The outcome, the fourth in an issue of five boys born into a staunch Baptist home, meant that from the beginning I was taught to be respectful of others no less than myself, influencing ever since both my political and administrative attitudes.
I had found myself a new mission - and once more my recurring dilemma between corporate commercial needs and personal scientific ambitions was solved unexpectedly.
All I ever promised was that I was sure I could develop a new pharmacological agent which might answer a physiological question. Any utility would be implicit in that answer.
In teaching, I wanted to offer a general pharmacology course based on chemical principles, biochemical classification and mathematical modelling. In the event I achieved neither of my ambitions.
Apart from two periods of intense study, of music between the ages of 12 and 14 and of mathematics between the ages of 14 and 16, I coasted, daydreaming, through most of my school years.
I did help to set up an undergraduate course in medicinal chemistry and made progress in modelling and analysing pharmacological activity at the tissue level, my new passion.
The Wellcome Foundation offered me the chance to establish a small academic research unit, modestly funded, but with total independence. The real opportunity, however, came from King's College, London.
Half-jokingly, I asked what was wrong with me. So we made a deal: I would run his biological research provided I had a free hand to run my new project.
During my six years with them Dr Garnet Davey (subsequently Research Director) constantly supported me and, I have no doubt, fought many battles on my behalf to keep the initially controversial programme going.
My father, a mining engineer and colliery manager, gave his brood many advantages not least of which, for me, was his love of singing which gave music a central place in our lives.
We paid off our debts, we learned some, made friends and returned in 1950 with a larger view of life. I had, however, no home, no income of any kind and no prospects whatsoever.