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 and hope to be able to add more details regarding the funeral arrangements when known.
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
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.
More details will follow when known.
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 at this time.
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 and despite the valiant efforts of his son, never regained consciousness.
The funeral was held on Monday 26 November 2018 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)
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.