Category Archives: Obituaries


Les - Oman cropped copyAir Vice-Marshal Les Phipps was a fighter pilot who flew most of the post-war jets.  He was a pilot attack instructor and he served at the Central Fighter Establishment and later commanded a Lightning squadron.  He gained a great deal of experience overseas serving in Jordan, Malta, Borneo and Oman seeing action in the latter two.  He commanded the Sultan of Oman’s Air Force during the Dhofar campaign and he also spent a year attached to the Royal Saudi Air Force.  After a series of senior RAF appointments, he retired to work in the British aircraft industry.  He was awarded the AFC and was appointed CB .

To read full obituary click HERE


Trowern copyFred Trowern was a very experienced fighter ground attack pilot who played an important role during the Falkland’s War of 1982.  He was the air staff officer appointed to the Land Force Commander (Maj Gen J. Moore RM).  On arrival in the islands he transferred to HMS Fearless in San Carlos Water, ‘ bomb alley’, and advised on the use of RAF assets and on offensive support operations in particular.  He went ashore to Goose Green and finished in Stanley at the time of the Argentinian surrender.  He was appointed OBE.

Earlier in his career, he was one of four RAF pilots who evaluated the Kestrel vertical take off and landing fighter that became the Harrier.  He saw service in Aden flying Hunters and later commanded Jaguar units

To read full obituary click HERE


Miller FINNINGLEY copyAir Commodore ‘Dusty’ Miller was awarded the DFC after completing a tour of operations flying the Beaufighter on anti-shipping patrols in the Adriatic.  Based on the east coast of Italy, he attacked barges and re-supply vessels as they endeavoured to support the retreating German army.  After the war, Miller flew fighters and was one of the first pilots to use an ejector seat when he baled out of a Meteor.  As a wing commander he joined the V-Force and commanded a Valiant squadron before becoming the station commander at Finningley.  He retired in 1969 to go into the building industry.

To read full  obituary click HERE


Jack LyonA bomber air observer shot down in June 1941, Jack Lyon was one of the last survivors to take part in the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III in March 1944.  He had been a ‘stooge’ monitoring the movements of the German ‘ferrets’ who sought to discover escape plans.  Lyon was given a place for the final escape and was allocated No. 89.  He was waiting and preparing to enter the tunnel entrance in Hut 104 when a shot rang out signalling the escape attempt had been discovered.  With others who were waiting he hastily destroyed any papers, equipment and escape material.  His death occurred a few days before the 75th Anniversary of the breakout, which cost the lives of 50 of the 76 who escaped.

To read the full  obituary click HERE

Also see this LINK which outlines the story through previously published Daily Telegraph obituaries


IMG_0010Derek Piggott served in the RAF as a pilot in the late stages of the war and in the years that followed until 1953.  He became a world renowned instructor on gliders and some of his books on instructing remain the authoritative source.  He was an outstanding pilot and created some national height records in early generation gliders.  He was also a highly-regarded experimental and stunt pilot in films including the Blue Max, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines and Chitty, Chitty Bang, Bang amongst others.  In November 1961 he made the first British unaided take-off and human-powered flight in an aircraft built by students at Southampton University.  He was appointed MBE and received a number of prestigious aviation awards.

The photograph shows him with his record breaking Skylark glider.

To read full obituary click HERE


DHL Image-1David Hawkins rose from a National Service gunner in the RAF Regiment to become the Commandant General of the Regiment.  He later became Yeoman Usher of the Black Rod and Gentleman Usher to the Queen.  After he was commissioned he served with RAF Regiment Light Anti-Aircraft squadrons in Cyprus and in Singapore.  After a period as ADC to the Chief of Air Staff he served at Cranwell and then commanded a squadron at Catterick when he also deployed to Northern Ireland for security duties.  He commanded the Queen’s Colour Squadron and, in addition to his ceremonial duties, he and some members appeared on Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game when they gave a display of immaculate silent arms drill movements.  He commanded the RAF Regiment Depot at Catterick, served in NATO and then in the MOD when he was the Commandant General.  He was appointed CB and MBE.

For full obituary click HERE



Dad 2

Dick Churchill was the last survivor of the ‘Great Escape’, the notorious escape through a tunnel at Stalag Luft III at Sagan.   Seventy-six men managed to get free of the camp but all but three were recaptured and the Gestapo murdered fifty of them.  Churchill had been shot down in early September 1940 and was initially incarcerated at Stalag Luft I at Barth on the Baltic coast.  He soon joined a team of determined escapers and he was involved in numerous tunnel projects.  He and  his colleagues were transferred to the Luftwaffe’s showpiece camp at Sagan in 1942 where Churchill continued his tunnelling activities.  On the night of 24 March 1944 the tunnel broke surface,
but short of the intended place in a wood.  Churchill and his partner were at large for almost three days before being recaptured.  Fearful that he might be a relation of Winston Churchill, he was spared in case he might be of further use.  He was not enthusiastic about the film ‘The Great Escape’.  He was 99 years old when he died on 13 February.

To read full obituary click HERE