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News > Deaths & Obituaries > APLIN, Ian Edgar

APLIN, Ian Edgar

You are warmly welcomed to leave a message below, share your memories, and celebrate the life of Ian Aplin, who we sadly lost in 2018
APLIN, Ian Edgar

Died in early 2018, aged 92. Ian was born at Mill Farm in Mark Cross, Sussex on 27th September 1925. He was from to a long line of farming families, with a branch of his family later becoming famous for its “St. Ivel” brand.

Ian was first educated at Yardley Court Preparatory School, where he still holds the Long Jump Record made as long ago as 1939! Later he went to Tonbridge School in Kent, where he was a not only a School Praeposter and the Head of Welldon House, but also the senior member of the Officers Training Corps with the rank of Warrant Officer II.  He also won the Victor Ludorum, Athletics Points Cup. Thanks to his years at Tonbridge and their splendid Science Laboratories and Observatory he developed a lifelong passion for evolutionary science.

Ian briefly served as a young Sergeant in the Local Home Guard at Tonbridge. He later just missed out on being commissioned into The Royal Horse Guards, having failed his Wireless Examination, largely due to being too involved in college rugby and athletics. As Vice-Captain of the 1st XV he played several times for the Royal Military College and was also Captain of the Athletics Team. 

After a brief period of infantry training Ian was commissioned into The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, where the Reserve Battalion was stationed at Elgin in Morayshire. After a few months he volunteered to join their 7th Battalion that had become the 5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion.

Ian served with the 5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion in the Palestine Campaign from 1945-7. In Palestine he lost 58 of his fellow officers and men murdered by the Zionist terrorist organizations The Stern Gang and Irgun Zwei Leumi. In addition, 236 were wounded, many seriously by roadside bombs and in ambushes. 

During those years he found time to represent Middle East Land Forces in a triangular Athletic Meeting with Greece and Turkey at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon where he won the High Jump.  As Vice-Captain of 5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion’s Athletic Team they later won the Army Team Athletics Championship at The White City in London. 

Captain Ian Aplin was later promoted to Adjutant to the famous Lt. Col. J. M. T. F. Churchill, DSO and Bar, who in his career was the only officer ever to command both an Army Commando and a Parachute Battalion.  For many years Ian was a member of The Army and Navy Club, known as “The Rag” in St. James’s Square, London.

After the War, he joined his father’s successful business enterprises. After his father retired, he started his own business the Bishopsdown Property Company. He later lived in the United States for nearly twelve years, during which time he briefly opened an English Period Furniture Gallery in Oakland, California, and later worked as a yacht salesman.  He had learnt his skills years ago from an old Cornish fisherman called Tom Ferris whilst sailing his father’s boat “Banshee II” from St. Mawes in Cornwall.  In California Ian got to know the American market through working with Sailboats Inc. The thrill of sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge was a lasting memory.

Throughout his life, he continued his interest in a variety of sports, including athletics as a member of the London Athletic Club. Not only had Ian played rugby for two seasons in the Tonbridge School 1st XV, but also for the Royal Military College at Sandhurst and the Wasps in London. Ian also enjoyed squash, rackets, fives and tennis, and even dabbled in real tennis at Queen’s Club, London. He played golf on many courses in England and Ireland, including the famous Royal St. George’s and Princes in Kent.  At one time he had a ‘six handicap’! For many years Ian enjoyed fly fishing and riding in the Irish Republic, especially with his two children Neil and Christina at Ballyduff on the Blackwater River, and later on the River Shannon at Ardnacrushan, near Limerick. Ian was also a member of the prestigious St. Stephen’s Green Club in Dublin. He was a member of the Scottish Ski Club and remembers trudging for miles from Glenmore Lodge, near Aviemore after the war to reach the snow line. He also enjoyed climbing in the Scottish mountains, and particularly remembers reaching the top of Tom A’Choinich in Glen Affric when it was blowing a blizzard. Ian even ventured on one occasion to join the ring-netting fleet out of Portpatrick on the Rhinn of Galloway to the Isle of Man. Fishing in the tumultuous Irish Sea without any safety equipment in those days was not something to be repeated!

Ian returned to England towards the end of 1990. The continued support by the United States of the illegal occupation of Palestine by European Zionists had devastating consequences for the region as a whole. In 1990 Kuwait was encouraged by Washington to reduce its oil prices so threatening Iraq, who were vehemently opposed to Israel. Following Saddam Hussein’s annexation of Kuwait in August the Americans amassed a vast force in Saudi Arabia in order to attack Iraq. Ian in his lectures in California had frequently castigated America’s propaganda emanating from its “Voice of America” radio station in Cyprus aimed at those countries opposed to Israel. In October 1990 Ian presented a long letter in person addressed to His Excellency Dr. Azmi Shafik Al-Salihi, the Iraqi Ambassador in London. In it he suggested that Baghdad create an Arab Broadcasting Station to counter Washington’s meddling in Middle East affairs in support of Israel. Almost immediately the Iraqi Ambassador was recalled to Baghdad and his place was taken by Zuhair Ibrahim his Charge D’Affaires and Minister Plenipotentiary. Ian and Zuhair became good friends and regularly dined together at Al Basha restaurant in Kensington. He was impressed with Ian’s recommendations and sent a copy of his letter to Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi Foreign Minister in Baghdad. Tariq Aziz requested that Ian be granted a visa and meet him in Baghdad. Meanwhile Ian had become friends with Sir John Moberly, the former Ambassador to Iraq, who also objected strongly to the United States and the United Kingdom’s foreign policy in respect of the Middle East. Unfortunately, the die had been cast and there followed the most horrendous attack on Iraq on 15th January 1991. Sir John and Ian were amongst the last to leave the Embassy before it was closed. During these months Ian’s son Neil acted as courier delivering his letters by hand to avoid interception by MI5. So began a tragic series of events that have still to be resolved, including the equally disastrous second Gulf War.

He is survived by his wife, Rosina, and three children, Neil, Christina and Julia.

(WH 39-43)

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