Geoff Milsom: 100th birthday 25th May 2024

What a milestone, and what a great party. (Good enough to get in the paper: online version here, and to be published in the Maidenhead Advertiser on Friday 31st May.)

Geoff celebrated his birthday where he was based for so much of his working life, White Waltham airfield, surrounded by family, friends and old Faireys. In tribute to the most senior old Fairey, the weather was wonderful, the planes were all flying, and the familiar scent of aviation fuel drifted across the grass. The West London Aero Club provided the food and drink, and the family provided the balloons.

There were quite a lot of family. Children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, cousins, second cousins, second cousins once removed …. Some were getting together for the first time in twenty years. But since Geoff spent most of his working life overseas, they probably haven’t seen very much of him over the years. And so much did he love flying, that when he came up to retirement age, he was owed about three years of accumulated leave!

One of the Hurricanes based at White Waltham was heading out to Duxford, and gave a pass by the airfield in homage to the occasion, to the delight of the crowd, especially the children.

A few pictures from the occasion – right click on the photographs for a full size image (select open in new tab):-

Dusty Miller got some good photographs, including some group photographs of the guests at the airfield fence while Geoff was looking at the Hurricane, and an excellent one of the cake.

Fairey Surveys reunion 2024

Date: Friday 26th July 2024 from 12:00

Update 12/07/2024: Please note that the bar at White Waltham Cricket Club will be CASH ONLY.

The reunion will be at lunchtime at the White Waltham Cricket Club again, and we look forward to seeing you.

There will be a cold finger buffet from about 13:00, which also caters for vegetarians.

There is a charge of £22 per person for the buffet, and it helps to know numbers, so if you receive a form in the post, please send it back with a cheque, or download a form here. If you have any special dietary requirements, please write them on the form when you return it, or email

If you have not been before, and would like to come, please let us know (, or download the form and send it in with a cheque before 16th July. You are welcome to just turn up, but if you don’t want to eat, there is a small charge of £5.00 per person to cover hire of the clubhouse and bar staff. Please introduce yourself when you arrive, and we would love to see any old photographs or memorabilia you may have.

Check the White Waltham Cricket Club Facebook page for directions. If you need assistance with transport, email us at We may be able to help.

FSL Reunion invitation 2024, download here

John Cripwell RIP

Richard Cripwell has emailed to let us know the details of his father’s funeral:

The Memorial Service for John Cripwell will be held on Tuesday 12 March 2024 at St Edmund’s Church in Calne, Wiltshire at Noon. The address of the Church is:

Saint Edmund’s Catholic Church
Oxford Road
SN11 8AQ

Please note that there is very limited parking near the Church but some is located reasonably close by.

The Cripwell family warmly invite everyone to join them, after the service, for tea and refreshments at The Pewsham SN15 3RU, between Calne and Chippenham. It is about a seven minute drive with plenty of parking.

News has been passed on by Lawrence Scott that John Cripwell died on 17th January 2024. John’s son Richard called Lawrence to let him know, and will pass on details of funeral arrangements when they are available.

John was born in Rhodesia on 8th January 1934, so he had just turned 90. He was a surveyor with Fairey Surveys from late 1965, and spent a lot of time overseas, as well as managing the FSL Dublin office for a time.

Ross Dallas sent in an article for the website about his time as a surveyor with FSL in the late 60s, with references to John during a job in Saudi Arabia. You can read it here.

The picture at the top is from a photograph taken at the 2004 reunion barbecue at White Waltham. For the full photograph, click here. He is also on the 2013 reunion photograph.

Bob Purcell memorial service

The memorial service was held on 30th September in Cookham. John and Carol Tompkins and Jean and Ken Fostekew attended from Fairey Surveys.

Below are photographs sent by John Tompkins from Bob’s memorial service booklet. To see larger versions of the photographs, right click and select ‘open in new tab’.

A memorial service has been arranged for Bob Purcell at the Holy Trinity Church in Cookham, followed by cheese and wine. The family would be really pleased to see some of his old friends and colleagues from Fairey Surveys.

Date: Saturday 30th September 2023
Time: 3:00 pm / 15:00 hrs

The Holy Trinity Church is at Ferry Lane, Cookham, Maidenhead SL6 9SN. The church has a small car park for visitors.

The nearest public car park is the Sutton Road car park on the A4094 towards Maidenhead. According to the web, it’s free, but there are only 18 spaces. Next nearest (about 500m) is the Cookham Moor National Trust car park, 2 High Street SL6 9SG, £2 or free for NT members. There is a bit of street parking by the war memorial at the West end of the High Street (about 300m).

Peter Forsey – funeral details

Peter’s son Chris has let us know that the funeral will be on Monday 24th July 2023 at 2:00 pm, at West Berkshire Crematorium on the A4 Bath Road near Thatcham.

The funeral will be followed by a wake at the The Angel on the A4 at Woolhampton, at about 3:00 pm onwards.

Peter Forsey RIP

Sad news has come in from Tony White that Peter Forsey died yesterday, 22nd June 2023. If we get news of the funeral, it will be posted up on the website.

Peter was a Board member of Fairey Surveys and Marketing Manager for Fairey Surveys in the 1970s, when the successful Faireys Leisure Map series was launched. He was also a cricketer, on the FSL team in the late 1950s and 1960s

Tony Furneaux, visitor, operator?, Pete Forsey
8th September 1959 Back row L-R: Malcolm Eaton, Tony Philips, Bill Steadman, Tony Walker, Jim Storey Front row L-R: Pete ?, ?, Peter Forsey, Peter Challis, Brian Atwen

Links here are to Fairey Surveys newsletters with more information about Peter and about the first Leisure Map:

Bob Purcell RIP

We had news this morning from Bob’s daughter Mariette that Bob died last night, 2nd June 2023. He always had a smile and a joke for everyone. He will be missed.

This is one of the few photographs we have of Bob during his FSL years. It came from Jim Rowe’s son Chris, but we don’t have a date for it.

Crew in Chile. L to R: Bob Purcell, Ozzie Vertigo, Geoff Milsom, Jim Rowe and John Renton

Geoff Milsom 99th birthday

Geoff Milsom celebrated his 99th birthday at White Waltham, with old friends from Fairey Surveys, on Saturday 13th May 2023.

Photograph courtesy of John Tompkins (with Ken Fostekew taking his own photograph).

Ken Fostekew has passed on some of his photographs from the birthday celebration, and here is a better photograph of the cake:

Bob Purcell

Mariette has sent us an update (7th April 2023):

“Bobby went into the local residential home earlier this week.  Along with his favourite book….”

Bob’s daughter Mariette found the website, and Bob has been sharing reminiscences of his times in South America, Africa, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, and of the people he knew at Fairey Surveys. His story of Christmas in Saudi Arabia is already on the website:
Christmas in Saudi Arabia 1967

Mariette has sent us this photograph today (21st February 2023) with the message:
“Bobby sends his love to you all”

If anyone would like to get in touch with Bob or to be remembered to him, please send your message and contact details to and we’ll forward them on to him.