Obituaries, Deaths and Funerals
Yesterday at Agecroft Cemetery, Manchester, the RAFP and RAFPA
paid their respects to Fg.Off. Walter Bentley who had passed away at the age of
97. He had no living relatives so the call went out from a forces charity to ask
for people to attend his funeral.
Walter was a qualified ‘heavy’ pilot and usually drove
Stirlings all over Europe in 1944 & 1945, at the age of 23 he had amassed
over 1,000 flying hours.
The turnout was huge, many serving and ex forces attending. His guard of honour into the chapel was formed by the ATC and reserve officers. I did not count the standards, but there was at least 12, amongst them was the standard of the NW Branch of the RAFPA carried by Geoff Durston.
A photograph is attached showing from left to right...Brian Burgess, Fg.Off. Chris Halliwell, Geoff Durston, Cpl Adrian Bradshaw, John Evans & Dave Allman. The 2 serving ‘Snowdrops’ were based at RAF Cosford.
From the Clark family - It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our husband and Dad Brian Clark. He passed away suddenly on Thursday 22nd November 2018. Funeral details will follow. Please contact Brian's son Kevin via PM Clarky J Kev if you wish further details. Nicola Gemmell, Fiona Clark, May Clark.
Funeral of Bob Easson
The following N.E. Branch Members gave Bob a good send
Left to right. Mick Soulsby, Ed Snailum, Alex Flavell, Alan Weeks, Sydney Graham from RAFA, Roger Bishop Standard Bearer, Rowley Coultas, and Keith Laws Forces Veterans Association from Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.
Donald Charles Burrell passed away on the 29 October 2018. Donald, who was 82, was suffering from dementia at the time of his death but was very proud to have served in the RAF Police as a Cpl in the late 50’s early 60’s. He underwent basic training at RAF Hartlebury and, among other stations served at Watton and Duxford. My condolences go out to his family for their loss and may Donald rest in peace.
I have just heard that former snowdrop Alan Shaw who was also a trustee with the RAFPA passed away last night after suffering a heart attack. My condolences go out to his wife Cynthia and family and may Alan rest in peace.
The Funeral for Alan Shaw will be held at 1230hrs on Thursday 27th September at
Breakspear Crematorium, Breakspear Road, Ruislip, HA4 7SJ.
There is ample car parking at the Crematorium; however, Bus service 331 from Ruislip Metropolitan Line Station also stops outside.
The family welcome all who wish to attend.
Sad to report that my Mother, formerly Sgt Nancy Stacey WAAF Police (1942-47) passed away this week. At 96 she kept all her memories and, like the majority of her generation, her 5 years Service stayed with her throughout her years. She, together with my Dad, Geoff Miller, were founder members of RAFA Branch in Wimborne, where she proudly became their President. I was very proud to follow her into the Trade and Branch where I served for 37 years.
Have just had a phone call to inform me that sadly former RAFP Dog Handler Alan Perrin has died. Alan and I shared a room together in Aden in 1966. At present I have no further details. RIP
It is with great sadness that I have to announce the death of former FS Frank Authers BEM at 8pm yesterday. Frank was 98 years old and joined the RAF in August 1938. He served as a butcher and an aircraft fitter during the war and remustered to the RAF Police after the war.
The hardest thing about summarising Frank's full life and times in the RAF, is what to leave out.
He joined the RAF in 1938 at West Drayton, completed 3 months Basic training at Cardington, his dislike of too much exercise was shown early, by hiding in long grass at Cardington with a friend before returning from a run exhausted.
Posted to Warmwell on general duties his butchery background caught up with him.
He volunteered for flying duties and enjoyed flights as a drogue operator but was found to be colour blind which ruled out flying and probably saved his life. He was sent to a Cooks course at Halton and posted to Benson as the first party of airmen when it opened in March 1939.
Sunday 3rd September 1939 he heard the Prime Minister broadcast that war was declared, Frank took his Norton motorbike for ''a nice long ride over the Berkshire Downs''.
