Gerry's funeral was held on:
12th May 2022
The Oaks Havant Crematorium
and afterwards a wake was held at The Millstream Hotel, Bosham, Chichester, West Sussex
Donations in memory of Gerry were made to 'Help for Heroes
Harry sadly passed away on 9 April and his funeral service was held at the:
Easthampstead Park Cemetery
A wake was held at the Golden Retriever pub/restaurant after the funeral.
Imagine yourself, having been a youthful lad who had served in the RAF on 10 Squadron, as an LAC (Leading Aircraftsman) during WW2 and afterwards was posted with them to India, serving with the Squadron from 1943 to 1947. A few years later in 2015 you are, not too quietly, celebrating your 90th birthday with friends, at a party venue in Bracknell, Berks, when two smartly-dressed gentlemen gate-crash the affair.
One, dressed in a suit, is a retired RAF wing commander who claims to be Wg Cdr Mike Westwood, OBE RAF (Retd), the Chairman of the 10 Squadron Association and the other, dressed in the uniform of an RAF wing commander is Wg Cdr Jamie Osborne who was then the current Officer Commanding No 10 Squadron based in Oxfordshire at RAF Brize Norton. They both wish you a Happy 90th Birthday and convince you that you really should join your old squadron’s association.
It was to be the beginning of a relatively short but nevertheless sweet, relationship between Harry Hodgson and the 10 Squadron Association…………
Harry Hodgson was a member of 10 Squadron’s ground crew during WW2 and following his training at RAF Cardington in 1943 he was based at RAF Melbourne in East Yorkshire. He served as ground crew on the Squadron’s ‘Aircraft Repair & Inspection Flight’ which entailed being outside in all weathers ‘patching up’ the Squadron’s Halifax bombers to make them serviceable for their next operation. At the end of the war, after the Squadron transferred to Transport Command in May 1945, Harry deployed with the them to Poona in India where he worked on Dakotas and also Spitfires.
Harry was well-known on the Squadron at Melbourne as an artist and sign writer, being responsible for many ‘nose art’ images which adorned the Squadron’s Halifaxes. .......as he said himself, “ I loved painting the pictures on the aircraft.......especially the ladies.” The names of those whom he used as models has faded into the mists of time !
In later life, Harry worked for the John Lewis Partnership for many years and was also a very keen cyclist to such an extent that he even designed some of his own mounts. He celebrated his 95th birthday quietly at home in 2020 having been in hospital earlier that year with Coronavirus but, true fighter that he was, he bravely pulled through although was later still a little weak. He was awarded an Honorary Life Member’s Certificate of the Association that year.
It is with great sadness that we now report his passing on Saturday 9 April 2022.
Harry attending a veterans' event at the Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park, London
Harry’s charming carer Jackie Clark always escorted Harry on his outings to attend Squadron and RAF events and, in the abscence of immediate family members, our sympathies go to her at the sad news of his passing.
His wishes were indeed followed and his life celebrated as he would have wished.
Born in Belfast Mac had worked at Harland and Wolff before volunteering to join the RAF. He completed 38 missions as a gunner in his 10 Sqn Halifax ZA-V at RAF Melbourne, becoming a Warrant Officer by the end of the war. He met his wife to be, Iris, when she was serving in the Royal Observer Corps in York.
After the war they started a garage business in Wakefield which Mac ran successfully until his retirement. In 1984 he was a founder of 10 Squadron Association and as a regular representative was proud to later become an Honorary Life Member. In later years he took great pleasure in the belated recognition of the role of the RAF and as a guest of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
He was one of the ‘Bomber Barons’ who met weekly at Sherburn Aero Club and in 2017 he was awarded the French Legion d’Honneur medal, at a service at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington. Mac had a full and active life which he enjoyed to the very end.
He died at home, unexpectedly yet peacefully.
He is survived by his wife, Iris, daughter Gillian, son Robert, grandchildren; Laurie, Nicola and Oliver and great-grandchildren; Henry and Theo.
Born in London 1938, Ted was the youngest child of the family and, at the tender age of 15, he joined the RAF as an apprentice.
Ted had been ill for several years and was regrettably unable to attend recent Association Reunions. Before Christmas 2021 he went into hospital for a check up but unfortunately, passed away quite suddenly, which was naturally a great shock to Gill after their 54 years together.
Gill informs us, "My dear son came over from USA to help, then tested positive to Covid so we both had to isolate. This meant a change of funeral plans etc. Everything was chaos so some people did not get informed of his death or funeral plans. Fortunately, on Xmas Eve the NHS informed me that I was Covid-negative and could be ‘freed’ that day. So I was able to say goodbye to Ted, and attend his funeral on 29th December."
Our condolences go to JP’s wife Daphne and all his family.
Robert Gerard Hunter born in Kildare, to the west of Dublin, Ireland ,in 1924. When he was just 18 during WW2, he joined the RAF with a friend at Belfast in 1942. Sent to England for 6 weeks assessment training. Bob was then posted to Cornwall for 6 months training as a maintenance fitter working on Beaufighter aircraft which, equipped with torpedoes, were used to protect the convoys sailing into Falmouth from America. He then went on to complete a mechanics course in Halton in Buckinghamshire and was subsequently posted to RAF Melbourne in Yorkshire working on 10 Squadron’s Halifax Bombers. After 10 squadron, Bob went to Valley on Anglesey, Wales and later to Desborough in Northants to run a course teaching pilots ‘Beam Landing’ techniques using a radar aircraft landing system developed for poor visibility landings. He was discharged from the RAF in 1948.
Bob died aged 96 on 11 May 2021 and his funeral took place on 15 June 2021 at St Joseph’s Church, Epsom. (available to view on YouTube)
He and his wife Pat were members of the 10 Sqn Association for over 25 years.
Association member Frank Williamson passed away peacefully at his Amersham home on 21 April 2021, having celebrated his 100th birthday in August 2020.
He had served on both Whitleys and Halifaxes during WW2 and even in his later years, remained passionate about flying, continually sharing stories with his grandson-in law, the former recent OC10 Gp Cpt Simon Blackwell.
Frank was immensely proud of his past and modern associations specifically with 10 Squadron, but also with the RAF in general. Sqn Ldr Williamson also served on 102 (Ceylon) Squadron and we are most grateful to their Association for passing on some of the information here.
Our condolences and sympathy go to all his extended family which includes of course Frank's grand-daughter Nicky Blackwell, Simon Blackwell's wife.
The funeral was held on 11 May and to overcome Covid-19 distancing regulations, a video link, arranged by the funeral directors, allowed a relay to other members of the family.
RIP Frank Williamson.
By a very roundabout route, (his local postman) we learn the sad news that John passed away recently on 6 March 2021.
The following has now been received in May, from his daughter Cheryl, to whom we send our thanks and offer our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to her and all the rest of John’s family.
John was a delightful man whose affable nature endeared him to all who met and flew with him. He was held in great respect for his flying ability and with much affection by all on 10 Squadron’s VC10s who were lucky to have flown with him. His RAF service comprised some 43 years which made him one of the longest serving members at the time of his retirement.
Sqn Ldr John Wolley retires from the RAF in 1993 after 43 years service
Seen here with his late wife Dot and Wg Cdr Al Stuart, the then OC10
John was taken into hospital after a fall and thence to a Chipping Norton care home where he deteriorated very quickly and after five weeks also tested positive for Covid-19 and passed away.
Sqn Ldr John Howard Wolley, MBE sadly passed away on 6 March 2021, aged 89.
His daughter Cheryl writes:
John was a retired squadron leader who served on squadrons which included Nos 29, 36, 10 Squadrons and was also on the Command Examining Unit.
He was a devoted husband to the late Dot, a wonderful father to his daughter Cheryl, grandfather to Gemma and Marco and great grandfather to Viola. He was a good friend to many and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
John retired in 1993 after 43 years of service as a pilot. His essence was flying after starting his training in 1950-51 at RAF Heany, some 15 miles from Bulawayo in which was then Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, where training took place on Tiger Moths and Harvards. During his extraordinary career he was then to go on to fly 22 different types of aircraft which included the Meteor, Vampire Chipmunk, Hunter, Devon, Phantom, Jaguar, Hercules and the VC10, just to mention a few.
Some of the numerous stations of his postings included Tangmere, North Luffenham, Leconfieild, Benson, Lyneham and Brize Norton.
John was also posted to Germany in 1959-61, a detachment to Malaysia in 1965 and Decimomannu (Sardinia) from 1976-1978.
He saw on active service in the Dacca evacuation during the 1971 India - Pakistan war, the Falklands conflict of 1982 and the Gulf War in 1990. His career ended whilst on 10 Sqn at RAF Brize Norton and he was overjoyed when he was given an extension, even after his due retirement date, to continue flying the VC 10, which he considered to be the ‘Queen of the Skies’.
During John’s long career he was awarded an MBE in 1989, Queen’s Commendations in 1972 and 1976 and a commendation from Support Command in 1968.
The funeral service took place on 23 March at the Ramsgate, Kent cemetery chapel and the family’s thanks go to all those who attended and especially to Lindsay and Daniela Baigent, the daughters of his life long friend Peter.
Donations were requested to be sent to either the Blind Veterans UK, the RAF Benevolent Fund, or SSAFA.
Our gratitude goes to the Carterton, Oxon. postman James Sutton, who advised us of John’s recent passing and put us in touch with Cheryl.
5 March 2021
John (Jack) Goodwin Sqn Ldr & VC10 Pilot 1967 - 1975
Jack Goodwin passed away on 5 March 2021 aged 91. Although not an Association member we are pleased to honour his memory by publishing this brief summary of Jack's life and flying career, which his daughter Lorna has kindly sent to us.
" Dad was born in Bearsden, north-west Glasgow in July 1930, the only child of Annie and Bertie Goodwin. Having later moved to nearby Milngavie, Dad became a keen scout and attended Bearsden Academy until, at 16 years of age, he decided to follow his father into an engineering career. He was awarded an apprenticeship as a draughtsman with Mavor & Couslon Ltd. (electrical and mining machinery manufacturers). Within a week of completing his apprenticeship on 31 March 1952 he was called up for National Service on 4th April.
Early on both the RAF and he discovered that he had both the aptitude and a love of flying and the rest as they say, is history.
Dad’s RAF career started during his National Service when he attended flight grading school and made his first flight on 19 June 1952. He soon transferred to flying training school and first flew solo on 28 November 1952.
Reading his flight logs I discovered the complexity of his flying career with his training including qualifications in para-dropping, heavy-load drops, instrument flying, aerobatics, high and low-level formation flying, battle flying, and both sea and jungle survival. Trained to fly both propeller aircraft and jet aircraft, Dad was awarded his ‘Wings’ on 21 September 1953.
In 1955 he became operational with 99 Squadron flying Valetta’s and that same year Mum and Dad married on 5th September at Cairns Church in Milngavie and Dad went out to his first overseas posting with 84 Sqn in Nicosia, Cyprus.
Reading his Pilots Flying Log Books has enabled the family to share his flying story.
In his 34 years in the Royal Air Force Dad flew at least 11 different aircraft in a number of different squadrons - from the Chipmunk to the Hercules with several years flying Valetta’s and VC10s. Over his long career he:
Flew to 59 countries – from Aden to Vietnam
Landed (and took off) at 297 airfields – from Abu Suer, Eygpt to Vaerlose, Denmark
Landed at 109 airfields in the UK – from Abingdon to Lossiemouth
Flew for 8784 hours = quite literally spending a year and a day in the sky
Over 4000 hours as captain or first pilot
Made over 3500 flights – ranging from training flights of 30 mins to long-haul flights of 10+ hours
- And: He was awarded General Service Medals for service in Suez, Malaya and Borneo
His many tours included Ripon, Nicosia (1956), then 1 weeks’ notice to relocate to RAF Steamer Point, Aden. Returning to the UK he was posted to RAF Benson, followed by RAAF Butterworth, Malaysia. Returning to the UK Jack was based at Thorney Island until in 1967, he joined 10 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton flying VC10s and he remained on the Squadron for 8 years.
This was undoubtedly one of his favourite postings, as was flying VC10’s and on a later visit to the Victoria Cross Gallery at the Imperial War Museum he was delighted to see the history of the VC winners after whom the planes he flew had been named.
Following his tour on 10 Squadron, Jack was posted to Hong Kong in 1975 after which a return to the UK saw subsequent postings to Lyneham, Northholt and Lossiemouth; his final tour being in Operations at RAF Lyneham to retire in 1985."
RIP Jack Goodwin
July 1930 – March 2021
Bill Bradshaw, the tail gunner in the WW2 10 Sqn Pennicott Halifax crew, passed away in the early hours of 15th February 2021, at the age of 98. He had been living independently until just before Christmas 2020 when he contracted Covid-19. He was in hospital for a week or so and then seemed to rally a bit, but unfortunately his recovery did not continue and he was sent to stay in a care home, where his condition deteriorated further.
As readers of Jane Gulliford-Lowes’ book, ‘Above Us The Stars’ will realise, he contributed to much of her research into 10 Squadron’s WW2 Halifax operations. He was also a member of the 10 Squadron Association.
As Jane herself now writes;
“Meeting Bill was truly one of the greatest days of my life. I knew him but briefly, but I adored him. I’ve come to know his wonderful family very well since; especially his lovely daughter Angela, who has now asked me to contact the Association to let you know the sad news. Her father was so proud of his 10 Squadron days - he even had a private vehicle registration number, 10 DFC, bought as a birthday present from his family and still kept his RAF uniform upstairs in his wardrobe.
Bill was a truly lovely man, a really warm personality with a dazzling smile. I’m so glad I got to know him in his twilight years - it was a privilege. ”
Jane Lowes 16 Feb 21
After WW2, Bill trained as doctor, became a GP and spent the rest of his life practising in Huddersfield.
The Yorkshire Post published the following on 2 March 2021:
Dr William H. A.Bradshaw, DFC
Bill died peacefully on 15 February 2021.
A remarkable man who led an extraordinary life; that Bill survived beyond his early 20s, given his WWII service, is a miracle; that he lived a full and active life until aged 98, a blessing.
Bill was born in Ireland and brought up in S.E. Asia and then near Strangford Lough, County Down.
He volunteered for the RAF aged 17, trained as a pilot in Canada, and then volunteered for Bomber Command, serving as a tail gunner (and gunnery leader) on Halifaxes with 10 Squadron. He was the last surviving member of the 10 Squadron 'Pennicott crew' ; all of them decorated for bravery.
After WWII, Bill married his beloved Margaret and qualified in medicine at Queen's University, Belfast.
From serving his country, Bill then served his community, spending over 30 years as a much-loved GP in Huddersfield.
