Richard Heath RIP

The following email has been received from the Jon Rankin, stepson of Richard (Dick) Heath, who was a surveyor for Fairey Surveys in the 1960s and again in the early 1970s.  Due to a problem with the website email, it was unfortunately only picked up on 28th July, too late for the funeral.

Richard worked (amongst other projects) on the Humber Bridge, and in Libya, and the family would appreciate hearing from anyone who has memories or stories of his time at Fairey Surveys.  Please contact Jon direct – contact details at the bottom of the email.

His family have sent a photograph.

==================================

Hello admins,

I just came across your fascinating site and wanted to share some news with you.

My step father was Richard (also known by most of his friends as Dick) Heath. He married my mum, Pat, in 1969 when I was just 7 years old.

He worked for Fairey Surveys as a land surveyor from the early / mid 60’s though to 69’ when he was seconded to the Directorate of Overseas Surveys, and was posted to the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu). He returned to the UK in 72, and did another stint with Fairey (I believe) before getting a job in 1973 in the Cayman Islands as deputy Chief Surveyor, where he remained until 1980 (that was a tough job!!!). I recall that he talked with incredible fondness about his time working for Fairey, on projects such as the Humber Bridge and the M4, as well as being posted to Saudi Arabia, Libya (including a run in with a certain young Ghadaffi) and the Bahamas (although that may have been on secondment to DOS). I remember meeting his old pal and Fairey’s colleague Mac (I believe Roy McDonnell) who popped up in a number of places where we were posted – he was a character, sadly no longer with us.

I write to you at this time because, very sadly, he passed away two weeks ago, from heart failure. He had been fit and active and mentally with-it right up until the end, and was living in Bath with my mum. His funeral will be held at the Crematorium at Bath on Friday 12th July at 1045. Should any of his ex-colleagues wish to attend they would be most welcome – the address is Haycombe Cemetery, 209 Whiteway Rd, Bath BA2 2RQ

Of course, I perfectly understand if people are not able to attend, but I, my brother and my sisters would be most happy if any of your readers have any stories or anecdotes that they would like to share about Dad – I will gladly pass them on to the rest of the family.

If anyone would like to make contact, I am most happy for you to post this on your site, if you see fit, and share my mobile and email – 07831 505857 and jon.rankin@btinternet.com

With very best wishes

Jon Rankin

===============================

 

FSL Reunion 2019: group photograph

The 2019 reunion was held on 26th July, as usual at White Waltham Cricket Club, but this year it was held at lunchtime instead of in the evening.  This seemed generally popular, particularly for those who come from a distance, but please let us know if you disagree, or have any other suggestions for the occasion in future – use the Comments box below, or email admin@faireysurveys.co.uk.

Despite the awful weather forecast, rain didn’t stop play, and we were able to sit outside to reminisce and eat the excellent buffet.  Many thanks to John Tompkins for organising the reunion so (apparently) effortlessly!

The club barman was roped in to take the group photograph, so hopefully everyone who attended is included.  Click on the photograph for a bigger image.  Let us know if you want a high resolution copy of the photograph (2.4 MB) by email.

If you attended and have any good photographs, please send them in (admin@faireysurveys.co.uk) and they can be added here for everyone to share.

More photographs received from Ken Fostekew:

Dennis Shearing RIP

Dennis Shearing was a surveyor in Fairey Surveys in the 1970s, an Australian from Adelaide, and he died in Australia in March this year at the age of 74.  For much of his life as a surveyor he slept on friends’ sofas or floors, in his old Land Rover (“Camel”), or in some remote spot where he was working.  But he ended his life in an amazing house in Kangaroo Island (off the coast of Adelaide), which he built himself.

He regularly timed his visits to the UK to coincide with the FSL annual reunions, so he was well known to most of us.

Ken Edwards attended Dennis’s memorial in Kangaroo Island, and Ken and Derek Minter jointly wrote the attached eulogy, which was read out at the service.  The photograph of Dennis in his trademark hat was taken in 2010 at the wedding of Ken’s daughter Rebekah.

Ken Edwards passed on the following notes from the memorial, and the photographs below (the Jenni mentioned is Dennis’s half sister).

Dennis’ farewell went very well. Jenni had arranged for a smaller group to be present at the gypsum (salt) lake where Dennis’ ashes were to be scattered. We all took a small handful and found a qiuet spot to remember him in our own way and scatter our small part of him.

An older friend from the island played harmonica and recited a poem “my old black billy” which was very poignant and appropriate for Dennis.

