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Norman John D'Cruz 1924-2016

sftswWell-loved and respected teacher of geology, with a flair for crystallography and mineralogy. 

Norman was the third and youngest son of an English mother and an Indian physician/barrister, who died when he was three.  He attended Trinity School in London. 

In 1942 he commenced wartime service in the communications branch of the RAF and was trained in Somerset and Wiltshire before being transferred to the London headquarters, which was housed in the Science Museum, South Kensington.  He was demobbed with the rank of instructor-sergeant in 1946.

State scholar

Following initial part-time studies at Birkbeck College he transferred to University College London as a state scholar in 1948 to read for a degree in Geology with Zoology as a subsidiary subject graduating with a good honours BSc in 1951.  He was elected a Fellow of the Society in 1950.  He followed this by studying for a teaching qualification at Fitzwilliam Hall (now College), Cambridge.  A spell of teaching practice at Kendal Grammar School engendered his life-long love of the Lake District. 

In 1952 he was appointed as a master at Beckenham and Penge (County) Grammar School for Boys (now Langley Park School for Boys) to teach a variety of science subjects.  His former students included Derek Underwood, the England and Kent cricketer, Bill Wyman, of the Rolling Stones and David Inshaw – an artist and member of the Brotherhood of Ruralists.

He was appointed Lecturer at Luton College of Technology (now the University of Bedfordshire) in 1960, proving the perfect foil for Albert Ludford.  Together they considerably enhanced the geological resources at Luton for the teaching of the External London BSc.  He became a recognised teacher of the University of London and was an Examiner for London University External degrees.  With Albert and Gordon Taylor he took a leading role in the successful validation process of the science degree by the Council for National Academic Awards in 1972. 


He was an outstanding teacher of crystallography and was renowned for his amazing skills in drawing freehand complex 3D crystal structures on the blackboard, Norman’s favoured medium.  At the end of his lectures the blackboard was a carefully crafted colourful mural that students frequently photographed.  In the field Norman embodied a picture of sartorial elegance equipped with, among other things, a deerstalker hat and umbrella.

On his retirement in 1983, Norman was a Senior Lecturer and had been (from 1974-76) acting head of the geology section.  Typically, he donated the money collected in recognition of his years of service to a needy student.  Afterwards he pursued his love of gardening and developed a passion for lengthy cruises especially to the Indian sub-continent and further afield.  He never lost touch with geology and enjoyed frequent contact with many former colleagues and students.

Norman was quintessentially an English gentleman, generous and supportive to colleagues and students alike and possessing the characteristics of humour, patience, enthusiasm and humanity.  His influence will linger for a long time.

By Gordon Taylor with help from James MacAulay