A large part of his life was shaped by his wartime experiences. He was in Coldstream Guards, who were part of the 7th Armoured Division, fighting in North Africa, where he was captured and forced to work as a miner in Nazi Germany in very inhumane conditions. He was immensely proud of having been a Desert Rat, and remained active in the Desert Rats association for the rest of his life. After the war, he was a policeman for many years.
I don't really know much more about his life, as far back as I really remember we've lived a long way away and just visited once or twice a year. I feel somewhat guilty for the past 10 years, while I've lived in Cambridge I still never made much more effort to visit. I have happy memories of childhood visits, they lived in a village in Norfolk in a quiet rural existence; there used to be chickens and a goat, and some beautiful black labrador gundogs. We used to go driving in tractors or tramping over fields to visit pheasants he tended or shoot vermin. I was never sure if the gamekeeper rôle was a job, a hobby or a favour to a friend.
I feel sad, but not upset. While it was a sudden death it wasn't surprising. I'm glad that he didn't suffer, and the lack of mobility and activity his physical decline had imposed over the past few years seemed to upset him, at least as far as one could tell from the sort of man he was.