A week later the unit moved to France, Frank and his 103 Squadron mates, ill equipped were living in barns east of Rheims enduring a very bitter winter. Following the German onslaught of May 10th 1940, they lost aircraft and suffered air raids, on 21st the Squadron moved west, building up to 31 aircraft. There remained only 16 and only 8 returned to England. The ground crews eventually hearing that the evacuation from Dunkirk had been completed on 4th June. At Nantes they were split into two groups, one going to the ill fated Lancastria at St Nazaire, sunk with the loss of several thousand lives. Frank's group came home to Plymouth 19th June from Brest on a Great Western ferry ship, his main concern that his Mother had no idea if he had survived. Following three days leave he was posted to St Eval.
Frank had almost total recall of life's events, but told me that much of his St Eval time was lost to him, he recalled important bits like his 1935 Ivory Calthorpe, as Cpl i/c night shift he had to collect dispersed people he remembered a WAAF asking him to kiss her awake and getting outside as soon as he could. There were many air raids, leaving for Newquay before one raid a driver told him to change vehicles, both vehicles were hit, Frank did not hear the explosion but his tin hat was blown off, his driver was the only other survivor but badly injured, Frank carried him to safety.
Posted overseas, Frank sailed on a former liner Franconia from Liverpool. The convoy took three months, via Sierra Leone, around the Cape to Durban where he enjoyed two weeks, sailed to Aden where they lay for two weeks, before travelling to Suez.
Frank joined 980 Squadron, a Barrage Balloon Unit, initially guarding the Suez Canal, the main threat was air dropped mines. After some high jinks in Cairo the desert campaign followed. In hospital in Alexandria for a minor ear operation Frank helped medical staff, the Medical officer tried to hang on to him with the excuse he was a bit jaundiced but Frank knew 908 were moving, persuaded him to sign and he was off.
Their small convoy followed the Eighth Army into Libya, (the Western Desert) past El Alamein to Tobruk where Frank's Detachment spent some time, he had to fetch provisions from the Army. From the many shipwrecks they found crates of Whisky and Gin. Frank got very drunk on Gin, was ill, apart from the occasional social drink he hardly touched a drop for the rest of his life. With some spare bottles of Whisky Frank acquired a German Army BMW motorbike and sidecar, using it to fetch rations until Headquarters took it from him, his book abounds with such stories. The Foreword notes - '''A small and begrudged mention to Adolf Hitler, without his intervention in my life you would be reading half a book.''
He was promoted to Sgt Christmas 1942. Frank and his driver Nobby Clarke painted their Chevrolet truck '' Old Kent Road'' with a towed water bowser moved up the desert to rejoin the Squadron in Benghazi and then on to Tripoli sleeping on their vehicle and fetching rations and supplies to keep their Unit moving to Tunis. Having no idea of the destination, their vehicle was the last loaded on a Landing Ship Tank (LST), they lay at anchor for two days, able to swim from the lowered ramp.
The invasion of Sicily was not best organised, Frank and party were unloaded in Palermo harbour, chased from pillar to post by various U S Officers until settling in a lemon grove, well fed from some purloined American rations, until the remainder of the Unit caught up. The Italians surrendered they were loaded on another LST and landed at Salerno, moving to Naples to protect the harbour.
Naples was notorious for vice and criminal activity. With an Italian girl friend he found how the chaperone system worked and like many avoided an Italian bride. He spent some time with Military Police, ideal for his future RAF Trade.
The CO wanted a Jeep, which were in abundance around US units, Frank rather fancied one himself, but had to wait several years. He was sent to Anzio on a landing craft with Squadron supplies, ordered to go ashore find a Jeep and load it for the return voyage, this he did and found another for himself but the Greek Captain claimed as his own- the spoils of war.