The kindest, most considerate, and gentlest of gentlemen; a wonderful husband, father-in-law to Peter and Lindsay, Angela and Steve, grandpa to Cory and Emily, Katie and Hannah and friend to everyone he met, we mourn Bill's loss.
He is now reunited with his Margaret, whom he never stopped missing.
Special thanks to our wonderful Lisa for all her love and care.
Private family cremation. All enquiries, and any donations (instead of flowers) - to the RAF Benevolent Fund - in Bill's memory, c/o Andrew Gledhill,
Highfield Funeral Directors, Huddersfield 01484 428243
Our condolences go to all Bill's family and his close friends.
RIP - Bill Bradshaw
Reverend Ian Cook 1960's 10 Sqn Victor Aircraft Technician
The 10 Squadron Association Chaplain & Committee Member
With great sadness we have to report that our very own Chaplain Rev Ian Cook passed away on
24 January 2021
As you may be aware, Ian suffered a major stroke last autumn and after eventually leaving hospital before Christmas, was placed in a care home near to his home in north-east Manchester. During both the hospitalisation and later the care home, his wife Rita had been unable to be close and in touching distance to Ian because of Covid-19 rules and she had relied on the care home’s facility of video calling to see and communicate with him. In turn Ian had been very limited in his ability to speak back to her.
His funeral service was held on 17 February 2021
at St Gabriels' Church, Greenhill Road, Middleton, Manchester
where he was later buried in its graveyard, in a plot by the church's East Window.
See this link to: Ian's Funeral Service
Ian was also one of our Association Committee Members for a number of years and could always be trusted to give wise inputs and sound advice.
We send our heartfelt sympathies to Rita and their three daughters Alison, Susan and Pauline at this sad time.
Ian will be sorely missed.
20 Jan 2021:
Lesley Arthur Turner WW2 10 Sqn Observer/Nav
Our sympathies go out to his family and relatives wherever they may be.
17 Jan 2021:
Mark Stephen Hopgood 10 Sqn VC10 pilot 1970s-early 80s
The following information is copied from the Daily Telegraph dated 14 January 2021.
‘Mark Stephen, Squadron Leader, RAF (Retired) passed away on Tuesday 12 January 2021 after a short illness aged 78. Mark was a beloved husband, father and grandfather, brother and friend and will be missed by all. Private family funeral. Donations, if desired, to the Wiltshire Air Ambulance C/O Hillier Funeral Service, 7 Lechlade Road, Highworth SN6 7HF.’
Prior to his 10 Squadron tours, Mark had been a QFI and then flown the Vulcan V-bomber. On leaving 10 Sqn and the RAF he joined the ‘Amiri’ Royal Flight in Bahrain for a number of years before returning to the UK and retirement in Faringdon, Berks.
More details to follow as and when more information is received.
9 Jan 2021:
Keith Bull Corporal - Air Steward VC10 1970s & 80s
Keith served on the Squadron as an Air Steward during the 70's-80's.
He is remembered as being a thoroughly nice and well-liked man. His other former cabin crew colleagues of those days have fond memories of him, when all were young and loving their job.
Unfortunately, Keith succumbed to Covid-19 and passed away recently.
His nephew, David Bull has notified another former air steward of his passing and although he was not an Association Member, we are pleased to honour Keith’s memory here.
More details will be added when additional facts are known.
10 Dec 20:
Malcolm David Hill VC10 Air Steward - late 1960s
Malcolm was from Maesteg, South Wales, and served on 10 Squadron as a VC10 cabin crew member from March 1968 to May 1970 at RAF Brize Norton, fulfilling the duties of an air steward. He also served in both Officers' and Sergeants' Messes, to eventually leave the RAF as a Senior Aircraftsman.
He sadly passed away on 23 November 2020 after losing a battle against vascular dementia, leaving his wife Janet and their two sons Adrian and Scott. Our sympathies go out to them at this sad time and Malcolm was remembered by us all on,
Monday, 14 December 2020
the day his funeral was held at Coychurch Crematorium, Bridgend.
Although Malcolm served only briefly on the Squadron and was not an Association member, we are pleased to honour his memory here. Meanwhile we extend our condolences to all his family at this sad time for them.
2 Dec 20:
James (Jimmy) Witter DFM Sgt and later Warrant Officer WW2 Halifax Tail Gunner
Sadly we learn of the recent death of former WW2 Haifax tail gunner Jimmy Witter who died on 28 November.
The Funeral will be held at Delph Methodist Church, Oldham on 16th December 2020
Although not an Association memmber, we are pleased to honour his memory here. Copied below is an email sent to us by his great grandson Lee Johnson, giving us the sad news.
Jimmy “James” Witter a rear gunner with 10 Squadron during WW2, passed away at the age of 99, on Saturday 28th November 2020. Jimmy was quiet and humble, keeping many of the stories of war to himself. He was however convinced the Halifax was a much better aircraft than the Lancaster. Jimmy retired from working on the Railway and lived his life peacefully in Oldham, Lancashire. A brilliant husband, father, grandad and beloved great grandad. He was truly special and will be missed.
For a more detailed text about Jimmy click on the link here: Jimmy Witter DFM
Geoff Walker 10 Sqn VC10 Navigator 1987 - 1991
Geoff Walker, a highly experienced Transport Force navigator, died on Thursday 12 November 2020, in Sobell House Hospice, Oxford. In August he had been diagnosed as having an incurable brain tumour and, in the end, could not be cared for at home.
Geoff served with 10 Squadron from October 1987 till August 1991, a period that covered the Squadron’s introduction to air-to-air refuelling and the intense flying required in support of Operation Granby to liberate Kuwait. He regularly flew on VVIP tasks, including 13 flights with Mrs Thatcher and John Major.
Starting in 1963, his early career was spent on the Argosy force in squadrons in the Far East, the UK and Middle East. As a long-term resident of Wallingford, he was, for over 45 years, at the heart of the organisation of the annual ARDET (Argosy Detachment) Reunions held at RAF Benson. He will be warmly remembered by those who knew him.
Funeral arrangements are still to be decided, and our condolences go to his wife Barbara.
7 September 2020
John McCubbin Association Member
WW2 Halifax and Dakota India, 1945-47 Wireless Operator
One of the founder members of the Association John McCubbin was demobbed in 1947 after his service on 10 Squadron during WW2 and later in India and Burma.
Having recently celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary and also his 96th birthday, John set out by car on 7 September to collect some materials for a cementing job at his home in Penpont, near Thornhill to the north of Dumfries, Scotland. He had been in good health during the Coronavirus pandemic and earlier in the year planted a crop of potatoes which he should soon have been harvesting. During a car journey to collect some building materials, just five days after his birthday, John felt unwell and realising that something was wrong, stopped his car. Havving brought the car to a halt John immediately passed away.
John's family includes his wife Elizabeth, son Ian, daughter Hazel and four grand-children; Kirsty, Scott, Calum and Catriona. Hazel has kept us informed for the past few years about Association member John’s activities and his sudden passing must come as a great shock to all the family.
We offer them all our deepest sympathies.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 restrictions limited the numbers attending John's cremation funeral service to only 20 attending at the Roucan Loch Crematorium in Dumfries on 18th September.
The short service was conducted by the Rev David McKay with readings from John's grand-daughter Kirsty and eulogies by his son Ian and daughter Hazel. It closed with the RAF March Past tune and John's ashes will be interred in the graveyard at Penpont Parish Church at a later date.
See Order of Service and Eulogy: John McCubbin
John, grand-daughter Catriona and Elizabeth
(on the occasion of Catriona's graduation as a doctor)
John with another Association Member Hugh Reay (left) when they reunited in 2016
Hugh Reay, also a former 10 Sqn WOp, and John McCubbin first met in the Spring of 1943 at Lords Cricket Ground where they reported to enlist. Both trained at Madley in Herefordshire as wireless operators going on to further training at different centres and then meeting later at 10 Squadron for operational flying on Halifaxes at Melbourne, Yorkshire.
After the war ended in May 1945 and 10 Squadron was immediately transferred into Transport Command, both converted to the Squadron’s Dakotas and spent their remaining RAF time in India and Burma. Hugh passed away in May of 2020 at his home in Hexham, Northumberland.
Readers may be interested to know that in 2014 John's daughter Hazel wrote to the Association, asking if we could provide any answers as to why her father had been turned down in his application for the recently created ‘Bomber Command Clasp’ which was to be fixed to the 1939-45 Star Medal. The MoD Medal Office had stated that John had not served the requisite time on the Squadron, as laid down in the Clasp Award Criteria. Our research showed this was indeed the case but we felt that an exception should be made in John’s case…………..
John joined 10 Sqn in March 1945 and by the time the war ended on 8 May, when 10 Squadron was immediately transferred into Transport Command, he had served 42 out of the required BC Clasp criteria 60 days on the Squadron. During this time John had flown on 4 operational missions over enemy territory (the Clasp Criteria only required 1 to have been done) and he had then remained on the Squadron, retraining on Dakotas for when 10 Squadron deployed to Poona in India, after the War in the Far East ended, in September 1945. In March 1946 he was on the Dakota aircraft detachment to Burma where, operating from bases at Myitkyina and Meiktila, he carried out numerous ‘Operation Hunger’ flights over north-eastern Burma dropping food aid to the local country-folk who had had their crops ruined or stolen by the Japanese invaders during WW2. He was also the wireless operator on one of the many flights sent to search for the 3 Dakotas which all crashed on the same day on 29 March 1946 in the mountains of Burma. John remained on 10 Squadron until 1947 when he returned to the UK for demob.
In spite of all this 10 Squadron service John was disallowed the Bomber Command Clasp simply because his service was short of just 18 days missing out of the 60 required before the war in Europe ended and, through no fault of John’s, the Squadron on which he remained, was no longer in Bomber Command. Our research led us to Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire who most kindly intervened on John’s behalf with some of his present-day Air Officer contacts but he too had to admit defeat when the Medal Office refused to change their decision. Following this, a letter to the Prime Minister, at No 10 Downing Street also failed to achieve the desired result.
John: In our eyes you had the Clasp to the 1939-45 Star Medal
RIP John McCubbin
Mike Wilmott Association Member
and son of a Halifax LV 881 crew member that crashed in Germany during WW2
Mike Wilmott sadly passed away on Monday 7 September after suffering from cancer. He was just 62 yrs old. Mike lived near Macclesfield in Cheshire and ran a sheet-metal company in Leek, Staffs. He was a regular attendee at the Melbourne Memorial Remembrance Sunday services, having joined the Association during the research into the March 1944 Halifax LV 881 crash in Germany,
Mike's father Sgt Norman Wilmott, was the Bomb Aimer on the Halifax aircraft and although injured after baling out, he survived the crash. After his capture and hospital he was then taken as a PoW to Stalag Luft 7 in Poland. His son Mike was contacted by our researcher Ann Bihan in her efforts to find the relatives of all the LV 881 crew so that they could attend a memorial ceremony in September 2014 at the crash site at Kaltenrain, near Hungen, some 25 kms north-east of Frankfurt. All crew members relatives then became good friends proving that membership of 10 Squadron is the common link that joins many varied lives.
See: LV 881 : Hungen 2014
No details yet as to Mike's funeral arrangements but our condolences go to his partner Lorraine, son Sam who will continue Mike's business, and all Mike's family.
Association Researcher Ann Bihan writes:
Mike was a really lovely man and I remember so well after my first contact with him when doing the research for LV881. I knew I woud like him.
He was so proud of his father and the commemoration in Germany was very special to him and his family. Also the bonus from this was that our lives touched that of a special person. The friendship that has grown between the families of the crew of LV881 is something very special.
It is such a shame that Mike never actually managed to make a Voyager refuelling flight at our Annual Association Reunions. It was something he really wanted to do and the last time I spoke to him he was still hoping to get airborne with 10 Sqn.
Ron Smith VC10 Air Loadmaster 1970s - 80s
It is reported, via the Costa Blanca Branch of the Aircrew Association, that former VC10 air loadmaster Ron Smith passed away on 31 August 2020. It is presumed that this occurred in Spain where Ron lived with his long-term partner Joan, in Moraira, north-east of Alicante near Calpe and Denia.
There will be no funeral because Ron gave his body for research. No other details are available to date as at 2 Sep 20.
Our condolences go to Joan and any other family members.
Pam Spence Master Air Loadmaster VC10 late 1960s
Although Pam was not a member of the Association she was a well respected colleague and loved by all who touched her life.
The following words about her have been taken from a post on the VC10 ALM''s Facebook page:
It was with great sadness we received the news of the passing of MALM Pam Spence on 28 July 2020 at Rose Cross Residential Home in Swansea.
Pam joined the RAF as a Clerk Secretarial but remusterd to aircrew and joined 10 Sqn in the late 1960’s. She spent all of her flying career on VC10’s and will be remembered for the many years she spent on 10 Sqn and her time on the OCU at Brize Norton. Pam was also an instructor at the aircrew basic training school RAF Topcliffe and an instructor at The Air Loadmaster Training School at RAF Finningley, where she was known to her students as being strict but always kind and helpful. She was a well respected and much loved colleague.
A fellow loadmaster Eric Hills recalls that on one of her trips the aircraft was hit by severe turbulence abeam Tehran. Her calm words were, "This aircraft (VC10) is built by the best engineers in the world and we don’t have to worry about this unpleasantness. I will get the coffee"
Pam had been in ill health for many years but recalled her RAF days with great happiness and affection.
Her funeral was held at Swansea Crematorium on the 10th August but sadly due to Covid restrictions in Wales, only a maximum number of 20 mourners were permitted to attend.
Pam's sister, Mrs Margaret Hovestadt’s address is available from the Web Warden should anyone wish to send messages of condolence.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Beavis, KCB, CBE, AFC (Aug 1929 - Jun 2020)
Officer Commanding No 10 Squadron July 1966 to November 1968
It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of ‘Mike' Beavis who, when in wing commander rank, was the first OC10 of the long VC10 era in the Squadron’s history.
Sir Michael aged 90, passed away peacefully at his home in Pissouri, Cyprus on 7 June 2020 and his funeral was held in Pissouri Village, on 15 June. Donations given in his honour and remembrance should be sent to the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Our condolences and sympathies go to his daughter Lynn and son Simon, together will all their families.
As many will know, Nos 10 and 101 Squadrons combine to have a semi-permanent detachment at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, thus enabling their Voyager aircraft to assist Middle Eastern Coalition forces. The present detachment commander is Sqn Ldr Andy Brown from 101 Sqn who, in days gone by, was a VC10 navigator.
On Monday 15 June 2020, Andy was made an honorary 10 Sqn member for the day by OC10 Wg Cdr Al Scott, and in that capacity represented 10 Sqn and the former VC10 Force at Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael’s funeral service in Pissouri.
