John Tompkins was at the memorial service for Eddie Holmes on Monday 20th November, and has sent in these pictures.
We have received an email from Eddie Holmes’ son Stephen announcing the death of his father on 28th October 2017. His email is copied below. Eddie Holmes worked in Compilation and Project Control with Tony Furneaux and the team. Some photographs are attached below.
It is with deep regret that I have to inform you of the the death of my father, Eddie Holmes on the 28th Oct.
Dad had been struggling with Parkinson’s for many years but kept the sharpness of mind and sense of humour until the last. He was 91.
There will be a simple Service of Committal at Beaconsfield Crematorium on the 20th November at 11:00 which we are reserving for close family and friends. However everyone is welcome to a subsequent Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving at 1:00 at the High Street Methodist Church, Maidenhead.
I would be grateful if you could pass on this news to former colleagues at Fairey Surveys.
John Tompkins has passed on the sad news that Brian Corbin died at Wexham Park hospital on Monday 30th January. His daughter Kate Solomon was with him, and we also have a request from her.
This is probably the best photograph we have of Brian, at the West London Aero Club in 2012 with Adrian Workman, Graham Bridges and Geoff Milsom.
In their own words: John Tompkins
“This is a general message, so some of you already have heard, but here is
some sad news.Brian died at Wexham Park hospital on Monday Jan 30th his
daughter Kate was with him.
Via Graham Bridges and Geoff Milsom I have some information about the
The service will be a non religious one to be held at Amersham
Crematorium (In a small private room) at 12.15 on Tuesday Feb 28th. There
will be a burial at Braywick Cemetery, followed by a wake at White Waltham
Flying Club where he and other ‘Faireys’ met monthly.
If you would like to attend the WWFC gathering please let me know in advance
so that I can inform Kate how many to cater for.”
“I know how much the monthly visits to White Waltham meant to my dad and I believe you make many of the social arrangements for the Fairey Group.
Could I trouble you to advise the group of the sad loss of my dad and that the arrangements for his funeral on Tuesday 28th February are as follows:
Celebration Service at 12:15 at the Chilterns Chapel, Whielden Lane, Amersham HP7 OND
Braywick Cemetery, Braywick Road, Maidenhead SL6 1DJ for 2pm.
Back to White Waltham for a buffet etc.
It would be lovely for me to meet some of my Dad’s friends and to hear about his time at Fairey and Clyde Surveys, particularly as this is such a sad time. I know it is difficult but if you could gauge numbers that would be attending that would be great. Waltham have told me they can only cater for 50 and I haven’t a clue how many we should expect.
We have decided on a celebrant to take the service at the Chilterns as dad was not religious. If at your gathering this weekend you have any amusing stories that we could use, I would be very grateful.”
Please let John Tompkins know if you would like to attend the wake at White Waltham, so they can cater for everyone. If you have a story or anecdote that you would like to share, but can’t attend the funeral or the wake, again please contact John, or post a comment here to share it with everyone. If you don’t have John’s contact details, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass on the information.
From John Scarrott
Further to your post celebrating Bill Clark’s 90th birthday, I have recently been sorting through my photo collection and attach a couple of photographs of Fairey Surveys Scotland Ltd (FSSL) staff circa 1974
Bill, Malcolm Eaton and I moved up from Maidenhead to Livingston in 1973 to setup FSSL, I was responsible for the Drawing Office
I recall that whilst waiting for our new office to be fitted out we were working from Bill’s flat in Livingston and had a contract with Bartholomew & Sons in Edinburgh to update elements of the Times World Atlas – Bill having convinced them that we were a competent and fully functioning company and could handle the project locally – as opposed to sending the work down to Maidenhead
That all went slightly awry when John Bartholomew himself paid a visit to check on progress and found me scribing on a make shift light table in Bill’s kitchen!
