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Reginald Dibdin is by vocation a Gas Examiner. To the layman the term is vague – you must be on the inside to comprehend all that this kind of inspector needs to know.

But the most interesting factors about the man are coupled to his mentality and personality. His acquaintance leaves with a sense of hearty satisfaction. Dibdin speaks attractively, with a particular accuracy of syntax and pronunciation. This command of language sets him high in a powerful class which has the confidence and faith in itself. It is somewhat in a minority today. I mean the race of restless and discerning thinkers whose whole life thought is of problems, causes, reactions and tendencies. Facts to them are important, but the origins of, and steps to these are of chief import.

Dibdin write keenly and with originality. His love of English expression prompts it. One recent production was a scientific novel. His constant attention to thinking along pioneer ways made any other species unattractive. His natural instincts built science into the framework of a romance coloured by the excitement of Derby Day.

His calls at the bank are rather like social devoirs. His person, though simple on its exterior is still not readily forgotten. His entry into the office resembles a silent gliding-in no pretentious or self announcing approach. Tall and correspondingly thin, he has a pleasing smile, speedily summoned. His eyes have a confident steadiness born of seventy years in careful survey of people and affairs. He has the slim figure of an artist: not that every exponent of those varying media is slender of hand, but the figure will serve. In point of fact, he paints landscapes.

His tastes and practices in dress are entirely nonchalant. There is a large streak of Bohemian in him: and meticulous as are his expressions, and his mental theses, his sartorial preferences are unassuming.

Yet I vow he is a law unto himself, and frequently prinked out in the very prototype of all Latin-quarter beards, he confounds this issue by appearing as a somewhat mild eyed Mephistopheles. Easy of speak, profoundly honest and gentlemanly, his modesty approves the good in others, and his indefatigable brain thrives on constructive observation.

He appears ever anxious to learn of man, while unconsciously giving them the fullest benefit of his own valuable findings.

Herbert Thompson


Written by Rex’s bank manager in about 1953 and found amongst family papers.