After the funeral Andy reported that the Service was an excellent and fitting send-off.
“The RAF was well represented by Air Cdre Anthony Beasant, Chief of Staff British Forces Cyprus, Gp Capt Nikki Thomas, RAF Akrotiri Station Commander, whose personnel also provided first-class pall-bearers and who arranged for the ‘Last Post’ to be played by a bugler from 7 Rifles.
Sir Michael’s daughter, Mrs Lynn Curry delivered a strong, but moving tribute to his life including mentioning his most treasured time as OC 10 Sqn on the VC10 aircraft. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, the funeral directors facilitated internet coverage of the event to family in the UK. Within the group of friends in attendance there were several retired senior officers and representatives from the Aircrew Association.”
Sqn Ldr Brown passed on condolences from both 10 Squadron and the Association to Lynn who then cheerfully recalled how much her father had enjoyed his time on the Squadron from July 1966 to November 1968.
Our gratitude goes to OC10, Sqn Ldr Brown and all others who allowed a 10 Squadron & Association presence to bid farewell to a most respected and well-liked, former Officer Commanding No 10 Squadron.
RIP Sir Michael
See Sir Michael’s own personal contribution to our short biographies of former OC10s written in 2017 at:
Sir Michael in the left hand seat of a VC10
painted by Penelope Douglas G.Av.A.
Hugh Reay WW2 Halifax and Dakota Wireless Operator March 1945 - April 1947
With great sadness we are informed that Hugh Reay passed away on Sunday 3 May 2020 in Hexham Hospital after a short illness. Hugh was 95.
A small family service, limited in numbers by the coronavirus lockdown, took place on
13 May at West Road Cemetery, Hexham, Northumberland.
Our sincere condolences go to Hugh's wife Doreen, his son’s Trevor and Alistair, his daughter Lesley and all other family members. Hugh will be sorely missed.
Our thanks go to son Trevor for sending us a brief resume of Hugh's life which may be opened by clicking: Hugh Reay
We regret to announce that Terry, who lived in Carterton near Brize Norton, passed away sometime during the weekend of 29th February/1st Mar 2020.
No further details are known as yet but it believed that the funeral will be in held nearby.
Terry was a most amicable man and was much liked by all who flew with him on the VC10, prior to which he had flown in the V-Force.
Our sincere condolences go to his family and all who were close to him.
Further information will be added here when known.
Ian Mackie Former Argosy and 10 Sqn VC10 pilot (10 Sqn 1970s-80s)
With regret we learn that a former VC10 pilot Ian Mackie, sadly passed away on 18 February 2020. His death from pneumonia and other complications followed a short stay in Worthing Hospital.
The funeral was held on 11 March 2020 at Worthing Crematorium, Sussex, and was followed by a gathering of friends at a venue in nearby Shoreham.
We offer our sincere condolences to Val and all Ian’s family.
Chris Strawson Squadron Leader and VC10 Navigator 1970s & 80s
The following text has been received by email from Gp Cpt Peter Bingham who lives on the Isle of Wight.
I am not sure if anyone else has passed this on but Chris Strawson, who many will remember as 10 Sqn Nav leader and subsequently as an instructor and Staneval Nav, sadly died on 15th January 2020. He retired to the Isle of Wight and was a member of the Royal Flying Corps & Royal Naval Air Service Association here on the Island (the last branch in existence) and it was through this organisation that I saw him regularly until he became ill in late 2019.
His funeral took place on 6th February and a number of RFC/RNAS Assn members were there along with some of old friends from his days in the Service. If any association members wish to contact his widow, Viv, then I would be happy to pass on any messages.
Harry Liddell also affectionately known as 'Mr VC10' Squadron Leader and VC10 Captain
The following message has been received from Harry's son Charles;
" I regret to have to inform you that 10 Squadron Association member Harry Liddell died on 25th January 2020.
While the family is still stunned by his sudden passing, we are so relieved for him that he went the way he did, quickly and quietly and not suffering at all. Being 95 years old, he certainly could not complain of being short changed in the longevity stakes.
At Harry's request there will be no funeral. He felt that they are such awful things that no one should have to endure such an ordeal, not even himself . - Self-effacing to the last.
Sincerely, Charles Liddell (son) "
Harry will be sadly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing and flying with him on the VC10. He was a pilot on the Squadron and later on the long tours which followed, he became a VC10 Trainer/Instructor/Examiner on No 241 OCU at Brize Norton and ASCEU/ATEU at Upavon. He was always treated with the greatest respect for his ability as a pilot (Harry held one of the very few, and rarely awarded, Air Support/Strike Command 'A' Categories which allowed him to fly HM The Queen) and for his quiet, modest manner as a true officer and gentleman. Harry was well-liked by all who ever came into contact with him.
It is hoped that some of his memories may be published here in due course and will include his recollections of training at a wartime Canadian Air Training School, a GPU in the southern UK, his immediate postwar experiences of Burma, as well as various tales from his post-university second stint in the RAF..........
Harry was born in Clifton, Bristol in September 1924 and died aged 95 yrs.
Our sincere condolences go to Harry's wife Liz, and to his daughter and son Sophie and Charles.
A true professional in every sense.
R.I.P. Harry Liddell
We regret to announce that Association Member Harold Dummer passed away on 6 January 2020.
Harold was a stalwart member of the Association and was very passionate about supporting 10 Squadron in honour of his brother Cyril who had been killed in action during WW2. To that end he was a long-term attendee at the annual Service of Remembrance at the 10 Squadron Melbourne Memorial and, over the years, made many friends during the pub lunches held after the Service.
Although he was never a member of the Squadron himself, Harold’s membership was taken out in respect for the memory of his brother Sgt Cyril A.R. Dummer who was a 10 Sqn WW2 Halifax Mid-Upper air gunner, lost in WW2 aged just 19 yrs.
– See attached pdf file: Cyril Dummer
The aircraft in which his brother died had been previously flown on many missions by a crew who had survived their full tour of operations. The rear gunner on that crew was a Sgt (later Fg Off) Ken Beard. Ken and Harold became good friends and were often seen together at various 10 Sqn Association get-togethers. Sadly Ken passed away in July 2019.
Harold (left) with Ken Beard at a Remembrance Sunday lunch at the Plough Inn, Allerthorpe
Harold was born in Paddington, London in 1931. He was unfortunate enough to fall out of the back of a truck during his own RAF WW2 training and broke his back, thus causing him to be invalided out of the Service. Typical of his spirit though, he did not let this shape the rest of his life, even though he spent much time in hospital in plaster and had to learn to walk again. He went on to work and live an always active and a very practical life. He was a keen craftsman who was always making things.
After marrying his beloved wife Anne in 1955 they had three children, Susan, Jennifer and Martin. His main area of work was as a warehouse manager for BASF and then more latterly an auditor for BASF. He started his RAF research into his brother Cyril’s 10 Sqn 1944 Halifax crash when he retired and it always amazed him that on his audit work travels, he had regularly passed close to Rawcliffe, near Goole where, through his research, he learned that was where his brother’s aircraft had crashed, although he was unaware of the location at the time.
Up until he became ill in September 2019, Harold had never been in hospital or had the need to see the doctor. He remained in hospital, except for a few weeks at a rehabilitation centre where he became ill again and had to be re-admitted to hospital. Sadly, he never was to leave and he passed away peacefully there on 6 January 2020.
The date of his funeral at Kettering on 24 January would also have been Harold’s 89th birthday and, as he loved family get-togethers, it has been felt fitting to hold the celebration of his life on that day.
Harold’s brother, Mid Upper Gunner - Sgt Cyril Albert Reginald Dummer RAFVR aged 19, of Kenton, Middlesex was buried in the Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery, Yorkshire (Grave B/G/4). On his 1944 gravestone are the words,
“He Left The Consolation Of A Treasured Memory.”
We might add, ........ “So did Harold”
Our thanks go to Harold's daughter Susan Drage for advising us of Harold's passing and our condolences go to all the family.
Harold's funeral was held on
24 January 2020 at Kettering Crematorium
We have hazy information that George Fair passed away sometime during the summer of 2019.
We understand that George may have joined 10 Sqn as an Air Quartermaster in the VC10's early days of 1968. He then became the flight commander for Air Loadmasters and Air Stewards sometime in the early 1980s and may have later retired from the RAF in the rank of squadron leader.
Our attention to this news,stems from a third party noticing a post on Facebook's 'I served on 10 Squadron'.
We learn from his brother, the sad news that former VC10 flight engineer, M Eng David Simpson passed away peacefully at his Lincoln home on 28 July 2019.
Joining the RAF at 16 as a Cosford Apprentice, he served for 40 years. This included working on Vulcans as an Air Radar Technician before joining the aircrew fraternity as a Flight Engineer on Nimrods (206 Sqn), VC10s (10 Sqn) and (his love) the Tristar (216 Sqn).
We also understand that David had a Doctorate in Engineering and may have based his Thesis for it around Concorde Trials. (Any elaboration on this would be gratefully received from readers.)
He will be sadly missed by family and a host of friends.
David's funeral was held at Lincoln Crematorium on 27 August 2019
Our Condolences go to all David's family and friends.
Ken Cyril Beard
Sadly we learnt that Ken Beard passed away on 5 July 2019, aged 97: - he would have been 98 in December 2019. Ken was a stalwart member of the Association and regularly attended Reunions and Remembrance Sunday services until well into his middle nineties. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him, especially all those in The Salvation Army which he held so dear.
Ken’s funeral took place on Monday 22 July 2019
at the Salvation Army Church, Church Street, Clowne,
Chesterfield and later at Worksop for the interment.
In 2016, his elder son Jim, an Association member, sent us the following article about his father:-
Our condolences go to all Ken's family.
James Petre 10 Sqn Flt Sgt WW2 Halifax Tail Gunner (1945)
Living in Billingham, Cleveland, Jim, passed away on 27 March 2019 aged 98.
He had been an early member of the 10 Sqn Association.
Jim was a tail gunner who was shot down whilst on a minelaying mission near Stetin in the Baltic, in February 1945. The captain, Fg J. Grayshan and navigator, FS A. Berry were both killed. Three crew members evaded capture; Sgt R. Maddock-Lyon (Flt Eng), FS H.L. Mills (Mid/Up-Gnr) and FS Jim Petre. The Air Bomber, Plt Off S. Chadderton and the Wireless Operator, Sgt P.W. Andrews were taken PoWs.
We are grateful to Jim's grandson Chris for kindly notifying us of his passing.
Meanwhile we send our deep condolences to all his family.
Dion J.T. Hickin 10 Sqn and 101 Sqn VC10 pilot and instructor
Although he was not an Association member, we learn of the early March 2019 death through cancer, of Flt Lt Dion Hickin (Retd).
The funeral service was held at St Mary's Church, Bampton, on 28 March 2019.
Dion’s son-in-law, is Flt Lt Adam Merceica, a present-day Voyager pilot on 10 Sqn.
Dion Hickin retired from the RAF at RAF Brize Norton in mid-2010 and later became President of the Witney Rotary Club.
An article about his 2010 retirement at Brize Norton is shown here: Dion Hickin and may also be found on Page 33 of the then Brize Norton magazine 'Gateway'. See: https://docplayer.net/55654792-Gateway-june-in-june-s-issue.html
Our condolences go to his family. RIP Dion
Thomas Leonard Thackray, DFM
With great regret we announce the death of Association Founding Member Tom Thackray on Wednesday 27 February 2019.
The funeral was held on 15 March at The Guildford Crematorium, Surrey and afterwards at The Princess Royal, Runfold.
Tom was born near Doncaster in September 1922 and, after training at St Athan, he served as a Halifax flight engineer on 10 Squadron from March until August 1943.
In September that year he was commissioned and also awarded the DFM.
After WW2 he worked for Vickers at Weybridge involved with the final production processes for the Viscount and Vanguard aircraft.
He eventually retired after working for BEA (BA) at Heathrow in the aircraft maintenance department.
Fg Off T.L. Thackray DFM (1943)
Our sincere condolences go his son Roger and his partner Chris Geoffrey, both of whom assisted Tom in the production of the 10 Squadron Association’s Newsletters after Tom finally hung up his pen as its Editor, after some 30 years, in 2014.
Tom and his wife Dorothy (1919–2017), a former WW2 RAF St Athan WAAF, were always regular attendees at the annual Remembrance Sunday services at the Squadron War Memorial at Melbourne and even in his early nineties was to be seen marching as an escort to the Association Standard when it was paraded there.
Tom & Dorothy in 2012
A tribute to Tom was published in the final 'paper' Association Newsletter No 50.
See: ' A Tribute to Tom Thackray '
Recent news indicates that Founding Association Member Jack Wingate passed away at Margate, Kent on 16 December 2018.
It is regretted that there are no further details as yet.
Our condolences go to all his family.
With great sadness we learn that another Association Founding Member, Fred Tiller passed away in Hampshire at New Milton between Christchurch and Lymington, on 17 December 2018. Fred was a stalwart supporter of the Association and never missed attending both Reunions and the Remembrance Sunday meetings at Melbourne; attending the last of these just a month before he died.
Our sincere sympathies go to his son Fred jnr who will be carrying on our tribute to his father's memory as an Association member.
Fred Tiller receiving his Association Honourary Lifetime Membership Certificate
from Gp Cpt Gerry Bunn on 11 November 2018
Douglas Evans, DFC (1922 - 2018) RAF 10 Sqn WW2 Halifax captain (1943-44)
Lancashire Aircraft Corporation, British South American Airways (BSAA),
British European Airways (BEA) - later British Airways (BA), Gulf Air, Air UK
It is with extreme sadness that we have to announce the death of one of our Association Founding Members, Doug Evans who passed away peacefully in Woodbridge, Suffolk on Sunday 23 December 2018.
Doug's funeral was held on 22 January 2019 at Ipswich, Suffolk, where the 10 Sqn Association Standard was dipped in salute to him.
Doug’s 38 year long career in aviation saw the award of the DFC after his WW2 10 Sqn tour at RAF Melbourne, Yorks. Post-war he was at the forefront of world-wide, long-haul flying and later, whilst flying for BEA on the Trident and Tristar, was involved with the high-technology advancements which now allow automatic landings in poor weather to be a matter of course.
Always forward thinking in his attitudes, Doug was a 1984 founder member of the 10 Sqn Association and his gentle demeanour made him immediately liked by all whom he met. His amazingly accurate and detailed recollections of his WW2 career have provided much hitherto un-documented knowledge regarding the daily lives endured by WW2 Bomber Command crews who could not expect to survive for much longer than three weeks after joining their squadrons to take the war to the enemy. Doug's later long career in civil aviation won him an award of a Master Pilot's certificate issued by the Honourable Company of Air Pilots in 2012 and as a friend to so many Doug will be sorely missed.
