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John Prestwich - His story from the T.S. Indefatigable.

John Thomas Prestwich M.B.E.

John attended the TS Indefatigable from 1952 to 1954, and attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer. That rank alone must speak volumes about his character and abilities. I am awaiting more information from John and his wife Maggie about his time there. His nickname at the 'Inde' was 'Pobble Prestwich'.

John Prestwich saluting the flag

John Prestwich saluting the flag at T.S. Indefatigable

The amazing part of his story started in 1955, just a year after he left the T.S. Indefatigable. During the week in which John would celebrate his 17th birthday, he was serving onboard the merchant vessel 'Herdsman', when they docked in Corpus Christi, Texas. John felt unwell, and finding it hard to breathe he reported sick. The ships log recorded that the Doctor ordered John to be removed to hospital, with suspected Polio. John remembers wanting to pass water, and feeling "wobbly on my feet", he returned to his bunk and he fell asleep. Sometime later John awoke to find he had great difficulty in breathing, and could not move. With all of his effort he managed to move his head slightly...........it was the last movement he would ever make.

John remembers being stretchered off the ship, and then awaking in an iron lung at the Memorial Hospital in Corpus Christi. Polio was confirmed, and the virus had attacked the nerves in his spine, blocking the brain impulses from reaching the muscles. John was permanently paralysed from the chin down. John would spend the next 16 years in hospital, seven of them in an iron lung.
But that was by no means the end of this story, as John went on and has achieved more than most able bodied persons. He married Maggie - his occupational therapist - in 1971, and she is truly his soul mate.

Sadly John Prestwich passed away on the 27th of February 2006 at St Thomas's Hospital in London.

See their website here and read of their remarkable journey of courage, determination, and devotion.

T.S. Indefatigable Main Page


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ex T.S. Indefatigable Stories:

Indefatigable Main Page

Chris Littlehales 1963/4

David Martin 1955/6

Joe Earl 1956/7

John Farley

John Prestwich

Peter Hammer 1963/4

Indefatigable Memoirs

Indefatigable Photos

Indefatigable Reunions

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