Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Wilhelmina Lockwood obituary The Guardian Other Lives Wed June 14 2017

My mother, Wilhelmina Lockwood, who has died aged 92, was a doctor who survived Japanese internment and then made a life for herself in rural England.
She was born a twin in Indonesia to a Dutch father, Cornelius Pieter Mom, a water engineer, and his wife, Johanna (nee Breyer). A happy childhood came to an end when, aged 18, with her mother and sister, Margareta, she was sent to a concentration camp, and interned from 1942 to 1945; her father was sent to a different camp. Their Red Cross parcels were not delivered, the guards abused them, and she almost died from malnutrition and infections. Later, she said that the atomic bomb, and consequent Japanese surrender, saved her life.  
After the second world war ended she studied medicine at Leiden University, in the Netherlands. She met my father, David Lockwood, who trained in theology in Birmingham, in a youth hostel in Heidelberg in 1950; she was hitchhiking through Germany and he was cycling to Oberammergau – that evening he skipped his prayers to chat her up.
They married in 1954 and moved to Britain, where her medical degree was not recognised, so she did her final year again Birmingham University and qualified through conjoint exams. After junior doctor jobs in hospitals in Kidderminster and Worcester, she became a GP.
For many years she combined the roles of vicar’s wife and doctor, doing rural visits, treating people and delivering babies while also raising four children. She worked in rural general practice until she retired in 1990.
She made sure her family retained close links with the Netherlands, with regular trips back on the night boat from Harwich to the Hague. Her Dutch accent became stronger as she aged.
My parents retired to the village of Llowes, on the Welsh borders, in 1982. They created a beautiful house and garden, entertained many people and supported the Hay festival from its beginning.
My mother was a keen photographer and wrote a daily diary for 35 years. She was stylish, and proud of sharing her hat-maker with the Queen. She took the Guardian every day and enjoyed the theatre and Welsh National Opera.
Her experience in the concentration camp moulded her outlook and she dealt with that trauma by not talking about it initially and only briefly in later life. Being a Christian and active church member helped her cope with the sadness of losing two daughters, my sisters Henny and Laura, in 1972 and 2009.
Her brave spirit enabled her to rise above adversity, engaging with people and bringing out the best in them.

David died in 2005. She is survived by her children, Peter and me, and two grandchildren. Margareta died in 2001.

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