Owner story – Dr Perrin at Flete House

In March 2021 Dr Robert Perrin celebrated his centenary. The team at Flete House planted a tree and enjoyed a delayed celebration in 2022 (post-lockdown) to toast his 100th birthday.

Dr Perrin recently shared with us the tale of his decorated career in the military, spanning 27 years until he retired as a Major in 1966.

Composite: soldiers in a Jeep, older man with balloon
Dr Perrin in India, 1946, left; and at his 100th birthday celebration
Sapling in castle grounds, with plaque (inset)
Dr Perrin's tree, planted at Audley Flete House in Devon

Dr Perrin's story

After qualifying in Chemistry and Agricultural Chemistry, followed by a PhD in Soil Science, Dr Perrin joined the Royal Artillery in 1939 (on Friday 13th, no less).

From his first role as an Artillery Survey Officer to his later years as an educator, maps were a constant feature of his professional life.

Dr Perrin served in Egypt, Syria, Sicily, Salerno and Naples from 1941 until 1944, when he qualified as an aerial observation pilot and was promoted to Captain. It was shortly afterwards that Dr Perrin met his beloved wife, Wendy. He then served in the RAF in India and was demobilised in 1946.

Dr Perrin later became a member of the Geologists Pool Royal Engineers, serving in the Army Emergency Reserve as a soils specialist. He served for ten years, working on projects in Malaysia and East Africa.

In February 1986 Dr Perrin chaired a meeting of members of the Armourers and Brasiers' Company with delegates from universities and industry, to determine how the Armourers might best give support to metallurgy. This led to the establishment of the Metals Committee and its policy of supporting education, from primary schools up to the Royal Society Medal.

I played a leading part in the implementation of these programmes which now disburse nearly a quarter of a million pounds each year.

My contribution was rewarded with the Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (Hon FIMMM).

Dr Perrin

Coin inscribed: 'Armourers and Brasiers'