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Herbert Ernest Axell was born on July 1st 1915, in Rye, East Sussex, Axell worked in his local post office after school and then served in the Royal Artillery during the Second World War, when he joined the Communist Party. Although, on returning to the post office, ill-health obliged him to retire early in 1952. His childhood interest in bird then developed into a formidable expertise. He became warden of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Dungeness reserve from 1952-59.
Axell became, over the next decades, a highly important figure in ornithological research, in particular details of the thickness of legs - work that led to better fitting rings to check on migration. He was the RSPB's land-use advisor and worked extensively abroad on bird management questions. Axell had several bird books published and died aged 86, on November 12th 2001.
Source Guardian 11th December 2001