November 20th 1926
John Gardner is born in Seaton Delavel, Newcastle Upon Tyne to the Rev. Cyril Gardner and his wife Lena.
His parents moved south to Wantage in Berkshire where his father became Chaplain at St Mary’s School for Girls
Aged 9 visited Paris and The Great International Exhibition.
At the age of 17, he applied to join the Fleet Air Arm but his acceptance was delayed by 9 months.
He successfully auditioned in London with his magic act to join the American Red Cross concert party during this interlude.
JG was at Butlins Holiday Camp, Skegness – aka HMS Royal Arthur for his initial training for the Fleet Air Arm but after a short period of time transferred to the Royal Marines as they had too many volunteers for the Fleet Air Arm.
Shipped off to Royal Marine Depot, Deal for 12-week initial training.
Went to War Office Selection Board and was accepted for Pre-OCTU at Lympstone after which he went to the Royal Marine Officer Cadet Training Unit at Thurlestone.
As Second Lieutenant in the Summer of 1945 he went to Chatham to learn mess etiquette after which he joined an Officer’s course at the Commando Training Unit in North Wales.
Appointed Tactical Training Officer, during which time he organised variety shows for the Commanding Officer before being sent to Hong Kong in 1946 to be based in the New Territories where he was second in command of a Heavy Weapons Troop. This was where his drinking really began in earnest and his health deteriorated to the point he ended up with malaria and bronchitis. De-mobbed in 1947(?) he returned to the UK and started to prepare to read theology at St John’s College, Cambridge.
JG went up to Cambridge and rooms in New Court.
Met Patricia Mountford but their relationship did not last – nursing career prevented their marriage and she didn’t want to give up her vocation.
John met Margaret Mercer at a Jazz Club
St Stephen’s House Theological College prior to ordination.
JG and Margaret Mercer marry in Oxford.
Ordination in Bath.
Curate’s post in Frome
Joined RAF as Chaplain
Birth of first child (Alexis) whilst living at RAF Locking, Weston Supermare.
Discharged from RAF on grounds of temperamental instability.
Alcohol addiction worsens.
Move to Evesham as Curate.
Birth of second child (Simon)
Admission to mental hospital in Worcestershire.
This was when he had the LSD treatment which they felt would
be certain to get to the root of his problems and the reason why he drank.
Resigned from clergy.
Moved to Stratford and took up post of journalist at the Stratford Herald.
Worst point in his life and his referral to Dr Lincoln Williams and admission to
The Manor for aversion therapy.
1964 – 1967
In 1964, Spin The Bottle – The autobiography of an alcoholic is published by Fredrick Muller. Also that year The Liquidator is published (Fredrick Muller) featuring Boysie Oakes. 2 Years later in 1966 The Liquidator was made into a movie starring Rod Taylor, Trevor Howard and Jill St. John.
Between 1966 and 1967 JG wrote the first 4 Boysie Oakes books.
Birth of third child (Miranda) to his partner Susan Wright.
Moved to Farnham, Surrey.
Retained Mews House. Kensington, London.
Next 14 novels written between 1967-1977.
Move to Winsley, near Bradford on Avon as a prelude to move to Ireland.
From 1978-1989 output of a further 19 books .
Move to Republic of Ireland after being accepted as an author of merit.
Living at Glanmore Farm, Co. Wicklow, Eire.
First approach about James Bond from Glidrose.
Move to Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown. Eire
Licence Renewed, his first James Bond novel was published by Jonathan Cape.
Returned to UK – lived in Riseley just outside Reading.
Move to Charlottesville, VA. USA.
Diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Radical surgery soon followed.
Despite ill health between 1990 and 1996 JG completed a further 10 novels.
First signs of oesophageal cancer showing and heart attack at Christmas.
Major surgery for cancer late spring. Margaret is diagnosed with terminal cancer in Autumn of ’96. JG breaks hip in September ’96.
Finally returns with Margaret to UK in November 96.
Margaret dies. JG living in Overton, Hampshire.
Move to Whitchurch, Hampshire.
Despite having health insurance, US medical bills wipe out finances and JG moves into Alms Houses, Basingstoke, Hampshire.
Living at Deanes Cottage where JG completed his final 7 novels.
Unknown Fears published by Severn House Publishers Ltd (new edition of Blood of the Fathers now officially by JG) in 2004.
Reunited with Patricia.
John finishes Moriarty and dies on 3rd August.