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IN tribute to Arthur John Newman (VR, August 1, 2015, vol 177, p 131) his family, friends and colleagues write: One of our earlier memories of John is of a teenager jumping off sand dunes at Saunton Beach in Devon, shouting incantations to the Norse gods. The young Newman preferred his gods to be tough, bearded fighters – the sort of person the older Newman was to become.
His mother, Elsie, was a Londoner, while his father, Joe, was one of 11 siblings and a member of the Artists Rifles reserve; he was commissioned and shipped to India in 1939 and returned in 1946. Born in 1937, one of John's earliest memories was lying on his back in the garden of their house in Crawley watching the Battle of Britain take place.
John went to Bedford School. He excelled scholastically and as a sportsman, and rose to become head boy. School holidays were devoted to hitchhiking all over the UK, including Devon, where he first met the Fowler family. On one trip he hitched alone to Scotland and walked the length of the Cairngorms.
National Service was completed in the Royal Marines. He gained a commission and then switched to the Special Air Service (SAS). SAS training was memorable. One exercise involved a route march between two map references – easy enough, except that one was at the top of Snowdon and the other at the bottom. The …