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Roger Percival Bristowe Hebblethwaite, 1940 - 2004

Roger Hebblethwaite came to Britain from Southern Africa in 1967, after completing part of a geology degree at the University of Cape Town in 1964, (where he had also been an accomplished oarsman) and some mineral prospecting in central Africa. In England he found work, with Charter Consolidated Ltd., both in London and on some of the company's mineral projects where he gained a reputation as a meticulous geological draftsman.

Those he worked with, and some of his friends, soon realised that there was a great deal more potential in Roger, and in due course persuaded him to complete a geological degree in Britain. He read geology at Oriel College, Oxford, where he was once again in great demand for his rowing skills, pulling in the college eight of 1972 and taking it to Head of the River. (He was awarded his geology degree too!)

Roger worked for Charter on mineral projects in several countries, where he will be remembered for the extra time he was prepared to give towards training local people in many of his own technical skills. His management abilities were rewarded when he was promoted to become General Manager of Charter's mineral interests. Here he was instrumental in diversifying the company portfolio to include quarrying in Britain.
In the late 1990s - not long after early retirement and setting up his own geological consultancy - Roger was diagnosed with lymphatic leukaemia. This was a severe blow to his physical activities, but he set about his personal hobbies with great energy and enthusiasm, including military history and militaria.

Roger met his first wife, Heather, while working on the development of the Boulby Potash Mine in Yorkshire in the early 1970s. They had two daughters, Harriet (now a qualified pilot with a degree in Geology (Durham) and a Captain in the Army), and Kate (with a PhD in English Literature from Trinity College, Dublin).

Roger's first marriage came to an end during his illness, but the story has a happier ending. Among his "military" emails, when he was once more on his own, was a message from a "Marion", asking if he was the Roger Hebblethwaite whom she had known at rowing regattas in Southern Africa in the early 1960s! Marion, now also living in England, gave Roger and his daughters unstinting love and support ever after. She was also instrumental in helping Roger to create a Web site ( to bring together all the information on those who had been awarded the George Cross for bravery. Towards the end of his life he was receiving as many as thirty emails a day, from people either asking for or offering information. Marion continues to maintain the site.

Marion and Roger were married in hospital during one of the crises that latterly characterised his illness. Roger surprised the doctors with his characteristic fortitude and cheerfulness, no doubt due in part to the happiness that he had found.

Peter Woods