Frank was then posted to 249 a Spitfire squadron at Brindisi living under canvas during a cold winter, the Squadron strafing Germans in Jugoslavia. A local village reared Turkeys, Frank organised a barter with 21 Turkeys, fattened them and at Christmas gave the Squadron a Traditional Dinner. With many areas cleared of German occupation the RAF gave several Tiger Moth trainers to the Jugoslavians, Frank enjoyed flying on some of these ferry flights. The squadron had moved to Jugoslavia by VE Day, after which Tito were ordered them out of the country, Frank never had any time for Tito. By September 1945 Frank had a flight home, the only seat on his Lancaster was the rear turret.
He got back in touch and married Sybil his pre war girl friend. While at Hullavington Frank remustered to the RAF Police, based at Filton and enjoying an interesting time seeking out the many Absentees and Deserters within the area. He would also escort Lancaster fuselages on Queen Mary trailers to a Suffolk base, having a bargy with a Colonel Blimp when the convoy disrupted the Racecourse traffic. Spent time on Imber ranges supervising and collecting missile parts, the while enjoying some good rabbiting.
In 1951 he was posted to Germany working on Traffic section, particularly enjoying the use of specially built Ford V8 cars, to escort diplomatic and Service Chiefs in their Rolls Royce cars. The lead Ford broke down one day, allowing the Duke of Edinburgh to put his foot down in a new Mercedes and Frank doing his best to catch him.
Briefly at West Prawl radar station, he was promoted to Flt Sgt and posted to Colerne near Bath for a year before posting to Luqa, Malta. managing a few flights with the Shackleton squadron .
In 1959 he was posted to Abingdon and bought a nearby bungalow., I always had the opinion that it was Frank's favourite station. On the troopship en route Aden he heard he was awarded BEM. Not long afterwards security became a problem on Bahrein. Frank was sent to set up a new security section where he had a married quarter and where the family could enjoy leaves in Mombasa.
He had a short spell at Melksham until it closed and was then posted to the sharp end, on a V Bomber Station Scampton. He considered this the only unhappy time of his whole service life, only enjoying the rare armed escort of a Blue Steel Missile back to the Manufacturers in Manchester.
In July 1966 Frank was posted unaccompanied to RAF Seletar on Singapore island, being on shift he had enough spare time to start playing Golf and regular swimming. Via a friend he had a trip in a Beverley to Hong KONG and Bangkok.
Offered a chance he completed his tour on the island Station Gan. The Pakistani labour force were rotated via Argosy flights to Karachi, Frank responsible for Customs would some time take this flight, often delayed in Karachi, by dint of a gift bottle of Whisky to the Chief Customs officer the RAF were given priority.
The RAF Navigation Staff world tour flew via Gan. Everything possible was done to disguise Gan as their next stop Cocos Islands 1800 miles away, equipment hidden Air Traffic emblazoned WELCOME TO COCOS ISLANDS, marshalling airmen blacked up and wearing grass skirts often easy to confuse a Navigator, but this was a laugh..
Frank finished his service at RAF Spitalgate, the WRAF training depot, serving on Special Investigation 3 RAF District. some very interesting work but he took his Golden Bowler in 1968.
In the words of the late Brian Ransley's Foreword ''Three decades of fun and frights came to an end''
A fine man who I feel privileged to have known.
John's tribute at the funeral:
My name is John Walton and I was in the RAF Police from 1959 and so I served at the same time as Frank for some nine years, as he retired in 1968. During those 9 years I never met Frank, although I did hear hear of him during his last years as an RAF Police Senior NCO, and what stories I heard!!!.
started to organise the South West Area Branch of the RAF Police Association in
1998, so it was 30 years after Frank left the service that I first met
him. The inaugural meeting of the Branch
took place upstairs in the RAF Association Club in
and a few other old servicemen immediately settled into the Branch
routine. Our meetings in
Branch organised the Association annual reunion in 2002, at the
Frank twice arranged for the Branch to visit the Commando training camp opposite his house. After an impressive parade, Frank invited us over the road for a BBQ and a swim in his pool. We were without exception fascinated with all the various vehicles that Frank had made. From AA motor cycles and sidecars to full and small sized RAF Police Land Rovers. Everything was made to perfection and with great attention to detail.