None the less we went on to have a very successful relationship with Bartholomew’s working on several other projects and also putting business their way when we employed them to print 50,000 copies of a contract we had won to produce the Glasgow Passenger Transport System map circa 1974 – that one was produced in a competent and fully functioning company!
A little ceremony was held at White Waltham on Saturday 14th January 2017, to celebrate Geoffrey Milsom’s 70 years as a member of the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators, (GAPAN).
A cake was supplied by Don Green and Bob Berriss, others in attendance were
Don Green, Bob Berriss, John and Carol Tompkins, Laurence Scott, Jean and
Ken Fostekew, two members of the Aero Club and Geoffrey of course.
With thanks to Ken Fostekew for the information and the photographs – click on the photographs to enlarge.
Bill (Bix) Clark, who opened the Fairey Surveys Livingston office back in the 1970s, will be turning 90 on 5th March.
Bill Clark joined Fairey Surveys in 1947 following 6 years in Royal Engineers Surveys, then left after 10 years to work in the US, where he worked in photogrammetry. He returned to the UK in 1960, and rejoined Fairey Surveys in the Photogrammetric Section. He became Photogrammetric Section Supervisor in 1964 and transferred to UK Marketing as Assistant Manager in 1969, reporting to Marketing Manager Peter Forsey.
The opening of the office in Livingston followed the FSL contract to provide mapping for the planning of the new town at Stonehouse, south east of Glasgow. Bill Clark became Managing Director of Fairey Surveys Scotland, and opened the office in November 1973. It had a small map production unit equipped with a Zeiss Stereometrograph and cartographic facilities.
We understand that Bill played the trumpet, and that his nickname came from the jazz musician Leon Bismark “Bix” Beiderbecke, who played the cornet and piano in the 1920s.
Jimmy Cheffins’ daughter Helen Blackshaw and her sister attended the 2015 reunion at White Waltham Cricket Club, and have sent through some photographs of Jimmy’s time at Fairey Surveys. It was obviously a Cheffins reunion as well, as Bill Cheffins’ daughter Patricia was also there, and the photographs she brought are on an earlier post!
Helen has sent five photographs, a couple of Jimmy in the office, and three out in the field. The three field photographs have no dates or names. Two are of surveyors, and Helen thinks the one with the cairn was taken in Iran. The man with a chessboard is a mystery, and may be nothing to do with FSL, but was with the other survey photographs, so may be related. But a collar and tie, playing chess in a field?
If anyone recognises a face or a place, please let us know!
Click on the photographs to enlarge.
With thanks to Ken Fostekew for the contribution:
The FSL reunion held at W/W Cricket Club 10th July was a
great success. Many thanks to John and Carol Tompkins for the hard work that
they put to make another memorable evening.
A gathering of a few FSL/Fairey Aviation Folk at White Waltham on Saturday
11th July for the scattering of ashes of the late Ron Neal. Ron’s widow
Sylvia travelled from her home at Lydd and the ceremony took place around
the ATA memorial behind the West London Aero Club.
Ron, was of course an ATC Cadet attached to ATA and accrued many flying
hours as pilots assistant with all the well known pilots of the day. As an
added bonus the Battle of Britain Memorial Spitfires and Hurricanes were
still at White Waltham after their display over London the day before and on
their departure two Hurricanes and one Spitfire did a low level flypast. Ron
would have loved it.
In attendance were…Geoff Milsom, Bob Berris, Don Green, Mr and Mrs Paul
Singleton, Derek Minter, Tony Bamford, John Tompkins, Ken and Jean Fostekew
and of course Mrs Sylvia Neal.
Bill Cheffins’ daughter Patricia was over from her home in Canada, and came to the reunion in July with a lot of photographs and other material that she inherited from Bill. She very kindly loaned us some of it to scan in to share with all those who remember him.
There are gaps in the information. We don’t know who all the people in the photographs are, or all the dates or places, and would appreciate help from anyone who recognises them. There are also a couple of items that aren’t totally relevant to Fairey Surveys, but relate to the mapping industry generally, and look really interesting, so they have been included too.