Click here: Captain Doug Evans, DFC to read a fuller account of his life.
He truly 'Hit The Mark' .
We'll miss you.
Terry G.Murphy (1932 -2018) Flight Lieutenant VC10 Co-pilot late 1960s - early 1970s
We are sad to announce that Terry passed away on 22 December 2018 after a long illness.
We send our condolences to his wife Betty and all the family who live in the Cleethorpes area of Lincolnshire.
Terry was the subject of a long search which the Association carried out in 2018 to trace his whereabouts for the couple to whom he acted as their Best Man some 63 years ago. We managed to trace him and put the families back in touch shortly before his death.
He lived in Bexleheath, Kent as a child and joined the RAF as a National Serviceman in the early 1950s. He flew on both 9 and 101 Squadron's Canberras at Bassingbourn and Binbrook and later on Vulcans before joining 10 Squadron in about 1968.
Derek Gurney WW2 Sergeant - Hailifax Tail Gunner
Derek was a rear gunner on a WW2 Halifax crew captained by a WO E. George. At present little else is known about his life.
The funeral took place on 20 December 2018 at the West Herts Crematorium, Garston, Watford Herts.
Sadly there are no further details.
This news was learned from a Facebook contact.
James (Jim) Edward Whatley a 10 Sqn Association Member
10 Sqn WW2 Wireless Operator - Sgt RAFVR, - later commissioned Plt Off to Flt Lt
Jim Whatley was born in June 1920 and sadly passed away on 26 November 2018 at the grand age of 98 years old. His grandson informs us that:
The funeral was on 12 December 2018 at the Test Valley Crematorium, Romsey, Hants.
- exactly 75 years to the day (12 December 1943) from when James was commissioned as a pilot officer.
James’ family have kindly offered that any donations received at the funeral shall benefit the RAF Benevolent Fund with a reference to the 10 Sqn Association. Our thanks will be echoed by the RAFBF.
James completed his tour of operations on 10 Squadron Halifaxes at Melbourne in February 1944 but his next operational tour is as yet unknown. After promotion to flying officer rank in June 1944 he was awarded the DFC soon afterwards but research is now ongoing as to there being a possibility he may have later been awarded a Bar to the medal. Surviving WW2 he finally left the RAF in February 1950.
James joined 10 Sqn in June 1943 on Fg Off John G. Jenkins’ crew. Two months later the crew survived a crash landing back at Melbourne after severe combat damage to their aircraft (DT 792) had been sustained on a raid to Hamburg.
Just another two months later in September 1943 the same crew escaped yet again from their damaged aircraft (HR 924) which this time had been attacked by an Me110 during their raid on Hanover. On this occasion bombs could not be dropped over the target or jettisoned prior to landing and the crew were directed to point the aircraft towards the North Sea and bale out which they did near Patrington. This action earned their pilot captain Fg Off Jenkins, the somewhat lengthy nickname of, “Bring ’em back alive Jenkins” to accompany his immediate award of the DFC.
Our thanks and sympathies to Richard Bond and the family. Click his name below for further details of his life
James E.Whatley, DFC - R.I.P.
The two Halifaxes mentioned above were both named ‘Farouk’ with accompanying ‘nose art’ on their fuselages – the same name of unknown origin, later being also adorned this time on a third Mark 3 Halifax flown by the OC10 from March – October 1944, Wg Cdr Dudley Radford. Does anyone know why the aircraft were so named? - The cartoon character resembles that of Disney's dwarf Dopey in the Snow White film.
William Leslie (Les) Hitchings 10 Sqn VC10 Flight Engineer - later with Gulf Air and Virgin Atlantic
Les apparently collapsed recently whilst preparing his immaculate, home built Glasair aircraft for sale at Kemble. Despite the valiant efforts of one of his sons, he never regained consciousness and passed away on 7 November 2018.
The funeral was held on Monday 26 November at
The South Oxfordshire Crematorium and Memorial Park
Garford, Abingdon. OX13 5PA
A well-attended wake followed at The Horseshoe inn, Bampton, OX18 2HA
Les was born in 1935 and joined the RAF in 1951. After completing his Air Engineer's course he was initially posted to Shackletons but later joined 10 Sqn on the VC10 in 1969. In 1975 he left the Squadron and the RAF to join Gulf Air based in Bahrain, flying the airline's VC10s and later Tristars until 1990. He returned to the UK and joined Virgin Atlantic as a flight engineer on their Boeing 747s to finally retire from them in 1999. RIP Les.
(Note: Thanks to Alan Walker ex-Gulf Air for finding this information)
Les was an Association member and leaves his wife Vivian, sons Andrew and Neil, and a daughter Sally, to all of whom we offer our deep condolences.
Eric Thomas VC10 Ground Engineer
Eric sadly passed away on Saturday 8 September 2018 at the age of 84.
He was not a member of the Association, mainly because he never had internet access, however he was a crew member for many years on VC10s, working as a flying Ground Engineer, when stationed at RAF Brize Norton.
More details to follow thanks to his son Paul.
Eric’s funeral was on the 26 September 2018
at Weston Mill Crematorium, Plymouth
Mick Bush (May 1942-Aug 2018) - Master Air Loadmaster VC10 1968 -1973
13 August 2018
The funeral was held on 6 Septemberat Thanet Crematorium, Manston Road, Margate.
The Funeral Directors were: Gores Brothers Ltd, 56 – 60 Thanet Road , Margate, CT9 1UB
Mick was born in Sittingbourne, Kent on 18 May 1942.
He joined 10 Sqn in 1968 flying on VC10’s as a Sergeant AQM/ALM where he remained in post until 1973.
He was subsequently posted as an ALM to Hercules (30 Sqn) and to Andovers, later serving as a crewman and winchman on Whirlwind and Wessex helicopters. As an S&R winchman he took part in several high profile rescue missions; on one occasion winning an award for his bravery. He also served in Northern Ireland for which he was awarded the GSM NI.
Service family homes included: Brize Norton, Lyneham, Hong Kong, Germany, Shrewsbury, Leuchars and Manston. After leaving the RAF the family settled in Ramsgate, Kent.
Mick’s passions were his family and cricket. He batted for his station and Support Command and later qualified as a groundsman and umpire at Lords.
Shortly after he retired from the RAF aged 55 years in the rank of MALM he was diagnosed with throat cancer but he didn’t let his illness or a tracheostomy get him down. He continued to be the life and soul of the party. He was known as “the miracle man” by the medical staff who looked after him throughout his long illness.
When the cancer spread recently, his wife Gill and staff from the local hospice looked after him at home. When he became seriously ill, on the 13 August 2018, he was taken to the Pilgrim’s Hospice in Ramsgate where he died peacefully in his sleep a few hours later.
He is survived by his beloved wife Gill, son Jason + Victoria and grandson Samuel.
John Cormack (Dec 1943 – July 2018) - Victor Ground Crew - RAF Cottesmore 1963-65
Johnny died early in the afternoon on 11 July 2018 age 74. He had been suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis for many months and his funeral was held on 23 July.
He was born in St. Ives but moving on finally passed away at his home in Wrea Green (between Preston and Blackpool) in Lancashire.
In 1960 Johnny was selected for apprentice training at the No 1 School of Technical Training, RAF Halton. He served at Cottesmore on 10 Sqn Victors from April 1963 to 1965 as an Airframe Fitter, although frequently also recovering 15 Squadron aircraft as well as 10 Squadron’s. He enjoyed RAF life, being posted to various parts of the world which included Cottesmore, Bahrain, Lyneham, Brize Norton and Gan. He had many exciting trips on Mobile Servicing Flight.
After leaving the Royal Air Force, John worked for International Computers Ltd (ICL) in various engineering roles and later was the chief engineer for a company supplying XRay, CT, MRI and Ultrasound scanners with 3D imaging, to the NHS. He also worked for a few months at RAF Sealand until he was offered the role of Chief Engineer at the new cancer centre that was opening at Royal Preston Hospital. After relocating, it was here back in Lancashire, working on Linear Accelerators and other radiotherapy equipment that John eventually finished his working life in 2006.
Johnny Cormack was always smiling and fun. The most loving, kind, gentle and generous husband, father and grandfather that his family could have ever wished for. He has left a hole that is impossible to fill. Johnny never let anyone down and fulfilled every obligation he ever undertook. Everyone who met him and was associated with John had the highest regard for his personality and his generosity. His dignity in life was matched by his dignity at the end of it.
John will always be sorely missed by his wife Stephanie, his daughter Sarah, son-in-law Darran and grandchildren Alexander and Elizabeth, together with his many friends world-wide and by all who hold him dear.
Rest in peace.
Thanks to: Roger Miller (Victors) for the above information
John Nelson Brittain Flt Lt - 10 Sqn VC10 pilot August 1973 - July 1976
Mark Brittain reports the sad news of his father John's passing away on 19 June 2018.
John was born in Walsall in 1938 and joined the RAF in 1957, learning to fly in Canada on a NATO training scheme. After serving on 10 Sqn as a copilot he left the RAF in 1976 and in 1977 joined Britannia airways, flying Boeing 737s and 767s with them at Birmingham until he retired 1991.
He leaves a wife Elizabeth Anne, sons Mark & Peter, and daughters Ann, Bernadette & Frances.
Prior to joining 10 Squadron he had flown the Chipmunk, T33, Silverstar, Hastings and Britannia aircraft.
John and a Harvard
John Brittain on a 10 Sqn VC10
His first flight was in a Tiger Moth on 20 November 1955, as was his last flight, also in a Tiger Moth on 25 September 2008.
John's funeral was be held St Joseph's Church, Wroughton, near Swindon on Wednesday 4 July and attended by approximately 300 mourners.
Note: At the funeral wake, it transpired that the father of John's daughter-in-law Hilary, had also flown on 10 Sqn in WW2. Sgt Norman John Gregory was a Mk V Whitley captain whose aircraft was shot down on a Bremen raid on 27/28 June 1941. Taken as a PoW he spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria, before being moved on the so-called 'long march'. He survived the war.
Denis Arthur Stratford Parson 10 Squadron RAF Melbourne 1944 -45 (role/rank unknown at present)
Denis passed away on 8 June 2018, shortly after an unexpected stroke. He was 96 and though frail, had been comfortable and still enjoying life and humour until the stroke.
The funeral was held at Penmount Crematorium, Truro, Cornwall on Thursday 28 June.
As Denis outlived all of his pals and aquaintances, only family members were in attendance.
More details to follow from son Lawrence.
Sqn Ldr VC10 captain on 10 Sqn, VC10 instructor on No 241 OCU (late 1960s & 70s)
and Asssociation Member
Passed away after a long illness on Tuesday 24 April 2018
Our deepest sympathies go to his wife Margaret near Faringdon, and all the family.
Sadly missed by all who had the pleasure to know and fly with him
Apr 18 See Tommy Thompson VC10 by Ann Bihan & Heather Barrett
1 May 18 From Tommy's daughter Mandy:
Tommy Thompson, retired pilot, RAF and Britannia Airways, died peacefully at home on 24 April 2018, aged 88 years, surrounded by his family, who were loved by him, as he was much loved by them.
The Funeral was held on 22 May 2018 at St Giles Church, Great Coxwell, Faringdon, Oxfordshire.
Read Ann Bihan's report on Tommy's funeral: Tommy Thompson - RIP
Lynn Struthers Flight Sergeant VC10 Loadmaster 1980s
Passed way suddenly 19 March 2018, aged 58.
10 Sqn Brize Norton & 60 Sqn Wildenrath, Germany.
Sister of Ian and adventurous traveller,
Always fun, true friend, very sadly missed
See this link to the RAF News https://issuu.com/rafnews/docs/raf_news_06.04.2018
9 Apr 18
Aged just 18, Kenneth joined the RAF in 1941 and arrived at RAF Melbourne as a wireless operator with his crew, captained by Canadian Fg Off D. Brown on 25 July 1944. They had all trained at RAF Marston Moor on No 1552 HCU. After the crew had completed their tour of 32 ‘ops’ they were posted from 10 Sqn on 21 February 1945.
At Merryfield in Somerset Kenneth then joined No 187 Squadron which had formed earlier that month, again flying Halifaxes but this time in a transport role.
Note: 187 Squadron was re-numbered on 1 Nov 46 to become 53 Sqn which many readers will recall flew the Belfast transport aircraft based at RAF Brize Norton in the late 1960s and 70s.
Kenneth, who had been born in Norfolk moved to Birminham in the 1950s after his demob from the RAF and joined the Police Force, where he was stationed at the well-known Steelhouse Lane station/prison for 30 years.
Note: Built in 1892 and closed in 2016 the unique Victorian building of Steelhouse Lane Police Station, linked to the Magistrates Court opposite by an underground tunnel, saw such notorious inmates such as 1970-80s killer Fred West and earlier members of the ‘Peaky Blinders’ gang. Its mortuary held the bodies of the 'Birmingham pub bombings' of 1974.– It opened as a tourist attraction in September 2017.
Kenneth met his future wife Lillian at a dance in Oakham whilst on leave during WW2. They were married for over 70 years and Lillian’s 90th birthday was sadly just three days after Kenneth had passed away on 17 February.
The couple moved to Lutterworth, Leics in 1989 when their grand-daughter Nicola was born, in order to be half-way between Birmingham where their son Andrew lives, and Oakham, where members of Kenneth’s family still reside.
Michael Kutyn Squadron Leader Michael Kutyn
passed away peacefully in Canada on 3 January 2018 at the age of 95.
Michael is survived by loving wife Helen (Couturier), children, grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Michael joined the RCAF in 1941 and served with the 10 Squadron, being awarded the DFC. He joined 418 City of Edmonton Squadron in 1949.
The following information was found during a search on the internet:
A prayer service was be held on Sunday, January 7, 2018 at Connelly-McKinley Funeral Homes St. Albert Chapel. Edmonton, Canada.
A Funeral Mass with burial to celebrate Michael Kutyn's life was held on Monday 8 January at St. Albert Catholic Parish, 7 St. Vital Ave, St. Albert, with interment in the family plot at Holy Cross Cemetery, Edmonton.
The family wishes to express their thanks to the medical staff at the Sturgeon General Hospital and the Citadel West for Michael's care.
In memory of Michael, donations may be made to the Edmonton Aviation Museum 11410 Kingsway NW, Edmonton, AB, T5G 0X4.
To send condolences, please visit www.connelly-mckinley.com.
David N. Galpin Gp Capt (Ret'd) - 10 Sqn VC10 navigator Jan 1967 - Oct 1969
David was born in Portsmouth in April 1929 and sadly passed away on 26 August 2017 at his home in Chippenham, Wilts. Our condolences go to his wife Brenda and their three children Nickie, Chris and Roger.