Frank made a life sized figure dressed as an RAF Police Flight Sergeant in full uniform. He used to put it near the main road indicating where to turn into his estate. At the end of one of the visits, I went out and put the figure over my shoulder and carried it back into Frank’s garage. Frank took one look at me and called “well theres’ a first! For those not aware there is a so-called understanding that Senior NCOs like Frank always carried the officers throughout their service. Here was I retired officer carrying the Flight Sergeant. Of course Frank’s comment went down very well with the crowd still around the BBQ.
A third event showing Frank’s quick wit, happened when Frank made me and another visiter, bacon sarnies in his kitchen. I asked for tomato sauce and when Frank handed me the bottle, I shook it violently, but forgot to hold on to the top. It flew off and the contents went all over the kitchen and all over my sweater!!! Frank immediately said “I don’t suppose you had bottles in the Officers Mess!!”
On a more serious note, when the RAF Police Memorial was dedicated in the National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire, Frank was in the front row marching with other World War 2 veterans.
more impressive was Frank taking a full part in the annual parade at the
Cenotaph. Frank was well into his 80s,
when along with the other 10,000 ex-servicemen, he waited on Horse Guards
spent 30 years in the RAF and some 50 years in retirement so in his words, he
beat the system. In retirement he was
probably more active than during the peacetime RAF Police. He was an entrepenure involving himself and
son John in many enterprises, most of which were highly successful. One of these was at
I doubt if any of us know anyone else who lived such a long, full and varied life as Frank.
One of his many admirers is Group Captain Kevin Bailey, Provost Marshal Emeritus. This is praise indeed as our RAF Provost marshals are not known for their generous praise!!I know I speak for all here when I say Frank in one way or another enlivened our lives and we will miss him. Frank I hope you are in that great Guardroom in the sky with a polished RAF Police Land Rover outside. Thank you for sharing your long life with us and we all wish you the very best, wherever you are.
Just received a message from John Strange: From John McNeil's daughter;
To all my dads close friends and
family it is with great sadness and heartbreaking news that he passed away on
Thursday 30th Aug.
The family are deeply devastated and we appreciate the kind words and wishes from everyone. RIP Dad I love you to the moon and back xxxxxxxx
I have recently heard that Chris Parker (retired W/O CI) died a few days ago. He had a heart attack in St Ives, where he lived with his wife Jane, he died 4 days later and his funeral took place yesterday.
I worked with Jane in Vetting Wing in the mid 80s and some may remember Chris as a Flt Sgt in Survey Sqn, HQ RAF P&SS, at that time.
I’m sad to report that my old friend Dennis Harley passed away on the 23rd of
August. Dennis had been in failing health for a number of years but he had
deteriorated in the last several months. Dennis’s funeral service will be at 2pm
on the 4th September at South Shields Crematorium. Dennis and I served together
in Germany in the 70s and we remained firm friends. A good man in so many ways,
he will be sorely missed by his family and many friends.
It is with great sadness that Jon Willoughby-Otter passed away 01 Aug 18.
His funeral will be held in Rotherham crematorium, Ridgeway, East Herringthorpe on 20 Aug 18 at 1030.
The family is asking all who attend wear red and white.
Any serving members can wear uniform
Paul Howsham sadly passed away on Sunday 5th August. As it stands there
is a church service at St Paul’s Church in Ashby on the 29/08/18 at 1315,
followed by a burial at Woodlands Crematorium and Cemetery.
I saw Jill Boss in Grantham this morning having not seen her or Dale for a number of years. I am not sure whether any of you were aware but it was sad to hear that Dale (WO Rtd) died form a heart attack 13 January 2011 in Glenfield Hospital Leicester. I have seen nothing on any of the RAFP Groups regarding his death. He was a true gentleman. RIP Dale Boss.
DEATH OF CYRIL HALES
It is with personal sadness that I must inform you of the death of Cyril Hales, a member of the Wiltshire Branch of the RAFPA. Cyril had major surgery several years ago, after being diagnosed with stomach cancer, but this year the cancer returned and was inoperable. He was 64 years of age.
