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   Jimmy Cruickshank


James (Jimmy) Louis Cruickshank

House: Grigg
Year: 1950-1951

I went to the Duke of York School as a founder member in 1949 and like all the other boys spent all our 'sports time hours' planting the future playing fields with grass, so never got to take part in any athletics that year. I was 'Pansy' James's bete noir and he was glad to see the back of me when I moved to the Prince of Wales School in 1950. In my first year there we had an athletics competition with the DoY - we wiped the floor with them. I was in the C stream and won the high jump, long jump, 100 yards and the 220 - I could almost hear him tearing his hair out. I think that was my most memorable time.

I left school early in 1951 to take up a job offer with the hunting firm Lawrence-Brown Safaris - my dream - of course the emergency started and that put the lid on the safari business. I have been a policeman, a soldier, and a quality controller for Coca Cola in South Africa.

We came back to the UK in 1989 and live in Burnham on Sea in Somerset. In 1991 I had a stroke and was paralysed down the left side for about 12 hours, but made a full recovery. In 1995 I had both knees replaced and in 2001 I had spinal fusion. This is mainly due to injuries I received in a motor bike accident on the way to Mombasa in 1958 when I ran into a baboon, then in 1962 when I was trampled by a rhino in Tsavo, after trying to get too close, and several other incidents.

In 1970 I was the first person to complete a self contained walk in Death Valley. Starting at the 'minus 250 feet below sea level marker', eastwards over the Panamint Mts, north round the end of the range, south along the valley floor and east again to my starting point. Ian Macfarlane took me down there and met me at two check points. I carried all my own food and water and walked 87 miles in 27 and a half hours.

I am in contact with many old school friends worldwide, which I think is important - we shouldn't forget a very special and privileged time we all had, and thanks to this web site, this is possible.

(Registered - 27th Jan 2006)

If anyone wishes to contact Jimmy, please e-mail webmaster@oldcambrians.com to obtain his contact details