This had no details except for the names, but the people and setting match one of Tony Furneaux’s photographs (AF58, see post in Departments), which Tony identified as an FSL Christmas party at White Waltham in the 1950s.
This one is a social event from some time in the 1970s. Top row, l-r Bix Clark, Ken Harris, Vic/Baz Rathbone, Gerry Jones, Tommy Thomson, John Keay, Vic Harding, Tony Dady. Bottom row l-r: Pete Challis, Jean Fostekew, John Churchard, Harry Hodgkinson. Presumably Bill Cheffins took the photograph, as he is not in the picture.
These two photographs look like a pair, taken on a site visit or trip out somewhere.
This is just a list of names, but it could be the list of attendees at a conference, perhaps linked to the photograph above. Certainly a list of the good and the great in the mapping world (and a great example of Bill Cheffins’ absolutely beautiful handwriting).
This is a copy of a ballot paper for the Officers’ Election at the AGM of the Photogrammetric Society in 1980, showing the main four officers, including Bill, being returned unopposed. This is another list of many of the key people involved in aerial survey at the time. The Ordnance Survey member was still a member of the Armed Forces, a reminder that Walter Smith was the first civilian Director General of the Ordnance Survey, when he joined them in 1977.
This is a paper written by Bill Cheffins and Bix Clark on the use of photogrammetry in orthodontics, enabling much more precise measurements for reconstructive dental work.
This is the company announcement of the reorganisation that installed Bill Cheffins as apparently UK Mapping head without a title.
And finally, this quotation from Brigadier Martin Hotine, who was responsible for the 26-year retriangulation of Great Britain which completed in 1962, written on the back of a punched card.
And this is just a great photograph of Bill Cheffins and his family in about 1955.
It is with great sadness that we have to announce that Alex Copeland passed away on 16th April 2015. He had lived for over 30 years in Adelaide, South Australia, running the ground geophysical survey company Search Exploration Services with his partner Gerry Bown. His funeral and the gathering afterwards were held in Carrickalunga, about 100 km south of Adelaide. It is here that Alex and Gerry have their beloved beachside ‘shack’, and where the Union Jack flies every day except Anzac Day and Australia Day.
Alex started at Fairey Surveys as a draughtsman, but over the years became involved with airborne and ground geophysics, working all over the world. He was always cheerful, always helpful and very hardworking. Alex lived life to the full, and made lasting friends wherever he was – things were definitely not boring when he was around.
One of Alex’s old friends, Kim Frankcombe, was at the funeral and the wake, and has sent the obituary, and a copy of the memorial service booklet, which are attached, and some personal notes from the day:-
“The funeral and wake went well with a lot of old familiar faces there, both from my geophysics and rugby past. The church held 80 and both Alex and Gerry had wanted a quiet affair but it was standing room only. The public event at the British Hotel later that night had even more people.
With a large rugby crowd there was plenty of support for the two hymns, the Welsh and English rugby teams’ hymns. Apparently they were a late change as Alex had originally wanted “Always look on the bright side of life” which would also have been very appropriate.
In Nick Sheard’s Eulogy he told the story of bailing Alex out of the Cobar police station after he was caught drink driving after he and Nick had spent three hours with an Eski of beer watching a mechanic weld up his old Hilux. He decided to give the arresting officer the benefit of his thoughts which resulted in him being held for the night. He claims to have spent the night dragging a tin mug across the bars of his cell to let them know he was still there.
There was also plenty of support for Alex being a scary driver from all those who he’d taken for a ride in his E-Type which is now in SA with Gerry.”
Memorial booklet: AC_Memorial Click on the title to open the file (if it displays sideways, download and open with Adobe Reader, then click on View, Rotate)
Obituary: AlexCopeland_Obit Click on the title to open the file
Many of Alex’s friends and old colleagues will have their own stories about him (and possibly his cars!) – please send them in on the Comments page, or by email to email@example.com