November 1, 1931 - July 31, 2009
Cradley, Worcestershire, UK
Ashford, Kent, UK.
Hawkinge, Kent, UK
Derek was born in Cradley (Lyde Green, to be more exact) in 1931 to Arthur & Elsie May Hill, and was the youngest of two children - his sister Mavis Elsie was born in 1929.
Sadly, Elsie May died in 1932, so Derek only knew his mother from a picture his father had on the wall.
Arthur arranged for his sisters to look after the children - Lizzie & Tom Woodcock took care of Derek, Mabel & Enoch Westwood looked after Mavis.
Schooling was at nearby Two Gates, but, despite being a bright child (rather good with numbers), Derek was not able to go on to further education, so worked in the stores of a local ironmonger when he left school.
When called up for National Service (in 1951) he became a member of the Shropshire Light Infantry, but this didn't last long.
Derek had noticed that there was a job (in the RAMC - Royal Army Medical Corps) which was more suited to his talents, and would serve him better when he left the army.
His CO pointed out that this was not an option for National Servicemen, only for those in the regular Army.
However, Derek managed a transfer by agreeing to the longer terms of service (six years plus being a reservist, instead of two), and thus became a clerk in the RAMC.
This was how he met Marjorie Shaw in Chester (in the early 1950s) - he was in barracks there, and she would cycle (with friends) from Liverpool for a day out.
Derek and Marjorie married in Liverpool North Registry Office in 1955, and had two sons - Brian in 1957, Graham in 1959.
They lived in Liverpool until 1962, then Billinge near Wigan until 1973, moving to Kent in 1973.
It was his joining of Balfour Beatty Construction (in an accounting role) that prompted his move to Kent, then to Derbyshire (in the 1980s), then back to Kent (in the 1990s).
His secondment to TML (Trans Manche Link - the Channel Tunnel builders) allowed Derek to work up to his retirement, and fulfil his wish to be at the seaside (he and Marjorie settled in Hythe, Kent).
Derek passed away in 2009.