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IN tribute to Thomas Van Laun (VR, September 3, 2016, vol 179, p 231), Paul Oliver-Smith writes: Though born in Broadstairs, Kent, the greater part of Tom Van Laun's childhood was spent in the countryside surrounding his parents' home in Northamptonshire. There he spent many happy hours carefully logging all the different bird and butterfly species seen each day, often with his brothers Bill and John, while on expeditions in the family pony trap armed with packets of sandwiches and bottles of lemonade. Unusually at that time, from an early age he wanted to be a veterinary surgeon and nothing deflected him. At Wellingborough School he was a high flier and with good Higher School Certificates he attracted a scholarship.
Unusually, the facility of deferment of service was not allowed by the Royal College, so not only had he to complete his two years of National Service before …