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.
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. Graham 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.
As an Air Cadet during WW2 John Potter had a ringside seat for the Battle of Britain and everything that followed. He had a vast array of war stories to tell including dragging a young Polish Sgt pilot out of the rather bent remains of a Hurricane that had dropped short of Tangmere. His RAF service was as a Fitter in the immediate post war period, mostly on coastal Beaufighters at Thorney Island and St Eval. Although sorely tempted to stay on in the Service after doing his time, John was obligated to return in order to help run the family business which involved logging in the East Dean & Singleton woods, long distance haulage and general engineering work buying & selling WD surplus heavy trucks etc - plus the odd tank landing craft! Interestingly, John did quite a lot of work for a Doug Arnold who was one of the first people - if not THE first - to recognise the potential value of restored Spitfires etc.Their storage needs were met by renting the disused railway tunnel at Singleton, hence the Hastings wings which it is believed to have come from a scrap machine that forlornly sat at Tangmere for a number of years. Someone, somewhere connected with YAM heard about those wings and John agreed to sell them for the same amount he had originally paid, without taking inflation into account. In turn, this saw him invited to YAM and in due course honorary membership of the 10 Sqn Assoc. The death of his wife around 2007/8 this rather curtailed his travelling thereafter.
Over the years, a publication entitled 'has recorded most airframes that have ended up abandoned on airfields or displayed in museums. This book records that Hastings, TG603 was written off at Luqa, Malta circa 1953 when it veered off the runway. It was later shipped back to the UK to become an Army instructional airframe and presumably was moved to Tangmere in the Army 22 Air Dispatch Sqn move to there. Clearly, the wing sections that John sold to YAM must have come from one of both of these aircraft.