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Flight Lieutenant Robert Kirkwood

Erskine Book of Remembrance
https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/ErskineOrganisation/Celebrations/Find?celebrationsSectionName=RemembrancePages&name=rkirkwood

of Irvine

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Page created by: Alan Moss

Date added: 12 Aug 2015

Robert served as a Spitfire pilot in Italy and in NorthAfrica. He saw the horrors of the invasion of Italy and suffered dysentery because of the awful conditions.

VE Day meant Robert and I could return home to Scotland safely and start a family. Robert had been really ill during his service. He contracted dysentery in Malta but many of the men still had to fly their spitfire’s regardless of the conditions. This was during the invasion of Italy so with the invasion on he just had to fly and protect the troops on the ground.  

After the war, Robert and I returned to Scotland and had a son. Life was good again. After a couple of years of happiness Robert became unwell again, the diagnosis was multiple sclerosis and he was given 10 years to live. We were stunned. He lost his job due to the news. We would have loved to have had more children but with news like that we decided it wouldn’t be wise. I went back to teaching and thankfully Robert’s health returned. He was then able to find a job in the baking trade.His condition didn’t return until his mid-sixties.

We had enjoyed 50 happy years of marriage. Once his condition returned he declined slowly and I became his full time carer. It got to the stage where he fell two or three times a week and I wouldn’t be able to lift him. It was at this time I knew I needed help and this is where Erskine became my saviour. Initially we opted for respite. Robert would receive respite at Erskine which allowed me a much needed holiday. This worked well for a while but once Robert deteriorated more it was time for him to move into Erskine permanently.

How do you tell the person you’ve built a family with for 50 years that they need to move out and need care?  I didn’t know what to do. Thanks to Erskine I didn’t have to shoulder this burden. They took care of everything and Robert settled in at Erskine well. He was so happy there, he called all the female nurses honey-bun and all the male nurses curly, even if they didn’t have a hair on their head. He was a character and loved the social life at Erskine.

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