A Memorial/ Thanksgiving Service was held at St Michael's Church, Lyneham on 14 September.
David was a navigator who served as a Flight Commander on 10 Sqn when it was newly formed equipped with the VC10 aircraft. - (see dates below) He was particularly proud to have served on the Squadron, and loved flying on such a lovely aircraft. He was further delighted to have been at Brize Norton in September 2013 to witness the last VC10 flight.
David was a member of 10 Sqn Association and we are honoured and grateful to his family that they have specifically asked for us to be informed of this sad news.
David Galpin & daughter Nickie Evans, in September 2013
(Thanks to go to David's son-in-law, Sqn Ldr Tony Evans (Retd) for providing David's personal details below)
David Galpin: Personal Life & Career Details:
Attended the Royal Grammar School Guildford and joined the Royal Air Force in 1947 direct entry from school.
Professional Qualifications: Graduate RAF Staff College, Air Warfare College and Specialist Navigator Course. Member of Royal Institute of Navigation. Bachelor of Arts OU
Initial Training as a Navigator carried out at Thornhill, Rhodesia from 12 Apr 1948- 6 Sep 1949 & commissioned on return in Dec 1949.
Posted to 235 Sunderland OCU Calshot 27 Mar 1950 - Sep 1950 & later that yearp osted to 209 Sqn Sunderlands in Seletar, Singapore 4 Oct 1950
Flew operational sorties from Iwakuni Japan flying over the Yellow Sea in support on UN forces during the Korean War. Awarded a Mention in Dispatches to his Korean War medal.
Became Senior Navigator on 209 Squadron. He was also involved in flying around the Indian Ocean carrying British government officials looking for a suitable place to build an airfield, eventually choosing Gan.
Returned to UK and posted as Navigator Instructor RAF Shawbury 4 Nov 1953 and attended Specialist Navigator Course RAF Manby 22 Aug 1955
Posted in Jul 1956, on Ground Tour, to A and AEE Boscombe Down writing Navigator Training Manuals. However, managed to fly, and record in his logbook, on a number of aircraft including: Meteor, Javelin, Comet, Ashton, Beverly, Victor, Vulcan and Valiant. David was also was the navigator on the delivery flight of the last Beaufighter RD 761 from Boscombe Down to Seletar in Mar 1959.
Posted to 242 Hastings OCU RAF Dishforth 18 Aug 1959 -22 Dec 1959 & joined 36 Sqn Hastings RAF Colerne 10 Jan 1960 - 8 Jan 1961
Posted RAF Staff College Bracknell 9 Jan 1961-22 Feb 1962
Exchange posting to USAF, Alaskan Air Command Elmandorf AFB Alaska 10 Mar 62 -28 Mar 1964. Staff appointment dealing with policy on navigational training, radio aids and liaison with the FAA. He did manage to fly and did a number of flights around Alaska and to bases along the Aleutian chain to Shemya (the nearest point to Russia) on C54 and C47 aircraft. On one notable flight they carried out a Search and Rescue mission for a group of missing Eskimos missing on an ice floe, successfully locating them.
His tour also proved to be very interesting in other aspects. He and his family were there during the Cuban Missile Crisis and being so close to Russia became familiar with Nuclear Fallout Drills during a very tense period. JF Kennedy was shot during their time there.
At the end of his tour on the day before they were due to come home the Alaskan Earthquake of 1964 struck. The hotel they were staying in was badly shaken and for a time their son became separated from them before being led to safety by another hotel guest.
On return posted on Staff tour to RAF Transport Command, Upavon overseeing map and chart requirements and flight manuals. 22 Jun 1964 - 15 Jan 1967
Flight Commander tour on the newly formed 10 Sqn on VC10s RAF Brize Norton 16 Jan 1967-14 Oct 1969
Staff tour MOD 15 Oct 1969- 28 Dec 1970
Posted 242 OCU Hercules RAF Thorney Island 21 Sep 1970 - 28 Dec1970
Officer Commanding No 30 Squadron RAF Fairford/RAF Lyneham 1 Jan 1971-28 Mar 1973. during the Indo-Pakistan conflict he was sent to Masirah as Detachment Commander overseeing the safe evacuation of British Civilians from Karachi, Islamabad and Dacca.
Attended Air Warfare Course Manby 25 Jun1973 - 8 Dec1973
MOD tour 17 Dec 1973 - 25 Oct 1976
Station Commander RAF Fylingdales 27 May 1977-3 Aug 1979. He particularly enjoyed his time at Fylingdales. The married quarters were in Whitby and his family loved the local area. He was especially proud that, during the Cold War and considering the importance of the role, the BMEWS site never let the country down. There was always a ‘golf’ ball operational.
Final tours at MOD on the Intelligence staff before retirement in 1983.
as Officer Commanding RAF Fylingdales 1977 - 1979
Gp Capt David N. Galpin
On retirement David and his family settled in Whitby, having previously bought an old married quarter. He and his wife became very much involved in the local community: he became a civilian instructor with the local ATC Sqn, voluntary work for SSAFA and RAFA, volunteered at the Captain Cook Museum before becoming the Curator. And as keen golfers he and his wife were very much involved with Whitby Golf Club holding various offices within the club.
Mick sadly died on 22 May after a long illness bravely fought.
The funeral was held on 15 June at St Mildred's Church, Preston, Nr Canterbury.
Mick joined the RAF as a Flight Cadet at the RAF College Cranwell (93 Entry) and trained as a pilot. He finished his service in the RAF following the 1st Gulf War after a short ground tour at Marham. He joined 216 Sqn Tristars at Brize Norton as one of its first crews in the 1980s following his tours on 10 Sqn as a flight commander and VIP captain flying the VC10. Mike was much liked and admired by all who flew with him.
Section of a cartoon depicting the 'Execs' of 10 Sqn in the early 1980s
when Sqn Ldr Dobson was a flight commander
After leaving the RAF he worked for the CAA based at Gatwick after a move from Lechlade, Glos to Kent and took early retirement from Flight Crew Licencing in 2010.
Although he was not an Association member we of course send our condolences to his wife Jane as those who knew them both have fond memories of their time on the Squadron where Mick was held in such high regard.
William L. (Tommy) Thompson (1927 – 2017) 10 Sqn Victor Co-pilot at Cottesmore Nov 1960 – Apr 1963
Born in Gateshead in March 1927 and after a life was devoted to flying with a passion that continued even after retirement, Tommy Thompson sadly passed away away on 28 May 2017 in York. So as not to confuse his name with others so blessed, we are grateful to his son Chris for the following details of his father’s career which started in the RAF in 1944 during WW2.
Prior to joining 10 Squadron at Cottesmore in November 1960 as a Victor B1 co-pilot Tommy’s previous flying experience had all been on single-seat fighters and as a QFI. A 'punishment' ground tour coincided with the 1957 Defence White Paper (no more manned fighters), so he orchestrated a return to flying by joining the V-Force.
His eventful tour on 10 Sqn as Keith Bichard's co-pilot included the Farnborough Air Display 1961, Battle of Britain Day displays in 1962 and a well-known diversion to Wittering on 19 December 1961 when a failure of the Victor's starboard undercarriage to lower resulted in the aircraft coming to rest on the grass with minimal damage.
Wittering December 1961
However, Tommy's most often recalled recollections of his 10 Sqn tour were the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 when the Squadron was on full alert readiness with its nuclear deterrents and the Victor sliding on the ice at Cottesmore while taxying during an exercise with the weapon onboard.
Tommy Thompson (centre) & Victor B1 crew
After his Victor captain’s course he was posted to 57 Sqn at Honington where he resumed QFI duties, displaying the Victor at all the 1964 Battle of Britain Displays and captaining the last crew ever to drop Britain's biggest ever bomb load comprising 35 x 1,000lb bombs, being the only crew ever to successfully drop such a load in a 'stick'. Once the Victor converted to the tanker role, Tommy served as an instructor on it until 1974, when he moved to the Canberra. A tour flying Meteors as the close formation 'shepherd' to unmanned aircraft from RAE Llanbedr preceded his final tour as a simulator instructor on the Hawk at RAF Valley. Tommy retired to North Yorkshire in 1987 after 43 years' RAF service.
Tommy's RAF Career:
Non-Flying Duties (Engine Fitter): 1944-47 48th Entry, No 1 SoTT, RAF Halton
1947-48 No 4 SoTT, RAF St Athan, 1948 RAF Topcliffe (Modification Bay - Wellington, Anson)
Flying Duties (Pilot):
1949 6 FTS, RAF Ternhill (Prentice, Harvard)
1950 203 AFS, RAF Driffield, 226 OCU RAF Stradishall (Meteor T7, Vampire F1)
1950-53 67 Sqn, RAF Gutersloh, Wildenrath (Vampire FB5)
1953-55 19 Sqn, RAF Church Fenton (Meteor F8)
1955 CFS 'B', RAF South Cerney (Provost)
1955 CFS 'A', RAF Little Rissington (Vampire T11)
1955-57 4 FTS, RAF Middleton St George, RAF Worksop (Vampire T11 plus 19 Sqn for Hunter F6)
1957-60 HQ FTC (Meteor, Vampire, Balliol, Provost, Anson)
1960-63 10 Sqn, RAF Cottesmore (Victor B1)
1963-66 57 Sqn, RAF Honington (Victor B1A)
1966-67 214 Sqn, RAF Marham (Victor B(K)1a)
1967-70 Tanker Trg Flt, RAF Marham (Victor)
1970-74 232 OCU (Simulator) (Victor)
1975 85 Sqn, RAF West Raynham (Canberra B2, T4, T19)
1976-78 100 Sqn, RAF Marham (Canberra B2, T4, E15, T19)
1978-82 Royal Aircraft Establishment Llanbedr (Canberra (mod), Meteor T7, NF11.5, D16, Devon/Dove)
1983 RAF Leeming
1983-87 4 FTS, RAF Valley (Simulator - Hawk T1)
A little more about him may be read here:
V-Force: Victors in Malaya » Finest Hour Warbirds
Tommy’s son Chris also adds:
My Father maintained his passion for aviation in retirement by designing and building radio controlled model aeroplanes. Since my Mother's death in 2010, he flew regularly with me, including accompanying me to the Berlin Airshows in 2012 and 2014 in my CAP10 aerobatic machine, where he supervised my displays from the commentator’s stand. He last features in my logbook in August 2016 in a Tiger Moth, aged 89: (see pic below)
A full life well led; Tommy was still out-sharping son Chris in the air until late last year.
At the interment of ashes and memorial service, held at St Gregory's Minster,
Kirkdale near Kirkbymoorside, North Yorks on 11 August 2017
a 100 Sqn Hawk aircraft overflew the setting whilst on a routine training sortie.
The Hawk was the last aircraft Tommy had flown whilst also on 100 Sqn.
RIP Tommy Thompson
John Potter Post WW2 RAF Fitter & Honorary 10 Sqn Assoc Member
We announce the recent death in January 2017 of Mr John Potter of Bersted, near Bognor Regis, West Sussex.
John was made an Honorary Association member for his involvement with those former Association members who had advised the Yorkshire Air Museum in their project to restore their Halifax exhibit. He was also the donor of the two Handley Page Hastings wings that had been stored in a disused railway tunnel at Singleton, nr Chichester, and which were utilised during the rebuild of the YAMs Halifax at Elvington.
John's funeral was held at North Bersted church on 9 February 2017.
Click 'Read More' on the right-side blue icon for more details about the Yorkshire Air Museum Halifax restoration and John Potter's involvement.
The Late Reverend Ian Cook, the Association Chaplain, gave the following guidance to members regarding the legal position on the draping of coffins with flags and the scattering of Cremated Remains.
1. Relatives often enquire if the coffins, of their deceased relatives who served in the RAF, may be draped in a flag:-
Queen's Regulations preclude the draping of a coffin with the RAF Ensign, which may only be flown from a pole or mast. However draping a coffin with the Union Flag (Union Jack) is allowed, if the deceased has served his country in any of the Armed Services. The securing of the flag over the coffin should be within the scope of undertakers. Flags may be purchased relatively cheaply (about £5 -£8) depending on dimensions, and are available from that well-known on-line internet sales company.
However, the Association now has it's own flag which may be used and which may be sent to the undertakers or bereaved relatives by post, prior to the funeral. It is lightweight, measures 6ft x 3ft and is made from a washable tereylene material. After the funeral it must be returned to our Association Standard Bearer.
2. It is imperative that the owners of private land must be consulted before any remains are left on the ground. The owner has the right to designate the place of deposit of any remains. Remains should be scattered in an appropriate manner on the ground, again in line with the wishes of the land owner. The owner has the right to remove any remains left in an unauthorised position and either place them in a different position or gather them up and await collection by whoever is responsible. The scattering may then be conducted in line with the land owner's rules.
At the former RAF Melbourne, now Melrose Farm, owner Mr John Rowbottom is willing to grant permission for the scattering of the Cremated Remains of former WW2 members of 10 Squadron.
The designated areas for the scattering are either behind the 10 Squadron War Memorial or, alternatively, on the main runway of the former RAF Melbourne. Mr Rowbottom does not allow the scattering to take place on any other parts of his farm. Permission is of course also required for any member of the public to enter the Farm land and to walk or drive on any part of it, especially to the old runway.
We apologise if the personal details regarding a deceased member are not fully included but we can only publish what information we have.
The list below includes those who were not Association Members.
"We Will Remember Them"
Reginald Ivor Manning DFC Halifax Flt Engineer - Melbourne …….
…….was an Association member who passed away on Saturday 14 January 2017.
Reg joined the RAF at Halton in 1936 and retired with squadron leader rank in 1956, having completed three separate 10 Squadron postings at various times. In more recent years a silver cigarette box, presented to Reg when leaving the Squadron for the last time in 1956, was re-donated back to the Squadron by him and is now part of the Squadron silver collection.
Reg's cremation was held on 26 January 2017 at Stonefall Cemetery & Crematorium, Harrogate. RIP
Ken Stewart Fg Off - Halifax & Dakota navigator 1945 -1947 (Melbourne, Poona & Burma)
We regret to announce that Ken passed away on Saturday 7 January 2017.
Ken's son Alan has kindly provided us with the text of a eulogy read later at Ken's funeral.
Ken joined the RAF in August 1942 and, after a spell of training in Newquay, Cornwall, sailed to South Africa to receive initial pilot training on Tiger Moths and Airspeed Oxfords, going solo after 15 and 8 hours respectively.
