Obituaries, Deaths and Funerals
Very sad News today (30 July) an old pal has passed away. Former RAF Police QPD and West Midlands Dog Man William (Billy) Jessiman. RIP me old mucker.
I have just been informed that former snowdrop Stan Baker passed away on 5 Jul 2019. Stan was also a member of the RAFPA Norfolk Branch. His funeral will take place on 26 Jul 2019 at 11h30 at Thetford Church. I extend my condolences to the family for their loss and may Stan Rest in Peace.
Just heard that 2 former snowdrops passed away: Tony Pell (81), who served between 1958 - 61, passed away on 9 Jan 2019, and Sydney Scattergood (84) who served between 1953 - 58, passed away on 24 Jun 2019. My condolences go out to their surviving families and may they both rest in peace.
From Paul Donovan
Sad news. I was informed by his daughter Jean on Wednesday evening that Allan Rogers, a RAF Police Association NW Branch member, sadly passed away on 24th June.
Unfortunately, due to the late notice, the Branch were not able to arrange attendance at his funeral in Bangor, North Wales which took place today.
I have just been informed that a Roy Bateson Ex RAFP was cremated on Thursday at Grantham Crematorium.
This is the saddest day of my life as today my Lovely Lady Carole passed away peacefully with her family beside her after I brought her home from the hospital on Saturday. She fought to overcome her illness but it was too much for her this time. She will be remembered for her bravery and overcoming so many health issues. My heart is broken but I will cherish her memory and I know she will be waiting for me at the gates of Heaven. Fly with the angels my darling.
Dad's funeral will be at Grantham Crematorium on Monday 10 June at 13:30. No obligation to wear black. It is family flowers only with donations being accepted via the Robert Holland Funeral Directors to be split between St Barnabas Hospice and the RAF Benevolent Fund.
On both trips to the funeral directors we have coincidentally followed an RAFP vehicle moving between RAF College Cranwell and Flight Training School at RAF Barkston Heath.
We would once again like to send our sincere
thanks to Dad's RAFP family for their kind wishes which have brought Mum, my
sister and I comfort at this difficult time.
10 NoveKind regards Melissa (and Pat and Chrissie)
Former Snowdrop Dennis (Danny) Moss MBE (16 August 1927 – 28 May 2008) was a British jazz tenor saxophonist. He was known for playing with most of the high-profile figures of British jazz, including Vic Lewis, Ted Heath, Johnny Dankworth, Alex Welsh, and Humphrey Lyttelton.
The son of a toolmaker, Moss was born in Redhill, Surrey in 1927. At the age of thirteen, he saw a jazz band appear briefly in a Bowery Boys film on a family cinema visit, and was so inspired by the clarinet playing that he swapped his most valued possession, his ice skates, for a second-hand instrument of his own. He was self-taught on both this and the tenor saxophone, which he took up at school.
A spell of National Service as an RAF Policeman, at the age of eighteen saw Moss performing for three years in a Royal Air Force regional band at RAF Staverton. After leaving the forces he joined the Vic Lewis Orchestra, and in the next few years moved around various bands, especially ones with the potential for a soloist. In 1952, he joined Ted Heath's band, a well-paid role which he described as "the prestige job of all time". Soon, however, Moss found the group's focus on novelty numbers and faithful musical reproductions, including that of solos, to be limiting to his skills as an improviser, and he left after three years.
In 1957 Moss joined John Dankworth's orchestra. Here, with the band's encouragement, he began to develop his characteristic saxophone sound, eschewing the contemporary focus on light tone and fast phrasing in favour of a thicker and more spacious sound informed by American pioneers such as Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. When the Dankworth band visited America, Moss' style was singled out for compliment by Count Basie, who declared his playing "real Texas tenor... the way it should sound!" He left Dankworth's band in 1962, as the band itself was winding down. From here, he joined Humphrey Lyttelton's group, where he continued to hone his style for another two years.
