At the end of this month, after 34 years in practice at Appledore, Dr Desmond S Valentine is retiring.
Intimation was given in last week’s issue of plans for patients and other friends to show their appreciation of his long, loyal service in a practical way.
In his retirement he and his wife will continue to live at Rock House on the corner of the Quay and where, 50 yards away, his motor yacht Little Bittern lays at her moorings. Fishing and sailing have been ‘Dr Desmond’s’ lifelong hobbies, as befits a son of Appledore, and his knowledge of the estuary is probably unmatched outside the professionals. Appropriately, for the past ten years he has been president of the local branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and he is also president of Appledore Regatta. In younger days he was a keen rugby footballer and he is a past president of Bideford RFC. Over the years he has taken a practical interest in many local causes, too numerous to mention in the confines of these notes. On Friday at a meeting of the Barnstaple and Bideford Port Authority it was announced that Dr Valentine was retiring from his post of Port MOH, a position he took over from his late father, Dr William Valentine, in 1934.
Like their father, who as a major in the RAMC, accompanied the 1/6th Devons overseas in 1914, both his sons, Col A W Valentine and Dr Desmond Valentine, served for years overseas in the last war, the first mentioned was awarded an immediate DSO while commanding the 2nd Devons in Sicily and was later made CBE, Dr Desmond also as a Colonel, was mentioned in despatches for RAMC services in Burma and the eastern frontier of India in 1944. Both brothers are Old Boys of Blundells. For about six months in 1944 Dr Valentine was in charge of the hospital receiving each night by air the sick and wounded of Major Gen Orde Wingate’s force operating behind the Japanese lines. Subsequently he was promoted to full Colonel and given charge of a 700 bed hospital and later appointed Assistant Director of Medical Services. He resumed his practice at Appledore, in which he had followed his father, early in 1946.