In August 1943 he transferred to a Navigational Training School and returned to the UK in June 1944, where, in August, he teamed up with the men who were to become his crew for the remainder of the War and his subsequent life-long friends. Initially flying Wellingtons and then Halifax Mk III's, they went on to receive an award for 'Best all-round Crew' and for Ken, 'Best Navigator' on the Halifax conversion course.
In February 1944 the crew joined No 10 Squadron, Bomber Command at Melbourne, Yorkshire, and ten days later, with Ken as newly-promoted Flight Sergeant, made their first bombing operation over Germany.
They completed a total 16 operations before the end of the war in Europe, subsequently making some flights over Germany with ground crew on board, [known as Cook’s Tours to show those who had serviced the bombers the results of their hard work –Ed] before transferring to Dakotas for post-war operations over India and later Burma. In March 1946 he was promoted to Flying Officer and in July of that year, he made his final flight with the RAF, being released in September.
There can also be no more a fitting tribute to Ken than recent words sent to us by his old Squadron and Association friend Doug Newham who writes the following:(click his name below)
In early 2013 Ken was one of the first 10 Squadron Association members to apply for then newly announced award of a 'Bomber Command Clasp' to be afixed to his wartime 1939 -1945 Star Medal. He was subsequently invited to No 10 Downing Street and received his Clasp from the then Prime Minister David Cameron. Read the following article compiled by Ken himself, about the event.
at the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial, London in June 2012
Our website Home Page 'Banner' which was displayed after Ken had received his BC Clasp at No 10.
Dorothy Thackray - Wife of Association Founder member Tom and a member of the WAAF during WW2
Dorothy's cremation was held on 20 January 2017 at Guildford Crematorium, Godalming, Surrey.
The Thackrays after Tom was commissioned in 1944
Dorothy, whose maiden name was Burbidge, married Tom at the parish church Cadoxton, Barry, Glamorgan in 1943. They had met at RAF St Athan where Tom had been sent to attend the Flight Engineers' course before joining 10 Sqn and starting his tour of Ops at Melbourne. Dorothy was working in the Pay accounts section at St Athan. After WW2 she became a civil servant with the Min of Ag and Fish in Guildford and had just passed her 97th birthday on 27 December 2016, sadly to pass away on New Year's Day 2017. It was a peaceful passing.
Dorothy, with Tom at an Association Remembrance Day Lunch
at Allerthorpe in 2013
It is not our general policy to announce the deaths of Members' wives in this column but as Dorothy had supported Tom and the Association so much over the years we choose to make an exception in her case. Our condolences and sympathies go to all her family.
Stuart (Stu) Luff Pierce Sqn Ldr RAF Retd, MBE died suddenly on Tuesday 27 December aged 84.
Extract from 'The Telegraph' dated: Tuesday 3 January 2017:
Dearest husband of Jessie, father of Andrew (deceased), Wendy, Carol, Stuart and Chris and grandad to his 7 grandchildren.
Private cremation. A service of Thanksgiving was held at St Mary the Virgin, Bampton, Oxfordshire on the 26 January 2017.
Stu was a much-admired and well-liked VC10 VIP navigator who set a fine example. His kind nature endeared him to all who had the pleasure of flying and working with him. An Association member who always attended our Reunions, Stu will be deeply missed.
Stu Pierce enjoying the sunshine at Ascension Island in 1984
on the Ground Engineers' Steps at the old Zymotic Hospital which had become the VC10 slip-crew accommodation.
George Arthur Mullinex WW2 (1944) 10 Sqn Halifax Wireless Operator
& Association member
“With sadness that I have to inform you, that my father, George Mullinex, passed away on Friday 16 December 2016 at approximately 21:30 hours.
Following the death of my mother in March 2015, he had been unwell, being confined to bed for the last 5 weeks."
A cremation service was held on Monday 16 January at Yardley Crematorium, near Sheldon, Birmingham, with refreshment at Westhall Court afterwards.
This information was passed to us by George’s son David. We offer our sincere condolences to him and indeed all George’s relatives.
A couple of years ago George gave us some recollections of his final operational flight on 10 Squadron service:
“My last flight on the Squadron, completing my full tour of ops, was on 17 July 1944, involving a mass attack on the ‘buzz-bomb’ site at Mont-Candon in southern France. This was my 36th operation and as I have lived to tell the tale, I know I was one of the very lucky ones. I lost so many friends during my time and watching them disappear one by one, was very heartbreaking.
I stayed on 10 Squadron, at Melbourne, until 10 August 1944 and after completing my tour of duty was posted to Stanton Harcourt, near Oxford, flying Vickers Wellingtons as a wireless operator instructor. This was until 7 February 1945, when I was promoted to Warrant Officer and posted to Castle Bromwich in Birmingham, just two miles from where I was living. I served there for 16 months until my discharge on 25 June 1946.”
John Newbold VC10 Flight Engineer who joined 10 Sqn in 1969.
Sadly we announce that former 10 Squadron Master Engineer John Newbold died on 25 November 2016 after a series of heart attacks in a short time and a stroke. He would have been 82 this month.
John's funeral was held on Friday 9 December at the South Oxfordshire Crematorium & Memorial Park, Garford, Abingdon, after which a post-Funeral Reception was held at: The Rose Revived, Newbridge, Witney, Oxon. OX29 7QD
Personal letters or cards of condolence should be addressed to:
Mrs Koulla Newbold, 78a Burford Road. CARTERTON, Oxon. OX18 1AF
Family flowers only – Details of donations, in lieu of flowers, will be advised shortly. Our sympathies go to all his family and friends.
Alan Bruce (DFC) WW2 - Fg Off & Halifax Mk3 Captain
Joined 10 Sqn in March 1944 & Awarded the DFC in Feb 1945
and sadly passed away on 7 November 2016.
Crew of Halifax 'Z' - Zebra, 1944 after 37 Ops
The funeral was held on Friday 25 November at Chanterlands Avenue Crematorium , Hull.
Further details of Alan's service and life will be added when advised by his daughter Margaret.
Mike McKee Master Air Loadmaster on the VC10
Mike passed away on 10 October and his funeral service will take place at 14:00 hrs at St Bartholomew's, Royal Wootton Bassett on 25 October with refreshments afterwards at the Wiltshire Golf Club. All are welcome.
No other details available at the moment. (15 Oct)
George Rupert Edward GARRETT WW2 Sergeant, & Wireless Operator June - October 1944
died on 1 September 2016 aged 92.
Known as Rupert, Garrett joined 10 Sqn in June 1944 on Plt Off Hagstrom’s crew. After 3 months this crew were then posted to RAF Driffield onto 466 Squadron an RAAF squadron. – Hagstrom being Australian..
After the war Rupert became an electronics craftsman at the Royal Aircraft/Aerospace Establishment (RAE) and was awarded the ISM (Imperial Service Medal) in 1989, presumably on retirement. He lived in Church Crookham, Hampshire and was a member of the Fleet Branch of RAFA. He was also a member of the North Hants Golf Club, in Fleet, for more than 50 years. In recent years he attended the Club every day for his lunch.
George had no close family and the Vicar for his funeral, not knowing about the Golf Club connection and thinking that the church would be almost empty, put out a call to the local Royal British Legion (RBL) and RAFA organisations. In the event, because of the Golf Club, there were more than 40 people in the church, including a contingent from RAFA & RBL and the RAFA Branch Standard.
Re: 466 Squadron - Wikipedia States:
466 Sqn converted to the Handley Page Halifax heavy bomber in late 1943. In June 1944, the Squadron returned to Driffield. From May 1944, operations were focussed on German infrastructure targets in France,such as coastal artillery batteries and railway marshalling yards, in preparation for the invasion of Europe.
A Fg Off Joe Herman (RAAF), captain of a 466 Sqn Halifax Mk.III, narrowly escaped death in a remarkable incident on 4 November 1944. During a night mission over Germany, his aircraft LV 936 was badly damaged by flak. After ordering the crew to bail out, Herman was blown out of the plane, without a parachute. After falling possibly more than 3,000 metres, Herman fell onto the Halifax's mid-upper gunner, Fg Off John Vivash (RAAF), and grabbed one of his legs. Both men then descended on one parachute, suffered minor injuries when landing and survived the war as PoWs. From a total crew of seven, only one other airman, Sgt H. W. Knott (RAF), survived. According to one source, at least three crew members were murdered after being captured.
Harry Gough WW2 Sgt & Halifax Tail Gunner
who joined 10 Sqn with Plt Off Harrison’s crew on 26 June 1944, died on 31 August 2016.
Regrettably we have no other information at the time of writing but hope to publish further details here when known.
Harold V. Canning WW2 10 Squadron Halifax Sgt tail gunner died recently.
The funeral was held at the Fenlands Crematorium on 26 August 2016.
Harry lived in Old Hurst, Huntingdonshire.
He was a member of the exclusive Goldfish Club: (see link)
Returning from a WW2 raid on Cologne their aircraft lost 2 engines and had to be ditched in the North Sea. The dingy didn't automatically deploy and, according to a contemporary newspaper report, Harry went back into the fuselage to manually release the dingy. After over 4 hours in the dingy the crew were rescued by a destroyer.
Further details will be posted here when known.
Maurice Biggs Sqn Ldr & VC10 Captain/Sim Instructor 1967 - 80s
Joined the RAF in May 1944 and flew many types during a long career, including Hurricanes, Meteors, Vampires, Vulcans and VC10s and after retirement became
Chairman of SOFFAM - Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton
We regret to announce that Maurice sadly passed away over the weekend of 30/31 July 2016 in Yeovil District Hospital, after admission there some ten days earlier. Maurice would have been 92 yrs old in a few weeks time.
After a private funeral, a memorial service was held at Somerton on 22 August with a reception afterwards at the family home, in Barton St David.
Our sincere condolences to his daughters Marilyn and Valerie and their families.
Harold Gilbert James Warrant Officer Air Bomber April - August 1944 & PoW
Died aged 93 on 2 July 2016 in the Hereford area.
As a Bomb Aimer, Harold James flew 7 missions in 10 Sqn Halifax Mk IIIs during the liberation of France. In total, he completed a total of 38 operations over German occupied territory. Prior to and in the weeks following the D-Day Landings, he flew on the following missions:
1 June 1944 - Rouen
6 June 1944 - Mont Fleury and St Lô
9 June 1944 - Mining Lorient and St Nazaire
12/13 June 1944 - Longueau Amiens and Mining Brest
15/16 June 1944 - Fouillard (Fuel Dump)
22/23 June 1944 - Laon (Railway Sidings)
27 June 1944 - Mining Brest
In August 1944, his Halifax was shot down and, although he evaded capture for 17 days, he eventually became a Prisoner of War, not returning home until May 1945.
Harold lived with his wife Rosemorie in the White Cross area of Hereford.
He leaves family members who include:
Peter and Amanda James (Son and Daughter-Law), plus grandson, Richard.
David and Shelia James (Son and Daughter-Law)
RIP & Always Remembered
For further details see this link: Harold James
Bryce Devos VC10 Air Steward in late 1970s
died recently and his funeral was held at Wigan Crematorium on 4 June 2016.
Regrettably no other details are known.
Clive William Moate Master Air Loadmaster MSM - VC10
passed away aged 81 in April 2016, after a long and brave battle against cancer.
Clive spent the final years of his RAF service as a MALM on 10 Squadron.
His funeral was held on Friday 13 May 2016 at the Bury St. Edmunds Crematorium,. Awake was held afterwards at The Barn, Elm Vale Farm, Denmark Hill, Palegrave, Diss
Although Clive was not an Association member we offer our condolences to his family.
It is hoped that further details of Clive's life will follow shortly
Edward (Ted) Charles Mills Warrant Officer Halifax & Dakota Navigator
died suddenly on Sunday 10 April aged 93. Ted was a warrant officer and navigator, flying primarily in Halifaxes during the battle for Europe, and on the Squadron's redeployment to India where he flew in Dakotas. He was not an Association member.
His funeral was on 29 April at the Surrey and Sussex Crematorium, Crawley, Sussex.
Alfie Musgrove VC10 Project Officer Pilot captain and later 241 OCU pilot instructor, 1960s - 70s.
Sqn Ldr Alfie Musgrove
Somewhat belatedley we regret to learn of the death in January 2016 of Alfie Musgrove, in the USA.
Sqn Ldr Alfred Claude Musgrove was one of the two project team pilots (the other being Brian Taylor) who brought the VC 10 into RAF service. He subsequently set up the VC 10 element of the Air Training Squadron at Brize Norton which was later to become No 241 OCU. Alfie was well liked and respected by all with whom he flew.
It is understood that before his death he had been resident in Canby, Woodburn, Oregon. USA for a number of years.
An obituary for Alfie, written in the USA, can be seen here: US Obituary For Alfie Musgrove
As with so many ex-Squadron members contact with Alfie had been lost in the past few years. - Do keep in touch with past members, if only to send them a Christmas card once a year.
James Vick WW2 Halifax WO later Fg Off - Wireless Op
at Melbourne Feb - Jun 1945 from Australia and Association Member
James passed away recently in Warrnambool, Victoria, Aus. His funeral was be held on Wednesday 24 February 2016.
FS E.S. Beaumont's crew, on which James was the Wireless Operator, abandoned their Halifax on 9 April 1945 by parachute, after a raid on a German airfield at Stade. 10 Sqn Ops Records show that the right inner engine became unserviceable with severe vibration and flames, caused by low oil pressure. As the aircraft became uncontrollable it was decided to abandon it over France, where all except the navigator Sgt R. Thomas, were picked up by Allied Forces of the British 2nd Army.
(We are uncertain as yet, but Sgt Thomas may have survived also, if he is the same person as we believe him to be, passing away in June 2012. - see Obits below for that year)
Our gratitude goes to James' son Neville for informing us of this sad news. James was pre-deceased by the rest of his crew and to quote his own humourous words, he has now "hung up his coat" as well.
Our condolences go to the Vick family. R.I.P.
Meg (Sarah Margaret) Fensome née Hetherington 10 Sqn Air Quartermaster July 1968 – early 1970s
December 1946 - January 2016
Sgt (W) Meg Hetherington (later Fensome) in Changi 1968
Meg, who was born in December 1946 on the family farm 'Crook Dake' in what was then Cumberlandin, now Cumbria, died in Florida, USA, after a long battle with cancer on Sunday 17 January 2016.
She was on the same No 7 VC 10 conversion course, as her future husband to be, Terry Fensome, then an Air Engineer. Meg, together with her lifelong friends Pat Magill née Howard and Jo Heyland née Bend, completed all aspects of their AQM training together and it is the latter who have kindly provided the substance of this text.
