We were delighted to welcome Mark Darlow BA MRCS LRCP FRES along to the OB ‘At Home’ this year as our oldest attendee at the occasion. Mark, who attended the event with two of his sons, Tim (68-74) and David (63-68), had been at the School from 1924-34 and celebrated his 100th birthday on 16th July 2016. The event began Mark’s birthday celebrations, which culminated in a lunch party on the 10th July in the garden of his home in Porton, where family and friends enjoyed a bright sunny afternoon with Mark holding court. Both the OB Club and School sent their best wishes to Mark to congratulate him on this fantastic innings, and also took the opportunity to find out a little more about Mark’s busy life.

After leaving School, Mark studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University before completing his medical training at a London hospital. World War II came and he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, serving in two ships, the first of which was torpedoed and sunk in the Mediterranean, an unforgettable experience. However, for most of the war, he served in hospitals, and whilst running the hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, he was appointed Medical Officer in charge of the whole of British West Africa. When stationed at the hospital in Grimsby, by then a Surgeon Commander in the Royal Navy, he met his bride to be, Daphne Ellis, a QARNNS nursing sister.

In 1951, Mark transferred to the Microbiological Research Department at Porton Down, where he worked until retirement in 1977. He was both the Microbiological Safety Officer and the Medical Officer but also did a great deal of important research and development work, on equipment such as the needleless injector for rapid vaccination, sterile operating theatres and an isolation pod for transporting by air people with highly infectious diseases, such as Ebola.

After retirement, Mark continued to use his knowledge and experience as a consultant to the European Molecular Biology Organization in Heidelberg. Outside work, Mark spent many enjoyable hours as a volunteer for the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade, teaching and examining first-aiders and was the Wiltshire County Surgeon for many years.

From an early age, Mark has been a keen amateur entomologist and travel in the Navy gave him the opportunity to study butterflies and moths wherever he went. He published several papers on his findings and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society. In fitter days, Mark was a passionate fly fisherman. He was on the Wiltshire Fisheries Board and the board of the Salmon & Trout Association and judged fly-casting competitions. Mark‘s many other interests and activities reflect his scientific mind, including anthropology, archaeology, natural history and languages. For many years, Mark was joint DVP for Hampshire, Dorset, Isle of White and Wiltshire and still attends the annual luncheon in Bournemouth.

Mark still lives at home, in the house to which he and his family moved in 1957. He has five children, three grandchildren and one great grandchild. His offspring say that he still has a good memory and quick wit and is only too happy to share his vast store of knowledge and to recite humorous poetry, most of which he composed himself (and still does).

The full article about Mark’s life, put together by his son, David, will be published in this year’s edition of the Ousel. Find out how you can start receiving the publication here.

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