Obituary Gordon Thomas Hamilton Swaine

Gordon was born on 4th May 1920, and passed away on 10th April 2020 – just a few weeks short of his 100th birthday, after a short (non-Covid) illness. As an “Empire-born” young man, he lived with his family in Penang until he was seven, and came “home” to Anglesey with his two-year-old sister and their Ayah (he was given the responsibility of looking after them both) in 1927. After a happy prep school at Treaddur Bay House, he went on to Blundell’s where he always said he had an enjoyable education. Tall and long legged for his age, he played rugger well and, having taught himself the high jump leaping over hedges in Wales, he won many cups on the athletics pitch. Gorton was the headmaster who inspired his interest in literature and he never lost the desire to write.

A Captain the Royal Artillery during the Second World War, he saw service in North Africa and Italy – and ended up as the Education Officer for his unit, instilling socialist ideas into the minds of the troops before their return home to a post-war Britain determined to shrug off some the past inequalities. Initially keen to enter the publishing world, Gordon ended up with a career in the advertising industry, where his proudest campaign was for the then Labour government, promoting the Equal Pay Act at the end of the 1960s. His education had ended in Oxford where he took one of those split degrees – a bit before war service and a bit afterwards. In the second part of a History degree he met his wife, Phyllis Bassett, also an Oxford graduate and they were married for almost fifty years, having two children, Frances and David. Gordon continued to keep in touch with many Blundell’s’ friends and attended the odd gaudy in Devon. Several of them visited the family home in London, and the family was used to catching up on stories and histories. His closest friend, Oliver Perks, lived in the south-west and Gordon and his wife visited from time to time. Phyllis died in 2006 and Gordon continued living independently, entertaining family and friends into his 90s. He kept up a keen interest in the school, and his cups and medals were found after he passed away, still in their boxes!