Meg was on the second VC 10 course to be drawn from the RAF/WRAF without previous AQM experience on other types of aircraft. She left the WRAF on her marriage to Terry and when he too left the RAF they moved to Hong Kong where Terry trained as a pilot on multi engined aircraft. When Terry helped form a cargo airline they moved from Hong Kong to Singapore and then on to Malta, where Meg was always Terry's admin back up; she also often flew with him to look after the load, crew and any passengers.
They returned to the UK to live in Carterton, near Brize Norton, when Terry subsequently flew with Laker Airways and at that time Meg worked as a civilian in RAF Brize Norton Flight Operations. They later moved to the USA and Meg became Vice President of husband Terry’s Pelican Flight Training School which she administered whilst Terry continued as CEO of various US airlines.
Meg was the heartbeat of Pelican, having set it up almost single handed, whilst Terry was busy running an airline. She made it the great success it went on to become. Adored by all Pelican-trained pilots; they remained close friends with Meg afterwards. She would often receive phone calls from ex-students flying in distant parts of the world. Pelican employees and sub contractors loved her too.
As trainee pilots came from all around the world, Meg would help them get US visas, accommodation and smooth their way when they arrived. If they became home sick or had accommodation problems she would take them into her home, sometimes for months on end until they had settled. If any of them ever had a problem she would help them resolve it. She was a real mother hen and they loved her for it.
Meg was diagnosed with cancer 2010; afterwards undertaking every possible treatment available in an attempt to prolong her life but finally she lost the fight on Sunday 17 January 2016. Our condolences go to Terry for his loss.
As her close friends will confirm Meg was a lovely lady whom all were the better for knowing. She will be greatly missed by all her friends. The extent of Meg's influence has prompted many comments on Facebook. Non-account holders who nevertheless may wish to see them should click on her name below to open a copy of them all.
Facebook entries for Meg Fensome
Rest in Peace Meg
The US Memorial/Celebration of her life took place in Florida at Meg's favourite Pembroke Pines Country/Golf Club on 11 February 2016, after which her ashes were back to the UK, so she may rest alongside her parents in Cumbria.
A UK memorial service was held on Monday 7 March 2016, in a church close to her sister Mary's farm
Aubrey F.G. ( 'Nicky') Nickels
Mk 3 Halifax navigator on Flt Lt Hurrell's crew from Oct 1944 -Feb 1945
(Shot down during a raid to Worms 22 Feb 1945 in RG426 -'X')
and Association member.
passed away on 17 December 2015, aged 94.
The funeral was held at Burham-on-Sea, Somerset on 29 December.
Our thanks to his grand-daughter Gemma for passing on the information and our condolences go to his family.
Tony J. Richards
Wg Cdr A.J. Richards was the Officer Commanding 10 Sqn from March 1975 - February 1977
Tony sadly passed away on 11 December 2015.
The funeral took place at the Witney Methodist Church, High Street, Witney on Wednesday 30 December.
The Squadron at Brize Norton was represented by OC10 Wg Cdr Jamie Osborne and the Association by Chairman Wg Cdr (Ret'd) Mike Westwood, Ian Macmillan, Harry Liddell and Peter Wentworth.
See Crewroom article for a brief resume of his service career.
R I P
Maud Evans Wife of Doug Evans, Halifax captain, and Founder Member of the Association
sadly passed away in Surrey on 11 November 2015.
Our thoughts and hearts go out to Doug at this sad time. Maud's funeral was held at Randalls Park Crematorium Randalls Road, Leatherhead, Surrey on Tuesday 24 November.
.... R I P ....
A.W.A. (Chalky) White WW2 Halifax pilot and later with BEA and Gulf Air.
Chalky White, who lived in Camberley, Surrey, sadly passed away on 28 October 2015.
The funeral was held at Woking Crematorium on Friday 6 November at 15:30 hrs.
Our sympathies go to his wife Constance (Connie).
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham
WW2 Bomber Command Lancaster pilot and later Chief of the Air Staff
died on 24 October 2015
Readers may wish to open the pdf file below which was published in The Daily Telegraph on 27 October 2015
David McDonald VC10 Flight Engineer (Rank & dates of Service not known)
Mac joined the RAF at the age of 16 and served at Ballykelly in Northern Ireland, Seletar and Brize Norton. As an air engineer, he flew on the Beverley before being posted to No 10 Squadron in the early 1970s. He retired from the RAF in 1978 after 25 years of service and joined British Airways as a Boeing 747 flight engineer.
Mac died on 23 September 2015, aged 78 years. The funeral was on 9 October.
See Crewroom: Funeral attendance at Kingsdown, Swindon.
John Ward Master Engineer, VC10s & Britannias
John, whose last known address was in Chippenham, Wilts,
passed away during the summer 2015.
Our condolences go to all his family. - No further details are known at present.
Joe Overy Sqn Ldr, pilot VC10 1970s and later Danair,
died suddenly on 2 July 2015
The funeral was held on Monday, 20 July 2015
at St Peter's Church, Ardingly, West Sussex RH17 6UR
Robert H. Maslen of Toronto, Canada - 10 Sqn Dakota pilot Mauripur, Karachi
Copied from website: http://mountpleasantgroup.permavita.com/site/RobertMaslen.html
Peacefully at St. Michael's Hospital on Saturday 20 June 2015 at the age of 91 with best friend and partner Kathy Carter at his side.
Born 10 May 1924 in London, England he was predeceased by his parents Arthur and Ethel (Stokes) Maslen, his wife Joy Phyllis Maslen and his first son Paul. Proud father of 5, grandfather of 10 and great-grandfather of 14 (too many to list but he loved all of you). He is survived by his brother Peter, predeceased by his brother Arthur.
WWII veteran 10 Squadron RAF pilot in Mauripur, Karachi. After the war he was with RCAF 406 (B25s) Saskatoon and 405 (Argus) Greenwood NS. Signed up in England at 16 as an armourer's assistant , retired after 26 years as a Flight Lieutenant. Later as a civilian he worked for Manpower and Immigration. He derived enjoyment through personal contacts and earlier active support with fellow veterans in organizations such as Allied Air Forces Reunion (as chairman of the last big reunion in 1999), 408-437 Wing Air Force Association of Canada and Branch 66 Royal Canadian Legion.
William 'Bill' McDonagh WW2 10 Sqn Halifax Rear Gunner 1944-45
Bill flew 40 missions over Germany during WW2 as a Sergeant tail gunner with the crew of pilot Fg Off R. Thorne RAAF. He also served in the Far East before being demobbed in either 1946/47. Formerly of Limerick City, Ireland and Hammersmith, London, Bill, in his 90s, sadly passed away on 1 May 2015.
The funeral was held at St Munchin's Church, Limerick on Wednesday 6 May 2015.
Bill served in the Irish Free State army before WW2 and came to England to work on airfield construction. He had half a tattoo on his forearm which he was getting done in Coventry when the Blitz started. When the raid was over the shop had disappeared in the bombing and he never did get the tattoo finished.
He crash landed 3 times, once with 6 bombs on board and had his turret's plexiglass shot out around him but didn't tell the pilot as he didn't want the mission compromised.
It is not known whether he remained on 10 Sqn when they deployed to India but Bill served in the Far East where he became a driver. He may possibly have been in Burma with 10 Squadron in early 1946 as it is understood that he drove Japanese prisoners. [With the Dakota Food Relief flights in Burma in early 1946 they were used as aircraft loaders of rice sacks and other cargo.] One Japanese officer who sat in the cab with Bill spoke perfect English which he had learnt whilst studying at the Tropical Medicine Hospital in Liverpool before the war. It is understood that Bill was a Flight Sergeant on leaving the RAF.
After returning to the UK Bill became a driver with the London Ambulance Service and lived in Hammersmith until his last few years. He returned to Ireland and lived with one of his elderly sisters.
Bill McDonagh ...........RIP
As advised by Danny Watkins (Bill’s great-nephew)
Owen 'Ollie’ TARRAN Sqn Ldr died on March 20, aged 87.
Ann Bihan kindly sent in this extract from The RAF News dated 24 April 2015:
‘Long and varied career in the RAF from 1945-1976, latterly on 10 Squadron at Brize Norton and 51 Squadron at Wyton. Much loved husband to Gillian, loving Dad to Mel, Mark and Richard, grandfather to Ollie, Zac, Jason, Kerry, Scott and Lee, and great-grandfather to Naomi-May, lost his fight against pancreatic cancer quite suddenly. Loved and missed by his family and friends.
The funeral was held on April 14 at St Giles Church, Standlake, Oxfordshire, where Owen had lived with his family for 49 years. Donations can be made to Pancreatic Cancer UK c/o E. Taylor and Sons Funeral Services, 21 Corbett Road, Carterton, OX18 3LG’.
Ollie was the 10 Sqn VC 10 captain on my very first route experience trip in the RAF, whilst I was awaiting my Britannia course. He was a pleasure to be with and was most instructive to me, a humble Plt Off at the time. RIP Ollie. How can I not forget that trip? – Reason: the Association Secretary was the No1 AQM !
Fred 'Nugget' Worker 5 March 1920 – 11 March 2015
Fg Off, RNZAF (NZ 427824) Halifax Captain 1944/45
passed away at home in North Auckland, New Zealand on 11 March 2015 aged 93yrs, after a short illness. Skipper of Ken Stewart and Fred Tiller's crew they all remained in contact over the years.
Ken Stewart now writes:
A successful breeder of pedigree Jersey and Hereford cattle and sheep breeder from North Auckland, New Zealand, Nugget left home for Canada in 1943, to become a pilot. He trained in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on DH Tiger Moths, Avro Ansons and Airspeed Oxfords, before sailing to England in 1944. We met Nugget at No 10 OTU, Abingdon, Berks and formed a crew of 6, thereafter spending 2 months, from August 1944, flying Vickers Wellington Xs. We moved to No 1659 HCU Topcliffe, N Yorks, in January 1945, when we then met our Flight Engineer for the one month, conversion to Halifax IIIs.
Nugget and his crew, arrived at 10 Squadron, Melbourne, on 1 February 1945, from where they carried out 17 bombing operations over Germany, before the end of the War. He also flew 2 "Cook's Tours", in Halifaxes, over Germany in June 1945 and flew Dakotas, briefly, in July 1945, before being posted back to New Zealand for demobilisation.
On his return to New Zealand, he resumed cattle farming and was still running a herd of cattle, well into his 90s.
He will be sadly missed by all of his family and friends and by me, as we had frequent talks on the telephone, right up until shortly before his death.
A great pilot who really was "The Captain" of the aircraft and a good friend of all of his crew who were:-
Fg Off Fred Wilkinson - RNZAF - Bomb Aimer. Deceased 26 Aug 2003.
FS Ian W. Rowlands - RNZAF - Wireless Operator. Deceased 1950s.
FS Fred Tiller - RAF - Mid-Upper Gunner
Sgt Art Cook - RCAF - Flight Engineer - Deceased 29 Sep 2014.
Fg Off Ken Stewart - RAF - Navigator
FS Bob Woollard - RAF - Rear- Gunner. Deceased. 12 Jan 2000.
Ken Stewart,.........10 Sqn from: 1 February 1945 – 20 July 1946
Jim INWARD 1920 - 2015 Halifax Flt Engineer
sadly passed away on 31 January 2015
Click his name below to read former Chairman, David Mole's article and The Telegraph Obituary
Frank William BOXALL 1803279 Warrant Officer - Halifax & Dakota navigator
died on 26 Jan 2015 at home in Romsey, Hants aged 90.
Born in Weybridge Surrey, 14 June 1924 and served on 10 Sqn in 1944 into early 45 before heading to Burma.
Having been brought up around the early days of motor racing and aviation, at Brooklands it can be no surprise that he joined Hawkers in 1940 building Hurricanes. He was there when the factory was bombed during the Battle of Britain in September 1940.
Despite being in a reserved occupation, he joined the RAF in 1941, and after a Navigator training period in Canada he eventually joined 10 Squadron based at RAF Melbourne, and later flew on Dakotas in Burma. During his time there he was regularly boxing, as a heavy weight, and was runner up in all India, combined services boxing championship in 1946.
Returning to the UK he had a variety of different jobs including fighting as a professional boxer as a Cruiser weight, before eventually returning to Brooklands and Vickers. He remained there as the company and industry evolved into British Aircraft Corporation and British Aerospace. During his time there he worked in the production control and production management field and was involved in the production of a variety of civil and military aircraft including, Viscount, Vanguard, VC10, Valiant, TSR2, BAC111, Concorde, BAe 146, Airbus, Jaguar & Tornado.
In September 1950 he married Rita, moved to Walton-on-Thames with children Amanda and David. He retired 1988 and immediately threw himself into a variety of projects. His greatest desire when he had the time was to track down his old crew members. He was deeply disappointed to find out that by the late 1980s, over 40 years after the war, only 5 of the 7 were still alive, despite all surviving the war. The 5 remaining veterans met regularly until health and age caught up. The sense of comradeship remained undiminished over the years. They were each other’s second family.
At the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in 2012, which meant much to him, he proudly represented his crew as the last remaining member. It was a very emotional day for all his family. A particularly moving moment was when a teenage girl wanted to shake his hand after she, her mother and grandmother realised he was a veteran. He wasn’t even offended when referred to as 'Living history'.
Frank was the last of his crew.
WO A Alcroft 1532089 - Captain / Pilot, Sgt F Boxall 1803279 - Navigator, Sgt E Houldey 1521097 - Air Bomber, Sgt S Mitchell 1867816 - Wireless Operator, Sgt T Douris 1825735 - Mid-Upper Gunner, Sgt F Smith 3010635 -Flight Engineer, Sgt F Johnson 2235509 - Tail Gunner
He said that he’d had a Good Innings, before he passed away a very proud 90, at home with Rita, who had been beside him for over 64 years, on 26 January 2015, the month of the centenary of the formation of 10 Squadron.
Our condolences to wife Rita, Amanda and David.
Lesley E. (Mac) Cunningham 1922 - 2013 WW2 Fg Off, navigator 1943 - 45
Recent news from his son informs us that Les passed away last year on 29 October 2013. Les completed thirty ops on 10 Sqn during WW2, the last of which ended in a crash landing with two crew fatalities.
Born in Glasgow, where he spent most of his working life after demob, he became a Foundry Manager and later Company Director. Married to Jean for 65 years and with whom he had 3 sons and subsequently 6 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. Our belated condolences go to all his family.
Air Engineer sadly passed away on Saturday 8 November 2014
Master Engineer on the VC10 and later simulator instructor, Bill lived in the Highworth area of Wilts. Starting a long flying career in Bomber Command he was also well-known in the Argosy world.
Our condolences go to his wife Jean
The funeral will be held at Swindon Crematorium on Monday 24 November 2014 at 1100 hrs.
