David William Gill 1941-2024

mulucaver

Member
One of my longest lasting caving friends and my best friend here in Sarawak sadly passed away at one o’clock this afternoon in hospital in Miri after a short illness.
I know he will be sadly missed by cavers all around the world but especially by me. He has been my inspiration and a great companion during the last thirty or so years in Sarawak and twenty years before that in the High Peak of Derbyshire.
 

Pegasus

Administrator
Staff member
My first, and probably last, taste of tuak was in Dave's house in Mulu during my first trip there many moons ago. Dave and Betty were so kind to us. He loved the caves out there, indeed caves anywhere. A great loss. My condolences to his family and friends, both here in the UK and in Malaysia. A sad day....
 

DickW

Member
One of my longest lasting caving friends and my best friend here in Sarawak sadly passed away at one o’clock this afternoon in hospital in Miri after a short illness.
I know he will be sadly missed by cavers all around the world but especially by me. He has been my inspiration and a great companion during the last thirty or so years in Sarawak and twenty years before that in the High Peak of Derbyshire.
You speak for many of us. Dave was truly a legend in his time... His decades long commitment to Mulu, to its caves, forests and people was phenominal. He'll be greatly missed.
 

richardg

Active member
Dave maximized every moment of his life... Doing the things he loved most and at the same time doing monumental work to preserve the natural environment..... Thank You Dave
 

roo.walters.4

New member
Last saw him at the end of nov - full of beans
(photo: bartek)
 

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Pitlamp

Well-known member
This is rotten news. Dave was a genuine bloke, always full of enthusiasm for all things caving and always willing to pass on his vast experience. He was an extremely hard caver; the first part of his caving career (mainly with the Eldon) involved many important Peak District discoveries, as he was based for a long time at Chinley. Then he got into expedition caving, at which he excelled. Dave was known and respected internationally; his passing is a very sad loss.
 

Andy Farrant

Active member
Sad news. I first met Dave just before the 1991 Mulu expedition, and most recently in Miri last November. He was someone willing to pass on his knowledge and expertise; he did a huge amount to help conserve the caves and karst in Sarawak.
 

paul

Moderator
Yes - sad news. I knew his name years ago mainly from "Caves of Derbyshire" and "Caves of the Peak District" guide books.
 

badger

Active member
Was always great getting of the plane in Miri to be met by Dave's smile. Always so interested to what our plans or what we had found on our way home. A great shock. RIP
 
We saw him at the end of our trip to mulu - he was in fine form…
Hard to believe he's gone after spending the afternoon with him in Miri whilst waiting for our connecting flight back home. I knew of Dave rather knew him personally, a legend in his own lifetime but that afternoon, we could have been lifelong mates, one of the best.
 
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Speleofish

Active member
My enduring memory of Dave is of a puckish, cheerful, ageless individual. Although he was always a little older and much wiser than me, he managed to never grow up. He was a brilliant and reassuring companion when things were going epically wrong and wonderful company in a pub/cantina/shebeen afterwards. I can think of one or two people who were his equals but no'one better. It was a privilege to have known him and I'll miss him enormously.
 

Dickie

Active member
RIP Dave.
What a great bloke and a great loss.
He typified the hard men of the Eldon in the 60s and 70s and was a driving force behind so many expeditions - I was privileged to be with him on a few of those - PSM, Poland, Nare in PNG and China, as well as on a wide variety of Eldon trips over the years.
He was intensely focused on exploring caves, which made him such a force in caving.
I will miss him and our chats on Messenger.
 

ColoradoCaver

New member
Once upon a time in 1996, there was a brave and knowledgeable caver named Dave Gill. He ventured into the depths of Borneo's Green Cathedral Cave, armed with his trusty Suunto survey equipment. However, Dave's approach to using the equipment was rather unique. Unlike the typical protocol of closing one eye to get an accurate reading, he kept both eyes open, showcasing his deep knowledge and expertise in cave mapping.

It was during this expedition that an unforgettable incident occurred. As Dave and I explored Green Cathedral Cave in Buda, Borneo, I suddenly found myself straddling a massive rock in the shape of a surfboard. Without warning, the rock shot down a slippery slope, with me clambering to maintain my balance. It was as if I had unintentionally found myself on a wild ride.

Remaining calm and collected, I managed to ride the surfboard-shaped rock down the slope and leapt off just in time. To my surprise, as I landed, I discovered a dark pit full of treacherous depths. Wrapped around a protrusion near the pit's edge was a large cave racer snake, its gaze fixed upon me. Realizing the perilous situation I had narrowly avoided, a chill ran down my spine.

In that critical moment, I heard Dave's concerned voice echoing down the slime-covered slope, asking if I was alright. Feeling a mixture of relief and adrenaline, I assured him that I was indeed fine, thanks to my previous experience as a professional snowboarder. If not for my familiarity with balance and quick reflexes gained from snowboarding, the outcome could have been far more dangerous.

It was at this point that I truly understood the extraordinary love Dave held for these caves. Despite the constant threats that surrounded us, he remained steadfast in his determination to explore and understand their beauty. Every living creature seemed to vie for a piece of us, recognizing us as intruders in their domain. Yet, Dave's passion for these mysterious underground worlds was unparalleled, driving him forward even in the face of danger.

After catching my breath and regaining composure, I reassured Dave that I was unharmed and ready to continue our exploration. Together, we braved the perils of the cave, knowing that our shared love for discovery would guide us deeper into the unknown, where untamed wonders and potential danger lay intertwined.

I will always remember those moments with Dave and also those which were meaningless in between, such as waiting in a jungle camp while the heavy rain hampered any travel, yet recalling stories of past endeavors of great discoveries and mutual interests in UK music bands of Hawkwind that had shaped our universe.

Dave quickly became one of my favorite mentors and left me with a passion to pursue these international expeditions which carried me far beyond my imagination and it did not stop giving ever.

Caves bridge us together, cavers make life meaningful and full of purpose. Everything on the surface vanishes and only what's at hand in front of us is all that really matters.

I know now Dave would be pleased with how it all went down, keeping all those at cool while grimness abounded ahead.

In his recent departure, it is very saddening to hold on to the thorns, but once I held a rose.
 
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