Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Great Men - Max Barton

There are many in the world and few are great.
Max Barton (Arthur Edward Mackenzie but always Max to friends and family) was my step Grandfather and he was a truly amazing man.
I recently found an obituary for him online that our family had not seen before and it reminded me how much I really miss him, he died when I was 9 years old but in the short time I knew and loved him he passed on many pearls of wisdom and many treasued heirlooms in the form of his poems, stories, painting and sculptures.

(I can't rotate this photo unfortunately!)
BARTON, Sdn Ldr Arthur Edward Mackenzie, DFC (Max) 1933–1941 (Col B)
Born 31 January 1924, died on 11 May 2001 at his home in Aust, Bristol. His wife, Jean, wrote to say: 'He had a good party at the end of January, and was then in and out of hospital. He came home for the last nine weeks. He didn't get into any great pain and just drifted away while I was there.'
Max started his education at CH in Prep A in 1933, moving to Coleridge B in 1934, where I joined him as a new boy. Our academic abilities being similar, we both opted to specialise in Engineering when we entered the Upper Fourth. In one of his letters to me, in later years, Max wrote: 'The classics masters and house masters had little interest in me, but Teddy Edwards, Kirby and Averill, and various art masters did take an interest in me, communicated to me some of their own knowledge and enthusiasm, and by so doing gave me a sound foundation for my own life. I shall always remember them with affection.'
Due to wartime policy at the end of 1940, when we were in the GE, the school was no longer a centre for University of London Matriculation examinations, so, Max and I, who had studied the Matric. syllabus, sat the examinations elsewhere. Pleased with our success, we returned to school as EM (Engineering and Medical) Deputy Grecians, working for the University of London Inter.B.Sc.. Although our age group had not yet matriculated, the Headmaster informed us that we were not suited to higher education, and that we were to leave on our 17th birthdays, before the end of the school year.
Max served with distinction in the RAF during the war, as navigator and pilot, and continued service with the RAF until 1967, when he retired as a Staff Officer, with the rank of Squadron Leader, in Operational Requirements in Whitehall.
With a recommendation from Dr Barnes Wallis (CH 1900-04), he moved to Bristol, where, he worked on the Concorde for ten years, and then moved into the Guided Weapons Division of British Aerospace as manager, project leader, study manager and inventor. He retired in 1989.
As a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society, he was Secretary, and then Chairman, of the Bristol Branch. After serving on the Council of the Society for 12 years, he became Vice President in his last year on the Council.
When he retired, Max gave up his dangerous sport of sailing off shore, which included crossing the Atlantic single handed, and started motor racing. He also pursued his lifelong interests as poet, painter, potter and philosopher. He spent years writing theses on controversial theories in physics, especially his 4 dimensional theory of light transmission.
Max was a gentle man who was loved by all who knew him, and will be greatly missed by his wife, Jean, his daughter and his two sons, as well as his many friends. In Max's words, 'I do not have any ambition to attain great spiritual eminence, or wealth or power, only to try to be true to myself and truthful to others, to achieve the benevolence of loving kindness for its own sake.' - written by Arthur HC Williams Col B 1934-41

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