Donald Cecil Pack was born on 14 April 1920 in Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire. He attended the local primary school where, among other things, he learned to read music at the age of eight. At the age of 10 he won a scholarship to Wellingborough School where he became Head Boy, was leader of the orchestra and gained colours for soccer, cricket and tennis. He then won a scholarship to study Mathematics at New College, Oxford and went up in 1938. He was one of four Mathematics undergraduates who were told to finish their degrees before entering war service. He gained a First Class BA in Mathematics in 1941. He was then assigned to the Mathematical Laboratory in Cambridge to work for the Ordnance Board and received a BA by incorporation from Cambridge University. After a year he was transferred to the (Royal) Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) at Fort Halstead, near Sevenoaks, Kent, a multi-disciplinary establishment. There he worked on problems involving armaments and explosives and, along with R Hill and Sir N F Mott FRS, he wrote a seminal paper on fundamental laws governing phenomena in hypervelocity impact. In 1945 he was awarded an MA from Oxford.
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