwich in 1965.

In 1971 she returned to the Intelligence Services, being recruited by MI5 where she would remain for the next ten years until her retirement. Although she kept her work secret even from Wilf (who was teaching at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich), she was initially involved with refugees fleeing from the regime in Chile. It was from these contacts she developed a love of Chilean music.

Robin became secretary of the Dulwich Society in 1983 and remained so until the early 1990's when she and Wilf took on the office of Membership Secretary (which Wilf still continues to do). This new role required the speedy learning of computer skills which was taken as always, in her stride. In addition to being an active Dulwich Society member she was also involved with the Dulwich Players and with NADFAS. Her skills as a photographer were of great use to NADFAS where Robin was a member of the Church Recorder Team. We extend our deep sympathy to Wilf and his family on their sad loss.

Sir Arthur Hockaday KCB CMG and Sir John Moberley KBE CMG

Dulwich has also lost two other distinguished residents with the deaths of Sir Arthur Hockaday KCB.,CMG., and Sir John Moberley KBE.,CMG

Arthur Hockaday was born in 1926 and after leaving school did a period of wartime service as a 'Bevin Boy', a conscript in the coalmines. After leaving Oxford he became a career civil servant firstly in the Admiralty and then with NATO where he was assistant secretary general for defence planning and policy. In 1976 he was promoted Second Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence and 1982 he was appointed Director-General of the War Graves Commission, a post he held until his retirement in1989. Following retirement he was active in analysis, discussion and writing on the ethical aspects of defence affairs. These include issues raised by the deterrent role of nuclear weapons in preventing war, by arms sales and the concept of a just war. In this last topic, he led a discussion in Dulwich on the question of Iraq as a just war shortly before his death. For ten years he was chairman of the British Group of the Council on Christian Approaches to Defence and Disarmament. He had a fund of good stories and entertained Dulwich audiences with them on at least two occasions on stage. He did not drive and was a familiar figure striding purposefully about the Village, good training for his favourite pastime of hill walking. He was aged 78.

John Moberley was a familiar face on television, firstly during the Gulf War and later the invasion of Iraq when he was widely consulted by the media. As a former Ambassador to Jordan in the late 1970's and Iraq in the early 1980's and one who had spent most of his career in the Arab world he understood and respected its subtleties. In World War II he served in the Royal Navy, seeing action off the Normandy beaches and in the Adriatic, being mentioned in despatches for his service. He was a man of strict Christian principles (like Arthur Hockaday, he also attended St Barnabas Church) and according to the Times obituary maintained them untarnished in the murky world of Middle-East politics. He concerned himself in retirement with the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians. He was aged 79.

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