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Archive find: A tribute to Rupert Clifton

In our archives we came across an article, written by Hamish Clifton in LSA Express on 28 June 2007, about his brother Rupert. They were sons of Michael Clifton, the youngest son of John Talbot Clifton and Violet. Reading through, it is remarkable how much Rupert took after his grandfather, the explorer.

"On 26th April 2006 my elder brother Rupert Michael Clifton passed away in Reading, Berkshire, aged 60.

He had many qualities reminiscent of his father (Michael) and grandfather (Talbot). Physically similar to Michael, six foot four, swarthy, almost Spanish looking, with thick black curly hair and a large frame. As a child he walked and looked like Michael, causing his grandmother Violet to say 'There'll be trouble one day'.

Rupert was good looking and had an easy manner with women - marrying four times (we think) in his life. After an affair with the school's matron he left for South America as a teenager to make his way as a ranchero or "Gaucho". Something he loved, and was also very good at.

He was about 30 when he returned from South America, having meanwhile married Melodie Greene from County Wicklow and sired Talbot, his only known true son and heir. (Melody remained a true and stalwart friend to his end.)

Variously he lived in Argentina, Bolivia and Ireland, rarely for long period in England which he despised as petty and bourgeois.

It was, ironically, always England that put him back on his feet through the NHS and other support services.

An important part of his life was his marriage to Patricia, the daughter of the (ex) President of Bolivia. Although her children were from a prior marriage, he loved them as his own.

Rupert should have been (and was, I think) portrayed in various novels. His life was out of step with today's grey world. But he paid a price for his adventuring. One the one hand generous, on the other hand without ever seeming to have funds, his arrival often presaged some tragedy.

As he drew nearer to the end of his life, he reconciled himself with his true son, and also came closer to Catholicism, which he had managed to cling to.

In the context of his heritage he was yet another in a recent line of adventurers. In the context of our grey world, he was very different indeed.

His wake at the Leander Club was fitting, and having drunk the club dry of champagne he was seen on his way, buried at Henley-upon-Thames."

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