He then married jazz singer Jeanie Lambe, and the two moved from London to Sussex at her suggestion. Here, he formed his own quartet, playing a mix of club gigs, festival appearances and radio broadcasts for the BBC. He continued to tour with this quartet throughout the 1970s and 1980s, also playing and recording with high-profile singers like Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Sarah Vaughan and Rosemary Clooney, and appearing as a guest soloist with American musicians such as Buck Clayton in the mid-'60s and Louis Armstrong on his last British tour. Moss also co-founded British jazz "supergroup" Pizza Express All-Stars in 1980, playing with them until the end of the 1980s.
Moss and Lambe moved to Perth, Western Australia in 1989, although Moss continued to play regularly in Europe; indeed, his distance from Europe only seemed to increase the level of demand for his performances there.
In November 2005, he was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. He participated in a video for the Australian medical website Virtual Medical Centre where he was interviewed about his illness and chemotherapy treatment. He died on 28 May 2008, aged 80, survived by Lambe and the couple's two sons. Rest in Peace Danny.
A man who sneaked into the RAF to train as a World War Two bomber gunner at 15, served as an air force police officer, raised Hadlow College's first cattle herd, and ran County Hall has tragically died of a devastating brain injury after a fall at his allotment.
Chriss Bridger, 89, was found unconscious by a passer-by at his vegetable patch in Sandling Road, Maidstone, on February 12.
After regaining conciousness and talking to paramedics he fell into a seizure and was airlifted to Kings College Hospital in London.
Scans revealed catastrophic bleeding in his brain and doctors decided he could not be saved. With his family around him, he died later that day.
Following an inquest into his death, the family of the Boxley Road resident have opened up about his extra-ordinary life.
Chriss was born and grew up on Great Chilmington Farm, near Great Chart.
As a teenager, regardless of his age and using false documents, he joined the RAF to train as a rear gunner in a Lancaster Bomber.
However, just before before his first mission his true age was discovered and, although he never found out how he suspected his mother had reported him, he was discharged.
The bomber he was assigned to was shot down shortly afterwards during a raid over Bochum, Germany.
At 21 he decided to rejoin the air force but, with so little demand for air crew, became an RAF police officer, eventually finding himself on VIP duty escorting dignitaries including Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery and Prince Philip.
After 10 years of service he returned to the farming life and just under two years later, was tasked with raising Hadlow College's first beef herd.
He continued working on the land until 1974 when, hoping to save up for retirement, he got a job with the law courts at County Hall.
Later ,when the position because available, he was hired as the County Steward - tasked with overseeing security, cleaners, catering, and looking after the county silver.
After retiring in 1991 he spent his time with his four children, holidaying with his wife Cherry, and working on his allotment.
When Cherry died of cancer in 2009 he continued growing vegetables, despite not liking them, and gave them to St Paul's Church on the same road as his home.
Remembering her father, daughter Katie said: "He was a generous man. He was the sort of person who do anything if he was asked to. He was a very loving man."
My father, David Parkin, who has died aged 85, spent his working life in the police force and was an early beneficiary of a scheme to offer young recruits a university education.
After training as a police officer in his native Yorkshire he worked initially as a constable in the West Riding, but most of his career was subsequently spent in the Somerset and Bath constabulary. There, in his relatively early days, he was selected for a fast-track programme for promising officers and, after being promoted to sergeant, was sent in 1966 for police-funded study at the London School of Economics, where his personal tutor was the sociologist Ralph Miliband.
Returning in 1969 with a degree in economics, he found many colleagues and superiors felt he had wasted his time, but personally he never doubted that his time at university had made him a better and more fulfilled officer.
He was promoted to inspector and then, when the Avon & Somerset force came into being, was made a chief inspector in 1974 and posted to Weston-super-Mare. Four years later he moved to Nailsea, near Bristol, where his command included Portishead, Clevedon and half of the Clifton suspension bridge.
That was perhaps his happiest period in the job until finally he was made superintendent at the St George’s police station in Bristol in the late 1980s. He retired in 1990.
David was born and raised in Sheffield, the middle child of Ben and Freda (nee May). His father was a Methodist minister and he grew up firmly in that cultural tradition, claiming to have signed the pledge aged three to affirm his lifelong teetotalism.
