Liquid Gold in Yenangyaung
There have always been optimistic operators willing to risk
their capital and take a chance by sinking 'wildcat' wells on
sites selected for some quite unscientific reason.
By the end of the war Holmes was still at Imperial College, still
only a demonstrator and still on a salary of £150 a year, despite
having published three topics and gained a significant reputa-
tion for his work on radiometric dating. His finances were
permanently under pressure such that when Maggie gave birth
to their son Norman within two weeks of Armistice Day in 1918,
they became critical. He had tried to get other jobs but despite
being awarded the doctorate dreamt about in his letters from
Mozambique, somehow no job had materialised either before,
during or after the war. Watts had tried to get him a position as
lecturer in petrology at Oxford 'but naturally failed!' ; he had
testimonials from many eminent geologists for his application
to Cardi¬; but in 1919 he could not even get a teaching job at
Aberystwyth. He wrote to Dr Prior:
I am glad to tell you that Aberystwyth failed to appreciate
my qualifications for the geology post and appointed a stu-
dent (Welsh!) instead. The department is very small and
crowded and its chief objective appears to be to train girls to
pass examinations to be teachers. So I am well out of it!
He was, nevertheless, still broke.