John’s son Ian provided the following obituary for his father.
John Mackinder was born in Skegness in 1917. He started at prep school in Wainfleet in 1924, transferring with a scholarship to MCS. He left in 1933, following the death of his father, and joined Lloyds Bank in Cromer.
He joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve before the outbreak of war and trained as a Hurricane pilot. During the war he was involved in three pioneering initiatives on the North African front. Firstly, flying Hurricanes across the Sahara Desert to support Allied troops in Egypt, they had to sail to the coast of West Africa, taking off from an aircraft carrier not designed for Hurricanes. Secondly, he became a radar expert and was involved in establishing radar stations in Egypt, Libya and the Middle East. Thirdly, when the Allies eventually landed in mainland Greece, John was in the advance party of troops sent to secure Athens airport for the arrival of the main Allied force. His wartime memories are freely available on his personal website at www.shades-of-blue-and-khaki.co.uk.
John was away for over four years, but during that time he wrote regularly to Deirdre, the girlfriend he had met only a few months previously. In a great leap of faith, they married within days of his return to England. They remained very happily married for 53 years, until Deirdre’s death in 1998.
After the war, John returned to Lloyds Bank, in Sidmouth, Weston-Super-Mare and Bath. In 1959 he moved to Cranbrook in Kent, where he became the quintessential rural bank manager. He immersed himself in Cranbrook life, being a Rotarian and actively involved in the local British Legion, Citizens Advice Bureau, NFU, history society, gardening club and others. He was so happy and content in Cranbrook that he turned down opportunities for promotion to larger towns, staying put until his retirement in 1977.
After retirement, he and Deirdre continued to live in Cranbrook, but spent the winters in their holiday home in Nerja, Spain. He moved to Staplehurst Manor Nursing Home in 2009 following a stroke, but continued to play an active role. He researched and wrote the history of the manor house occupied by the home.
He died on 13 June 2013. John and Deirdre had two daughters, one sadly deceased, and a son. John also leaves six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.