Back at the “Shed” at American River there was a much larger crowd (approx. 60 to 70) and quite a few wanted to speak about Dennis and the impact he made on their lives. I don’t think you would have known anyone there Derek but there were a couple of old surveyors and geophysicists who remembered Dennis from his time in the Lands Department and GeoSurveys. I have attached a phone photo I took of another photo which shows Dennis having an apple apparently being shot off his head by a colleague on a survey/geophysics expedition in the desert area of outback Qld. or SA. People at the gathering assured me the rifle was not loaded but we are talking Australia in the sixties here!

I’ve also sent a close up of a younger man and his paradise home on KI.

It was a great send off and I’m sure he would have approved.

Dennis Shearing eulogy

Dennis was a long term volunteer for WWOOF in Australia (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), and their tribute to him can be read here: https://wwoof.com.au/the-passing-of-a-wonderful-host/ .

Click on each photograph for a larger image.

 

 

Walter Smith: Service of Thanksgiving

This message came from Barbara Johnson, Walter Smith’s daughter:

Dear Family, Friends and former Colleagues

Thank you for your expressions of sympathy at Dad’s passing.

The funeral took place quietly on 9 January and there will be a service of thanksgiving for his life on 26 February – details are below.

All are welcome.  An RSVP* would be helpful but is not essential.

With best wishes

Geoff and Barbara

Walter Purvis Smith Esq, CB, OBE, MA (Oxon), FRICS

8 March 1920 – 11 December 2018

A Service of Thanksgiving for his life will be held on

Tuesday 26 February 2019 at 12 noon

St Michael and All Angels Church, Lyndhurst, Hampshire

 

Nearest parking (3 mins walk, chargeable) is in

Lyndhurst Community Centre, Central Car Park, High Street, Lyndhurst SO43 7NY

The family hope you will be able to join them for refreshments after the service

* Emails to admin@faireysurveys.co.uk will be forwarded to the family

Walter Smith (WP) RIP

News has come from Walter Smith’s daughter, Barbara Johnson, that he died on 11th December, and that a memorial service is being organised, probably late January or early February.

Walter Smith joined what was then the Air Survey Company (a subsidiary of Fairey Aviation) as Chief Surveyor in 1950, and left as Managing Director in 1977 to take up a post with the United Nations for two years.  He was then appointed the first civilian Director General of the Ordnance Survey, a post he held until he retired in 1985.

Lawrence Scott remembers him with gratitude, as WP (as he was generally known in the company) recruited Lawrence in 1952 in Southern Rhodesia, when WP was Manager of the Air Survey Company of Rhodesia for three years, the subsidiary he set up in 1951.

A fairly detailed history of his life and career is on Wikipedia:

Walter Smith (land surveyor)

If we hear about the memorial date, it will be posted on the website, and we can pass on any messages to the family.

 

Surjeet Singh Bansil RIP

Derek Minter has passed on the information that Surjeet Singh Bansil died suddenly a few days ago at his home in Maidenhead:

Bansil (as he was known) was a Photogrammetic Instrument Operator at Faireys for many years He was a senior operator by the time I trained to work in that department in 1973. He remained on the staff until Christmas 1983 when the company, by then owned by Halcrow, made around half of the operators redundant. Some years later, and after the ESL takeover, he returned to work at the office in Reform Road but eventually was made redundant again and spent the remainder of his working life at a mapping company based in Worcester.

Bansil was a skilled and careful worker who was well respected by his colleagues.

I am sure our thoughts will be with his family at this difficult time.

Bansil is in the group photograph taken outside the Reform Road office in about 1979.  He is number 85, in the top row – clip below, with Peter Timbrell, Tony Dady, R. Pandia, Fari Limoiee and Ken Pinkney, among others.  The full group photograph is in the History section of the website.

Ken O’Dell: RIP

We have had a report from Geoff Milsom that Ken O’Dell passed away last Sunday, 19th November.  Ken had been suffering from dementia for some time.  Condolences to his wife Beryl.

There are many gaps in the material we have on the website, and unfortunately we don’t have a photograph of Ken “Red” O’Dell – or at least not one where he has been identified.  However, a quick look through the old newsletters shows Ken O’Dell out in Malta and Bechuanaland in 1957.  In 1959 he was in Aden, then Rhodesia and Nyasaland on a Federal Surveys contract with Geoff Milsom, Paul Heimes, Brian Corbin, Adrian Workman and others with the Dakota ‘Charlie Tango’.  The Company News in September 1973 reports him in Saudi Arabia.  By 1978 Ken was Chief Engineer, and the February 1978 internal newsletter reports him out in Zanzibar, Nigeria and Liberia as ‘Travelling trouble shooter”.  Was he ever at home?

The funeral will be at Easthampstead Park Crematorium, South Road, Wokingham RG49 3DW, on 6th December at 10:30.