In addition to the usual challenges of a wartime childhood, he faced more as the son of a conscientious objector. He attended Firth Park grammar school in Sheffield, but left before completing his sixth-form studies with thoughts of working in agriculture. However, his national service steered him into the RAF Police, and it was a move that led to his eventual career in policing.
Throughout his time in the job David often challenged some of the unacceptable attitudes he found among fellow officers, and he always tried to promote more thoughtful, intelligent policing at a time when progressive ideas within the force were generally frowned upon.
He had a socialist outlook and part of his morning routine at Nailsea was to shout “Power to the people!” while punching the air before entering his office. Until his final promotion he spent many years as a representative of the Police Federation.
In his life outside the force, David was keen on athletics and cross-country running, and was an early convert to orienteering when it was introduced as a new sport to the UK. He was still winning age-group orienteering events into his 80s.
He is survived by his wife, Mavis (nee Wilson), whom he married in 1960, by their children, Richard, Sarah and me, and grandchildren Edward, William, Isabella, Alessandra and Teddy.
It is with great sadness I have to inform you that John Morrell former RAF Police Doghandler passed away in his sleep last night. John was in Berlin from 1971 to 74 with me, he was only 70 a great Geordie character we joined up together and remained friends, although he only served for 5 years. RIP Old Pal
Just to let you know Bernie Davies has passed away. He was an RAF
Policeman in the early sixties, I served with him in Bahrain in 1962. His funeral is on Monday 15th April at Efford
Crematorium, Plymouth at 14.00hrs.
Once again, it is with deep regret, that I inform the members of the death of one of the S&NI Branch family. Jean Partington, the wife of member Colin Partington, passed away peacefully on Saturday past, the 30th of March, at 1745 hours. She had been a patient in the Forth Valley Hospital near Falkirk for some weeks, suffering from stomach and gastric problems. God bless you Jean, it was a pleasure knowing you, Mick Mclaughlin.The funeral of Jean Partington will take place on Wednesday 10 Apr 2019 at 1200 hours. Service to be held in Dunblane Cathedral, followed by a burial in the family plot, in Dunblane Cemetery. Thereafter, all are welcome to join the family in the ‘Westland Hotel’ Dune Road Dunblane.
It's with a heavy saddened heart that I have to inform you that my dear friend Dusty Mack passed away on Friday with his Family around him. Dusty has been bravely fighting a losing battle with bad health for many months.
UPDATE...with place and date of funeral which is
11 April 1215 hrs, at Blyth Crem, Cowpen Road. NE24 5SZ.
On a very sad goodnight. Today in the Royal Air Force Police/QPD/Kennel maids and friends we heard the very sad news, that on Friday a fellow Royal Air Force Police/QPD had sadly passed Dusty Mack. He was, well one of the best instructors to be at the Royal Air Force School at Royal Air Force Newton. Always there to give sound advice, never any trouble to help. And also when he was on postings on units around our stations around the world. He really was a top QPD. I am sure you will all send condolences to Georgie and family. RIP Dusty. QPD. Ian Hunter
Reported that former snowdrop; Anthony James Thomas passed away on the 17 Mar 2019. He served between 1986 & 1995 as a dog handler. My condolences go out to the family for their loss and may Anthony rest in peace.
Yesterday from Tony Dalrymple reported that Michael Telford passed away yesterday (28 Mar 2019). Michael Telfer former Sgt RAF Police. Served Germany Cyprus Hong Kong. Left service 1989 and worked for Cumbria County Council until retirement in 2010. He passed away 28 March in Stourport on Severn after a 3 month illness.
It is with sadness to inform the group that Andy Robertson passed away this morning. Condolences to Andy's family and friends. David Wilkinson
The funeral of Andy Robertson will be held at the Crematorium, Dundee, DD3 8SD, on 27 March at 1430 hrs The family would like to invite you back to the West Park Event Centre,Perth Road Dundee DD2 1NN.
My name is Graham, Roy (Steadman's) eldest son. Roy asked me to contact you on the event of his passing so that you would pass on this news to his fellow RAF friends.
