From Virginia Brook:
I am very sad to have to tell you that Lance, a former GLO with IV?Squadron,?died very unexpectedly in the very early hours of Saturday morning 23rd August. He had not been in the best of health this year finding himself increasingly tired, something he first noticed whilst mowing and then trying to dig the vegetable garden.?Because he was suffering increasingly from swollen ankles I eventually persuaded him to go and visit the doctor.?After a series of tests it was discovered that his blood count was very low.?In an attempt to discover the cause, it was decided that he should have an endoscopy to see if there were any tumours that would possibly account for this. We had both been dreading this endoscopy, which he had on Thursday, in case it did indeed show up a cancer – probably everyone’s horror illness, even though for some it is curable.?Unfortunately the result of the medication that Lance was given in order to empty his bowel etc continued on Friday with added vomiting whenever he tried to consume anything.?I took him to see the GP on Friday, and she reckoned it would all calm down soon.?He did manage half a glass of milk and liquidised banana a couple of times, as also with water, but nothing else. In the evening he decided to go to bed early and at the normal time I went to join him.?He decided to get up to go to the loo I think, but passed out cracking his head a heck of a wallop on the dressing table.?I thought he had stopped breathing for a moment, but on pushing him over onto his side the breathing started again.?It was very laboured and he was all cold and clammy and sweating profusely.?I called an ambulance – the crew were so good and reassuring for both of us.?They gave Lance oxygen, which eased his breathing and he felt a bit better.?They then took him into Dr Gray’s Hospital, Elgin?telling me that in all probability he would just be kept in over night.?I was to ring at about 1 am to check how he was.?I didn’t insist on going too, thinking I might be in the way and that it might upset Lance all the more.?I wish I had now, because at 0.40am they rang saying that he had taken a turn for the worse and I was to get there as soon as possible.?He actually died only 5 minutes later so I didn’t get there in time, something I deeply regret.?He had apparently rallied at first and been quite chatty, but then became increasingly quiet.?They tried to revive him and restart his heart but to no avail. Trying to be positive I am glad that it would have been a peaceful end, him probably just feeling tired and falling?asleep.?I am also grateful that he didn’t suffer a stroke at any time or long drawn out cancer,?both of which?he had a great fear.?He wasn’t too keen on becoming ‘old’ either! Because his death is classed as a ‘sudden death’, there were police statements to be taken and there will be a post mortem and the results will go to the Procurator Fiscal before a death certificate can be issued.?This means that at the moment we can’t arrange his funeral date.?But the anticipated date (we hope) will either be September 1st or 2nd.?With luck we will get the all clear by Monday (tomorrow) evening. Right now I am still in shock at the sudden and unexpectedness of all this.?We had such plans for house and garden for our coming complete retirement in November.?It feels like he has gone away on holiday with Charles, as he was going to do at the end of September and he was so looking forward to it.?Then it comes to me that he really isn’t ever going to come back and I feel overwhelming grief.?It is good to be on my own at the moment as at least I can give way to bawling my eyes out without trying to hold back because there is someone trying to comfort me.?I have got time to get the worst over before Phylida and her children come on their planned week’s holiday?next Tuesday them and for when Charles comes up and I can be strong for them.
Lance will always be remembered as a friend of the RAF in general and of IV(AC) Sqn in particular. His funeral will take place at the Moray Crematorium, Broadley, Clochan, by Buckie on Tuesday 2nd September 2008 at 10.00hrs. No flowers please, but any donations may be made to the Army Benevolent Fund.