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Thread: Robert Quirk, Liberator researcher, has dementia

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    Default Robert Quirk, Liberator researcher, has dementia

    I knew Liberator researcher Robert Quirk was mentally declining -- from talking with him last year. He knew he was unable to remember much or do computer work that used to be second nature to him. He was quite open about his problem.

    He had still been able to remove a couple of my files from his website, as a favor to me, but he had not removed a few more that I'd hoped to take down. The process was now very, very difficult for him, and the process had changed, too.

    I forgot to get back to him for a long time, but when he didn't respond to a couple of emails recently, I phoned and left a message. His wife replied:

    Re: your recent call to Robert Quirk, my husband, regarding research for
    159 Squadron.

    I am writing to let you know that Robert has recently been diagnosed
    with dementia and is living in a retirement home for dementia patients,
    not too far from our home.

    He is very well cared for, comfortable and happy. He recognizes me and
    chats away when I am with him, but his conversation is all about events
    that happened many years ago, and his Squadron research. And he often
    asks why he is there and when our daughter is coming up to see him.
    Our daughter is a graduate student at McGill and lives in Montreal, but
    has been here several times this year to see him and we speak by phone
    often.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but did not want to leave you wondering.
    Sincerely, Judy Quirk


    Judy asked me to share the news with anyone who knew Robert or had been in contact with him. Obviously, he cannot respond to emails any longer.

    It's my own fault that some of my stuff will be stuck on his website for the time being, unable to be updated.

    His website, which contains some spectacular info, including transcribed ORBs, is found here: www.rquirk.com .

    Robert was very analytical, and truly humble about his contributions. The amount of painstaking ORB transcription work he accomplished is staggering. He never rocked the boat -- a friend to all, as far as I can tell. He helped me tremendously and would often forward emails he'd received, but which pertained to my interests.

    Regards,

    Matt

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    Hi Matt,

    Truly sorry to hear of Robert's predicament. I never had any personal contact with Robert, but certainly milked his site. The value of Robert's work is in the way he presented it. Unlike the standard ORBs, his transcriptions were searchable, and indexed. I liked his site right from the start, as soon as I saw his "Always Under Construction" logo. My kind of man!

    Please pass on my best wishes to his family, and thank them for his prodigious efforts.

    All the best to you as well Matt.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 1st September 2019 at 08:06.

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    That's awful news for him and his family. He was able to help me a few years back with a couple of local casualties, and was most helpful indeed.

    I was on his site just the other day, researching W/O John Bryden, D.F.C., of 357 Sqn., and found loads of info in the ORB transcripts.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Hi, Col and Simon,

    Yeah, it's awful news. Most of us are used to losing valued friends of the WWII generation, and each loss is sad, but Robert's decline is especially disheartening. And we're not even his immediate family! Thanks for your good wishes, Col. I will, indeed, make sure Judy sees this thread.

    I, too, appreciated Robert's "Always Under Construction" icon. He made no bones about it -- his first run-through transcripts of sometimes-difficult-to-read ORBs contained interpretation errors, to compound the errors in the actual ORBs. In a perfect world, he would have updated those transcripts, but the fact that he presented us with even a first draft is spectacular. He was able to update a few things here and there, too. Not enough hours in the day, and all of that, and now he has been dealt a lousy hand. Glad he is cared for, though, but his poor wife and daughter...

    Cheers,

    Matt

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    Sorry to hear that Matt. I hope the site is archived in one of the web archive sites..

    I hope the site continues as his legacy and any help we can extend in this regard - let me know.

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    Thanks, Jagan. I'm very naive about web archiving and so forth. I'll talk with you about possibilities sometime soon, as it would definitely be bad to lose access to the bulk of Robert's work.

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    Hi Matt,
    I just recently joined this forum and was shocked to see the news about Robert. I started to to collect all my father's Air force possessions together in 2016 with the objective of putting a book together for the family of his experiences in World War 2, mostly with RAF Squadron 354 in India & Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and naturally Robert's website was a wealth of information. I wrote to Robert to ask permission to use his relevant material (stating I would reference the source of course) and he very generously replied back "Feel free to reference the site, it was created so more people would know what went on, and use that information." I am about halfway through my journey to my objective, but without Robert's website, I would really lack the foundation to build upon. I think like many, I owe him a debt of gratitude that will never be truly repaid.
    Best Regards,
    David

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    Hi, David. Yeah, hearing about someone of Robert's caliber falling victim to dementia, and at a relatively early age (in his 60s, I do believe) is especially sad. We can't know how many have benefited from his work, but the Internet makes it possible to reach far and wide. Robert was always a giver, and it shows, and you certainly know first-hand from corresponding with him. I've been working hard on some 215 Squadron Liberator research lately, and Robert's website has definitely been a godsend. So grateful to have been his friend. I'll have to get an update from his wife eventually, to post here. Thanks for posting, and happy new year. Cheers from Matt

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    Hi all

    I have been sent the following, which may be of interest: -

    "Most unfortunate news about Robert Quirk - I don't think I ever had call to be in touch with him, however, his achievement is really something in scope and depth. Loss of his site set would be very unfortunate indeed.

    Sadly, web archiving at Library and Archives Canada currently covers only Federal Goverment information, with only very limited plans for non-federal and highly selective topics. There appears to be no intention to cover private Canadian sites like Roberts. See http://webarchive.bac-lac.gc.ca/?lang=en

    That leaves only the US-based Internet Archive as the sole repository of copies of his site. Site copies stored there have recently become easier to find, now that the Search function allows keyword search (as well as the original URL search). Site "takes" occur at odd intervals, and in this case the latest copy set seems to be that made in Sep.

    See full set map
    https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.rquirk.com/
    and copy for Sep
    https://web.archive.org/web/20190901...ww.rquirk.com/

    The Internet Archive has in the past had some technical difficulty in recording some sites completely. Though I don't know if that is still the case, at a rather quick browse, www.rquirk.com copies seemed to be complete for the "takes" this year that I looked at.

    One other problem at the moment: they seem to be in some funding difficulty, though how dire cannot say."

    Malcolm

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    Thanks, Malcolm. I've been off on tangents, and I'll continue to be, but a known archive for Robert's work would be spectacular. I'll keep your web links in mind!

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