Childhood & Family Life

Monday 23rd March 1925: Born in Margate. Photographed here aged 9 months…

1931: Photographed with one of the many Nannies… and in a little pedal car.

Second World War

1940: The Watkin Family leave Margate to live in a residential hotel in Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale, then on to Reading and finally Bushey. This photograph shows David’s parents and his three older brothers. (From left to right: Peter, Nim, Mother (Trixie), Father, Brother & David)

4th February 1944: David joins the British Army

22nd March 1945: The day before David’s 20th birthday, he is sent to the Brussels Garrison

1946: David’s parents – photographed with a looted Rolleiflex.

October 1947: Released from the Army, aged 23


1st January 1948: Joins small Film Unit based at Waterloo Station.

1953: Boyfriend, Iain Somers, moves into David’s small flat


1964: First feature…

Image result for The Knack... and How to Get It on set

1960’s: Iain opens an antiques shop, in Kensington Church Street (notice DW’s flash motor in the bottom right corner).

Late 1960’s: David buys a mews house in Brighton, with Iain. It becomes a weekend and holiday home, which they nip down to from their home in Roehampton.

Over a two or three year period, they move from No.4 to No.5, then across the mews to No.6. David makes No.6 his full time home (gradually including No.7 and No.8 as the years progress).

April 1974: After 21 years together, Iain dies tragically.

Brighton Life

1986: Academy Award winner for Out of Africa

1998: First volume of the autobiography ‘Why is There Only One Word for Thesaurus?’ published.

February 2006: After months of deliberation, David commits to a Civil Partnership with one of his companions, Nicholas John Hand. An extremely low-key affair, witnessed by David’s friends Rachael Adams & David Brown, and photographed by their son, Frank.


February 2007: David diagnosed with prostate cancer

December 2007: Second Volume of autobiography, ‘Was Clara Schumann a Fag Hag?’ published

19th February 2008: David dies at home at 10.15pm, 4 days short of his 83rd birthday.

“Above all, I am surrounded by love, and its little brother laughter, and I am happy. I don’t even have a problem with death. Pain is at an end, and we, who love, and are loved are always part of each other’s lives.”

  One Reply to “Biography”

  1. David Byrne
    02/11/2009 at 1:54 pm

    Re: “19th February 2008: David dies at home at 10.15pm, 4 days short of his 83rd birthday.”

    Actually this is incorrect, he was a month short of his 83rd birthday.

    Thanks for your continued work on the site. It’s great to see more being added.

    David Byrne

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