My father passed away peacefully early this morning (15 Mar 2019) with complications resulting from his dementia which he had for the past 5 years. He exhibited extraordinary strength and put up a determined fight to the very end.
Just read about the passing of Roy Steadman, Roy was one of the substantive
Cpl’s on our shift at Laarbruch, he was a bit older than us. Came across the
attached photo from the Laarbruch site. Roy is the guy with the clipboard,
others in the photo are Taff? Kev Joyce and ???Remember the exercise well 1978
RAFP 1976 -1979 then remastered discharged 1998
It is with deep regret that I inform you of the death of my dear friend John Pettigrew, known to all as, Jack. He passed away last night at 2115, 10/Mar/19, in Stonehouse Hospital, South Lanarkshire, after a short hard fight with pancreatic cancer. Jack was a Life-Member of the RAFPA, and a founder member of the S&NI Branch. He served in the Royal Air Force from 1953 ‘til 1978, attaining the rank of Flt Sgt, and the title of Dog Inspector.
Jack's funeral is on Monday 25th March at 10:15 am at the South Lanarkshire Crematorium, 22 Sydes Road, Blantyre Glasgow G72 0TL and afterwards at the Stathaven Hotel, Hamilton Road, Strathaven ML10 6SZ
My father Gordon D Rogers passed away this morning. I will of course post more details as I get them. Mark Rogers
A selection of imagines from the RAF service of Gordon D Rogers who served with the RAF Police between 1957 & 1960. He passed away on 10 Mar 2019. May he rest in peace.
I write this post with a heavy heart as my dear wife of 54 years of marriage, fell over yesterday and suffered a massive brain hemorrhage which she died from 8 hours later in Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon. Some of my RAF POLICE colleagues will have known Kath during our 30 years of service and I wanted you to know. We have 2 Children, 6 Grandchildren and 2 Great Grandchildren (and one on the way). We are all totally devastated by her sudden death..
When my wife died last Wednesday 27 Feb 19, I had so many messages of support that I just could not believe how the RAF Police ‘Family’ came together as it did. I received over 150 messages. Thank you everyone. Just to finalise matters, Kath’s funeral is as follows:
On Thursday 21 Mar 19 from 1200 to 1300 and the wake afterwards at 1330 at:
which is only 0.6 of a mile from the Crematorium.
Once again a very big thank you to you all for your support and kind words when I really needed them. I will never forget it.
Reported by Jim Cullington: It is with sadness that I have to inform you that former WO Tom Hallam passed away yesterday (22 Feb 2019). I have been in contact with his wife Veronica and will inform the members regarding funeral arrangements as early as possible. Rest in peace Tom.
I have just been contacted by Mark Hallam, Toms son, regarding Toms funeral. The service will take place on Wednesday 13 March at 1200hrs at:-
The reception afterwards will be held at
The Danish Invader
If anyone is intending to proceed to the reception after the service please let me know ASAP,the family need the number to arrange the catering.
It is with great sadness that I report the death yesterday - 2nd February 2019
of Marion GUNN wife of JIM Vice Chairman of the NYB.
Marion's Funeral will take place at the Rotherham Crematorium Ridgway Rd
Rotherham S65 3NN On Wednesday 20th February at 09-30hrs.
From Derek A Jenkins:
I have today received a telephone call from Paul Watts,
the son of Pete Watts, to tell me that Pete died on Saturday 12th January 2019,
after losing his brave fight with cancer. His family were with him in hospital
when he died, including his other son, who had just arrived at the hospital from
Several years ago Pete and Pat, his wife, moved from Lewes, West Sussex, to a retirement flat in Southampton, to live near their daughter. Sadly Pat died about six months after their move there.
I first worked with Pete at RAF Marham in 1958 and later worked with him when we were in British Caledonian Airways Security Services in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Pete and Pat were family friends of Ann and I. Our condolences go out to the family for their loss and may Pete rest in peace and suffer no more.
It is with great sadness that 605 Sqn announce the death of one of our
Reservists, Cpl Leanne Carroll.
Leanne transferred to 605 from the Army Reserves in Dec 2016, as RAF Police. She quickly completed her training and became a well liked and respected member of the team.
