Book Of Remembrances

John Gibson MBE - Abingdon & District 41 Club

John Anderson Gibson was born on 29th May 1927 just outside Penicuik West Lothian, to Thomas and Christina Gibson. Thomas was in the Royal Scots Regiment, so John’s school years were spent moving from school to school all over the UK. In 1937 they were posted to Hong Kong but returned to the UK in 1940 before the Japanese invaded Hong Kong. On their return to the UK they once again settled in West Lothian.

Despite all the disruption, John passed all his school exams and went on to attend Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh where he emerged with a Post Graduate Degree in Chemistry in 1955. While John was studying, he met his future bride Agnes Mcbeath, (Nan, to all who knew her). This relationship continued after leaving Uni, even though John had moved down to Abingdon for work at Esso Research. They were married on 21st December 1955 in Edinburgh. The newly married couple then both moved to Abingdon to start their new life together. They lived in bedsits for a while before buying their own home in Larkhill road for the princely sum of £2000. Nan was very homesick on leaving Scotland, so they attended St. Columbus Church in Oxford where there was a large Scottish congregation. They continued to attend St. Columbus until ill health in their later years prevented them from doing so.

In the meantime, John had resigned from Esso Research and started work at Harwell United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, where he stayed for the rest of his working life.

John was an active member of various clubs, most notably, the Round Table and 41 Club. He was also an active Union member, joining the Institute of Professional Civil Servants. He always seemed to be away from home on Union business. He quickly rose in its ranks, eventually sitting on the National Executive Committee at the TUC. John was very highly thought of by both his employer and the Union, so much so, that he was nominated for and was awarded the MBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 1988.

John retired in May 1992 at the age of 65. Retirement for John and Nan seems to have been just as busy, with cruises to exotic places an annual event, and reunions with old friends from work and social clubs, and Johns passion of fishing.

Sadly, on 14th February 2015, John’s wife Nan passed away after a long battle with Dementia. John never really recovered from his loss and his health gradually deteriorated, himself finally succumbing to Dementia on 20th August 2018.

On a more pleasant note, John’s first Grandchild Emily, was born on the 28th August 1992. This happy event was followed in September 2000 when his son Grant married Sharon. In doing so John inherited a second Grandchild, Chloe. Then, in 2001, his third Grandchild Caitlin came along. Since then, 2 beautiful Great Grandchildren arrived, Miyah and Allanah. John doted on all the children and they took over his passion for fishing.

When John’s health started going downhill, Sharon took over his day to day care before it got too much, and he had to go into a nursing home in Wantage. But John always said that Sharon was a rock for him, and that he couldn’t have coped without everything that Sharon did for him. Sharon deserves a special mention for this reason.

John Hadland deserves a special thank you too, for all the help and support he gave to Sharon during the difficult and trying times.



She remembers all the times Grandad took her fishing, he loved reminding her of the time she caught 2 fish on one hook, and he didn’t get a bite all day.


Caitlin remembers the fishing too, although, I don’t think it was the actual fishing that she remembers, but all the ice cream and cans of coke she was given.


Chloe remembers the homemade spaghetti Bolognese that Grandad used to make for us when we visited. It was the best most tasty Bolognese we had ever eaten. Then, Grandad would tell us what he had put in it. Garlic, onions and tomato puree plus a few more spices. Well there was a look of Horror on Chloe’s and Caitlin’s faces, they swore they would never eat it again. But, they did, and enjoyed it.