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06 March 2015

Alan Palmer writes:
IT WAS heartening to read the fine tributes to my friend Canon John Thurmer (Gazette, 13 February). We shared digs as undergraduates at Oriel, and he was best man at my wedding. I would, however, like to emphasise the traumatic legacy to him of the bombing, by Irgun terrorists on 22 July 1946, of British headquarters in the King David Hotel, Jerusalem: 91 soldiers and civilians were killed. For John's courage and initative in rescue work, he was, as a 19-year-old sergeant mentioned in despatches.

He rarely mentioned the bombing, but I think that even as an undergraduate it gave his vocation a broad sense of pastoral care which we respected. When, in 1949, a fire broke out in the Oriel library, we found that he had also retained a practical gift of calmly and swiftly responding to an emergency.

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