Lionel G. 'Squire' Morecombe
10 Sqn Navigator VC10s, sadly passed away on 19 October 2014.
A funeral service was held on Wednesday 5 November at St Mary’s Church in Fairford, Glos.
Our condolences go to his wife Liz and family.
I was just reading through this Obituaries page of our Website and I came across the death of Squire Morecombe, which was a sad moment for me.
I joined '10' in Jan 1967. At the ATS (pre OCU days) we, on No 3 course, were told that we were to become 'crewed-up'. People scurried about recruiting those they knew to be members of their crew. There were a few of us left over who didn't really know anyone and we sort drifted into a crew: Sqn Ldr Stan Horrocks (Capt), Flt Lt Fred Wall (Co-Pilot), Flt Lt Squire Morecombe (Nav), M Eng Joe Major (Air Eng), F. Sgt(W) Sylvia Ingold and me, Sgt. John Simlett: who were the Air Quarter Masters (yet to be re-branded Air Load Masters); and a very good and happy fit was made, albeit such a random event. We flew together for three years before I was posted back to 216 Sqn. John Simlett 2015
Now, with Squire cutting the 'Earthly Bonds,' I guess that leaves me as the lone survivor. A sad day.
Geoffrey Stuart Taylor Associate member and brother of 1388419 W.O Denis Taylor, Navigator & PoW
We have just heard that Geoffrey sadly passed away on 18 February 2014
More details to follow, as and when known.
Gareth (Wally) Walters 10 Sqn, 241 OCU and 101 Sqn : VC10 Flt Eng
Roy Mcmullan advises us that:
……..Wally joined the RAF as an apprentice engine fitter exact date unknown. I first met Wally at Topcliffe, during flight engineer training in the early 1970s, on 42 or 44 Cse. He passed out of Topcliffe top of his course and went directly to 10 Sqn, being the first trainee flt eng to do so. On 10 Sqn he soon excelled as a flight engineer and became a holder of the coveted 'A' Operational Category. Moving on Wally joined 241 OCU and soon became an excellent instructor, being held in high regard for his knowledge and wit by all who passed through the OCU.
Always up for a new challenge Wally then moved to 101 Sqn and the tanker world.
I left the RAF in 1984 and my next meeting was when Wally joined Cathay Pacific in the early 1990s on Tristars. He soon became a valued member of that fleet through study, hard work and professionalism. When the Tristar was retired he moved to the 747 repeating the work he did on the Tristar. I retired in 2004 leaving Wally still working with Cathay but he retired soon after on medical grounds.
Wally was aged 65 yrs when he died on 26 July 2014 and was buried on 8 August after a service at St Nicholas Church, North Lopham, Diss, Norfolk.
It was a wonderful service, and very fitting for Wally. A good dose of humour was mixed into the readings by four of Wally’s best friends, Chris Gregory, John Murrell, Mike Kent and Jim Upritchard. The applause was well earned. The rain held off until we reached the pub where we all had a chance to chat with his wife Elaine, and sons Rhys and Gwyn. RIP Wally.
.......... Although not an Association member, Wally was known to many of us who served on the VC10 and who will echo the sentiments of Roy’s narrative.
Our condolences go to Elaine, Rhys, Gwyn and all the family.
Tom F.B. Finnie Association Member and WW2 Wireless Operator
Tom joined the RAF as aircrew in 1943 with another WOP, John McCubbin. However it was not until Tom joined 10 Squadron on Dakotas, immediately after D-Day, that he was re-united with John when they both served together on the Squadron in India and Burma, until Tom's demob in 1947. They remained lifetime friends until Tom sadly passed away on 21 July 2014 and was cremated in Edinburgh on 26 July. Our thanks to John for advising us of Tom’s passing.
Our condolences go to Tom’s wife Ellen, and son Bruce at their home in, Peebles, Scotland.
Mike Cawsey Sqn Ldr - Queens Commendation
216 Sqn Comets prior to 1966, then VC10 Flt Eng & later Simulator Instructor, and Group Examiner
Sadly died after a long illness on the 23 April 2014 at 0216hrs.
Funeral to be held at Kingsway Crematorium, Swindon 10.00 a.m. Thursday 8 May,
followed by a Memorial Service at St Laurence Church, Lechlade 11.30 a.m.
More details, when known.
John 'George' Revell 1922 - 2014 died peacefully in Send, Woking on 2 April 2014.
John 'George' Revell joined the RAF in 1941 and, after what was already a distinguished career, was involved with the introduction of the VC10 into RAF Service. He was there to observe the first teething troubles, from the engineering point of view, that always appear when a new, complex, aircraft starts to accumulate flying hours. In 2003 he decided to write of his experiences of introducing the VC10 into RAF service.. For more about John's interesting career, see http://www.vc10.net/Memories/Revell_introducing.html
Greatly respected in the Send-Woking-Guildford community, for his many years of voluntary, charitable work, he wil be sadly missed by his many local friends.
Sqn Ldr Brian W. Jopling QGM 1951 - March 2014
Brian's funeral was held at 1200hrs on Wednesday 2 April 2014 at St John's Church, Carterton, Oxfordshire. Donations to Cancer Research would be greatly appreciated.
Starting his flying career on Puma helicopters, Brian was on the detachment to Rhodesia / Zimbabwe as part of the monitoring force in 1979/80. He then flew on 18 Squadron Chinooks during the Falklands Conflict and joined 10 Squadron as a Master ALM in the late 1980s. Brian was later commissioned and served on 216 Squadron's Tristars before subsequently returning to the VC10. His final RAF days were on the VC10 Staneval team. He was awarded the Queens Gallantry Medal in 1982, whilst serving on 18 Squadron during the Falklands War: (see below .......)
18 Squadron was embarked on the SS Atlantic Conveyor for duties in the South Atlantic. Hit by an Exocet missile, the ship was lost but one of the four Chinooks survived (ZA718/BN) and performed sterling work in the land battles that followed, carrying 1,500 troops, 600 tons of equipment and 650 prisoners of war in 150 sorties.
On 25 May 1982 Brian Jopling, then a flight sergeant, was on board the SS Atlantic Conveyor in the South Atlantic as part of the 18 Squadron deployment in support of Operation Corporate. During the late afternoon, the ship was attacked and hit by an Exocet missile. FS Jopling was manning an air defence machine gun position on the bridge during the attack. The missile started a fire on the ship which rapidly spread out of control and the decision was taken to abandon the stricken vessel. FS Jopling was among the last to leave the bridge and, as he descended towards the main deck, he was enveloped by thick black smoke. He rapidly donned his respirator and led several people onwards in a human chain but, realising that it would be impossible for the others to survive without respirators, he had to retreat. He eventually found an alternative path within the ship and led his party of survivors to the main deck where they climbed over the side and entered the water prior to boarding a liferaft. The liferaft Flight Sergeant Jopling selected was one of the few remaining and was overcrowded; he, together with several others, was unable to board it. The sea was very cold and night had fallen, adding to the difficulties. The liferaft was still attached to the ship and was being buffeted against the ship's side as the ship rolled. Realising the danger this represented to the liferaft and its occupants, Flight Sergeant Jopling made his way around the liferaft and, despite being struck several times by the ship, eventually managed to sever the lines holding the liferaft to the blazing hulk. As the occupants of the liferaft became more organised, other survivors were gradually brought on board. FS Jopling appreciated that as he was wearing aircrew survival equipment, he was better placed than other survivors in the water. He therefore elected to remain in the sea, encouraging and helping men to hold onto the liferaft. Only when he had ensured that there were no more survivors in the water, did he allow himself to be dragged, exhausted, aboard. He was in the water for between one and two hours in extremely hazardous conditions. Flight Sergeant Jopling acted in the finest traditions of the Royal Air Force and his selfless conduct undoubtedly saved many lives.
Brian was a committed family man and will be sadly missed. Our condolences naturally go to all his family and friends.
Leo Groark Halifax Engine Fitter - Melbourne 1943
Funeral: Thursday 30 January 2014 at 11.40 hrs
At: Saint Cuthberts Church, Seaham, Co Durham.
After a long illness, Leo Groark passed away on 22 Jan 2014. Condolences go to his wife Patsy, son Michael and family.
In joining the Association over 25 years ago, Leo renewed a meaningful friendship with Tom Thackray. Leo was the engine fitter assigned to Tom`s Halifax throughout his tour in 1943 at Melbourne; Tom being the Flight Engineer.
1943 - Leo Groark - 3rd from left
John Greedy 10 Sqn ALM passed away in the Churchill Hospital Oxford – 1 Dec 13.
It is regretted that no further details are known yet.
F.D. (Don) Williams Chief Technician, RAF Service 1943- 1969
10 Sqn and later Victors, Vulcans and Nimrods.- author of “Three Greens” book of his life-story
Died 18 November 2013 aged 86 in Australia.
William Ewart Bradley Jul 1925 – Oct 2013 – Association Member since 1990
LAC Instrument fitter – Ground Crew on 10 Sqn Oct 1944 – Dec 1946 serving at Melbourne, Poona and on the Burma detachment.
William joined the RAF, aged 18½, in 1943 and worked on both 10 Sqn’s Halifax and Dakota aircraft: a time that he remembered fondly and the friends he made.
Living in Durham City for most of his life, when he left the RAF he returned to his position in the Science labs at Durham University and then became a Scientific Instrument Maker with The National Coal Board where he remained until he took early retirement at the age of 61. Taking 2 years off, he then bought a public house in Howden-Le-Wear in County Durham, which he ran until he was 77.
After then retiring again he enjoyed travelling and spending time with his family. Sadly in October 2010, he suffered a stroke and lived in a nursing home until passing away, aged 85, on 24 October 2013. R.I.P. Our condolences and thanks for this information to his daughter Fiona.
Charles Douglas Brignell 1924 -2013 Wireless Operator Halifax & Dakotas
Charles was born in Doncaster on the 13 July 1924. Having served in WW2 bombing operations on 158 Sqn Halifaxes before joining 10 Sqn in May 1945, Charles was a Wireless Operator on Dakotas in India and Burma until October 1946. After leaving the RAF as a Warrant Officer he became a quantity surveyor, living in Ruislip, Middx. He leaves a widow Eunice, son Douglas, two grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. His cremation was on 8 October 2013.
Ken Gorham VC10 Master Airloadmaster and later in 10 Sqn Ops, Ken sadly passed away in
the Eastbourne area, on Sunday 22 September after a long illness.
Who can forget, in the wee small hours on a long night-flight, his renditions of the Great Western Railway steam locos struggling up Dauntsey Bank near Lyemham? Ken was one of the 'characters' much loved by us all. R.I.P.
Peter F.J. Paxton Sadly passed away, quietly in his sleep at home, on 3 June 2013.
Born 21 June 1924 in Fulham, and initially trained for pilot duties during WW2, Peter was re-allocated to be an Air Gunner serving on 10 Squadron’s Halifax aircraft at RAF Melbourne. He flew 19 sorties on operations, including being shot down and escaping back to the UK. After a 6 month break after the war he rejoined the RAF and served on No 35 OP/TRG Squadron flying in Tiger Moths, Whitleys, Halifax 2s, Lancasters, Lincoln's, Washingtons, Oxfords, Ansons & Vampires, during experimental work directed by Barnes Wallace. He later served in Germany and Singapore, before spending his last years as SWO at RAF Waddington. He retired in 1979.
Born May 1921, Len was brought up in the Brownroyd district of Bradford, where he attended St. William’s School until the age of 14. He worked in the textile industry as a ‘pin setter’ before joining the RAF and eventually Melbourne, where he worked alongside Ken Brayshaw, Bob Hunter and Dave Spray. In 1944 he married Irene Ashley in a double wedding with her sister Mary to a John Smith. Len’s son John was born in 1945 whilst Len was overseas in India and it was a only a year later that he first saw his new son, who later was to become an RAF flight Lieutenant and QFI (Quafified Flying Instructor), making Len a proud man. Sadly in 1971 John’s wife Sarah, whom he had married in 1968 was widowed after he was tragically killed in a Hunter flying accident in Wales, when based at RAF Valley. Leonard, although greatly saddened by this, was a great support to his family in their time of need and took great comfort from the birth of his granddaughter Joanne later that year. At the end of the war Leonard returned to textiles, but he and Irene also took on the Leventhorpe Inn, Thornton. In 1951 his daughter Maureen was born and two years later the family moved out of the pub into a house in Bimbrook Street, Bradford. Leonard retired at the age of 65, but was asked to go back for another 5 years as his skills by then were hard to come by. Leonard and Irene were a very devoted couple and they had 67 years of happy marriage. Irene passed away in July 2011 and Len died in April 2013 aged 91 ys.
Our thanks to Sarah Curtis (nee Duckworth) for sending us the above information.
Ronald Webster of Ashby de la Zouch, passed away peacefully on 6 January 2013 aged 89.
He joined the RAF in 1942 and served with 10 Sqn at RAF Melbourne as a Wireless/Radar Mechanic from May 1943 - August 1944. He was then attached to 312 MSSU in Burma and India until December 1945. Following postings to Wymeswold and Hendon he was demobbed from West Kirby on 22 January 1947. - Michael Webster (son) Our condolences to all Ronald's family,
John Grayshan Ex- Halifax crew member, from Littleborough, Lancs,
died 2012 - No further details known.
Raymond Charles Stokes 25 Sep 2012, aged 88, died peacefully in hospital in Leicester.
Sgt Ray Stokes served on 10 Sqn as a Flight Engineer from 27 Oct 1944 to 21 Feb 1945.
and was promoted to Flight Sergeant whilst a Prisoner of War.
Our condolences to his widow Jill. May he rest in peace
Alexander Chadwick 5 Sep 2012 WW2 Wireless Operator
Funeral was in Nantwich, Ches. No further details.
Les Duncan 22 July 2012 Husband to Iris for 68 years. Halifax mid-upper gunner.
10 Sqn RAF Melbourne Aug 1943 - Jun 1944 as a FS and Jan - Mar 1945 as a Plt Off
Peter Frewer In an accident at home 16 May 2012
Ron Stubbs Sqn Ldr (pilot) , RAF (ret'd), late of 10 Sqn, and also 99 Sqn, 29 January 2012 in Southampton.
Mr Reg 'Dolly' M. Gray
January 2012 (Halifax)
Mr J. R. Abbott
January 2012 (Halifax)
Brian Proctor Master Airloadmaster, of 10 Sqn & AT Ops,
sadly died of cancer in Swindon during November 2011
Gordon Webster McCash Neill WW2 Flt Lt pilot with the DSO, Croix de Guerre (French) with
Silver Gilt Star, and the Croix de Guerre (French) with Silver Star.
10 Sqn from 14 June 1944 - 1 Feb 1945 - died 11 March 2011
Admired and well-liked throughout the Transport Force,