Cyril joined the RAF in 1976 and he was serving as a Sgt SI, P&SS (Southern Region) at RAF Rudloe Manor, when, in 1989, he left to join Avon and Somerset Police. Cyril loved motorcycling and, after retirement from the Police, he became a volunteer 'Blood Biker', delivering emergency blood products, medicines and organs for donation, across the country.
There will be no funeral service, at Cyril's request, but his widow, Jane, hopes to arrange a get together later in the year, in his memory.
Saddened to report that Jonathan Willoughby died this morning (1/8/18) aged 45.
I have just had a very sad call from
Cathrine, Ivor Montell passed away this morning after spending two weeks in
Plymouth Hospital. He was 82. Ivor left Rudloe Manor as a Flight Sergeant 25
The picture was the last time we met for lunch. I joked with him about having completed computer security training he now had difficulty with an iPhone.
Will post details of his funeral when Cathrine has made arrangements.
I’ve just been informed that Ivor Montell‘s funeral is at Efford Crematorium in Plymouth next Tuesday 14 August at 12:15. Cemetery postcode is PL3 6NG.
We have become aware that former RAF Police NCO Alec George Baker, who served between 1952 and 1957, passed away on the 24 July 2018. Our condolences go out to the family for their loss and may Alec rest in peace.
Death of Leon (Leo) Victor Palmer... We have been advised that former RAF Police
NCO Leo Palmer died on Friday 7 June 2018. Leo’s funeral was held at the West
Suffolk Crematorium Bury St. Edmunds on Friday 6 July 2018.
Leo served in the RAF Police from 1953 to 1978 at numerous units. Our condolences go out to his family and may Leo rest in peace.
27/7/18from Nick Smith on Facebook
From Ken Needham on Facebook
I woke up this morning to a message from Brenda Walsh, saying that our old friend, from our Ceylon Days, Pat Walsh passed away yesterday evening.
Photo - Pat Walsh in Ceylon.
from Chris Neville on Facebook
I have just been informed by his father that Jon Hickson passed away this Friday 13th after a long 5 year battle with cancer.
Just to let those people on here that knew Jon Hickson's his funeral is an open service and his father has stated:
‘indeed, we shall be delighted for any of Jon's former RAF friends to attend and support us’.
The funeral is on the 3rd August at St. Denys Church, Ibstock, Leicestershire at 09:45hrs.
From Nicholas Ligertwood....Please could you include Mark Travis ex RAFP. Died 10 June 2018, Uedum, Germany
Death of David Giddings
I have received information that former RAFP David Giddings passed away on 17 June 2018.
David was an active member of the RAFP Association and was a former Secretary of the the Essex & Suffolk Branch. He was a stalwart supporter of the annual Cenotaph parade until ill-health forced him to slow down.
David's funeral is being held at Weeley Crematorium near Clacton on 9 July at 10h15.
Reported by Martin Uden on Facebook
Not so long ago l mentioned that Peter Haslam, a former RAF Police dog handler and Met Police Officer, was seriously ill. I have just been informed that Pete died last week. His funeral is this Saturday 0900 St Peters church Westcliff. 1100 Service of Thanks Giving, St Margarets Church, St Margarets Bay, Dover. Leaves wife Margaret. Was secretary of Dover Probus for many years. I will be attending. RIP old friend.
My Grandfather, RAF Police Sgt Ernest (aka Ernie) Sharman passed away on Monday.
After joining in 1953 he served in Northen Ireland in the mid 50s.
He served at RAF Cottesmore in early 1960s before posting to Rheidhalen until 1968.
He also served at RAF Wittering in the early 70s
Other Non UK postings were RAF Episkopi and Troodos in the late 50s.
It's a long shot but we just wanted to inform any friends or relatives of former colleagues at RAF Cottesmore of his passing.
The funeral (date tbc) will be held at Cottesmore church.
I crewed and partnered with ERNIE at Cottesmore in the 60s . QRA, SSA, Airfield,