Leanne will be sorely missed and we send out our heart felt condolences to her friends and family at this very difficult time.
SNOWDROPS WHO HAVE PASSED AWAY IN RETIREMENT – 2018 - MAY THEY REST IN PEACE
John Limb 29 Dec 2018 RIP
Des Byrne 12 Dec 2018 RIP
Bob Dunning 28 Nov 2018 RIP
Brian Clark 22 Nov 2018 RIP
Donald C Burrell 29 Oct 2018 RIP
Alan Shaw 13 Sep 2018 RIP
Nancy Miller 05 Sep 2018 RIP
Alan Perrin Sep 2018 RIP
Frank Authers 02 Sep 2018 RIP
Dennis Shipton 31 Aug 2018 RIP
John McNeil 30 Aug 2018 RIP
Chris Parker Aug 2018 RIP
Dennis Harley 23 Aug 2018 RIP
Alan Johnstone Aug 2018 RIP
Paul Howsham 05 Aug 2018 RIP
Cyril Hales 05 Aug 2018 RIP
Jonathan Willoughby 01 Aug 2018 RIP
Ivor Montell 29 Jul 2018 RIP
Alec George Barker 24 Jul 2018 RIP
Pat Walsh 15 Jul 2018 RIP
Jon Hickson 13 Jul 2018 RIP
Robert Easson 07 Jul 2018 RIP
Colin Hartless 06 Jul 2018 RIP
Peter Haslam Jun 2018 RIP
Keith Dukeson 19 Jun 2018 RIP
Ernest Sharmam 18 Jun 2018 RIP
David Giddings 17 Jun 2018 RIP
Michael Brickwood 13 Jun 2018 RIP
Mark Travis 10 Jun 2018 RIP
Leon Victor Palmer 7 Jun 2018 RIP
Andrew Elkin 26 May 2018 RIP
John O'Shaunessy 20 May 2018 RIP
Denzil Flew 23 Apr 2018 RIP
Christina L Bentley 23 Apr 2018 RIP
Alec Benford 20 Mar 2018 RIP
Alfred Addison 15 Mar 2018 RIP
Stewart Skouse 05 Mar 2018 RIP
Bill Sykes 03 Mar 2018
Brian Suiter 04 Mar 2018 RIP
Malcolm Lister 28 Feb 2018 RIP
Les Climo Feb 2018 RIP
Ian Taylor 17 Feb 2018 RIP
William Gosling 10 Feb 2018 RIP
Andrew Morris 31 Jan 2018 RIP
Ray Orgill 29 Jan 2018 RIP
Gordon Turner 29 Jan 2018 RIP
John Hull 28 Jan 2018 RIP
Gordon Turner Jan 2018 RIP
Bernard Brown 28 Jan 2018 RIP
Derek Topham 18 Jan 2018 RIP
Derek Turvey 17 Jan 2018 RIP
Dale Bos 13 Jan 2018 RIP
RIP DAD. In loving memory of John Limb.❤
Yesterday I received this letter from G Seller the funeral directors that performed such a great service for my dad's funeral.
Thank you all for attending the funeral to remember my dad.
And thanks for the kind donations to the Royal Air Force Association charity. As you can see the amount raised at the funeral was £266.29. This was sent to RAFA yesterday.
John Limb. A proud Snowdrop.
Gone but never forgotten.
John Limb (RIP)
Funeral of John Limb (EMB) on 25th January 2019
Barrie Clarke (EMB)
A few of the 20 members of the
Royal Air Force Police Association
Guard of Honour
Bearers carry the coffin of John Limb into the
Bob Byrne has told me that his father Des Byrne passed away in Lincoln Hospital yesterday evening. I have received this from Bob Byrne, re his dad's funeral--Des Byrne.
Thank you all for your messages of condolence, it has helped the family get through this sad time. The funeral will take place on the 4th January 2019 at 1200 hours at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, 27 Jermyn Street, Sleaford, NG34 7RU followed by a celebration of Des's life at the Solo Bar & Restaurant, 6 Market Street, Sleaford, NG34 7SF.
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,