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.

Malcolm Eaton RIP

Funeral arrangements have arrived from the


Monday May 16th, 3:30 pm, Easthampstead Crematorium, Bracknell.

News has come from John Tompkins that Malcolm Eaton died on 14th April. Funeral details will follow when we hear from his wife Josie. He was at Warren Lodge Home in Wokingham for the last six months, but had been ill for three years.

Malcolm joined what was then the Air Survey Company in 1956 (on the same day as John Tompkins!).

With Bix Clark, Malcolm headed up the Livingston office of Fairey Surveys, which was set up in 1973. Below is a photograph of Fairey Surveys Scotland staff from about 1974, sent in a few years ago by John Scarrott, and another which is the earliest photograph we have of Malcolm in the cricket team (but there are a number of others!), presumably at White Waltham Cricket Club, where there are also photographs of him on the walls of the clubhouse.

Faireys Surveys Scotland Ltd – Staff circa 1974 L-R Bill Clark, Isobel (Secretary), John Scarrott, Malcolm Eaton, Neil, Dave, Linda and Isabel (our four trainee draughtsmen), Graham Longley
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

Anthony (Tony) Furneaux RIP

Update from David Furneaux:

The address for messages of condolence is: David Furneaux, Seymour, Whitchurch Hill, Reading RG8 7PG.

For those unable to attend the service, David has arranged a webcast which will be broadcast live, and then available to watch for 28 days after the event. Below are the Username and Password for the webcast along with the times it will be available to view. You can login to the website at any time to view a Test Webcast, which we would recommend doing in plenty of time before the service:

Service DateFriday 19th November
Service Time1:00 pm
Service Viewing Time12:56 pm – 1:50 pm
Once the viewing window has passed the Live Webcast will then automatically close and a message will appear saying “This funeral service has now finished”. The aim is to get the watch again Webcast back online on Friday 26th November, where it will be available to view until Wednesday 29th December using the same Login Information.


Sad news has come in from David Furneaux, Tony’s son. His email is shown below:

Tony passed away on Monday 25th October at his care home in Henley. He was going downhill due to his dementia but succumbed to a chest infection. He was 94.

His funeral is on Friday, 19th November 13:00 at Reading Crematorium. We will have some drinks and snacks afterwards (TBA) to celebrate his life. Could you please communicate this to all his ex work colleagues as I’m sure you will have contact with many of them. Also, If people wish to attend the after event, could they let me know so I have a rough idea of the numbers for catering.

My Dad loved his time at Faireys. He always talked of his fondness for the people he worked with and never had a bad word to say about anyone.


David Furneaux

Please let us know at if you want to attend the after event, and the responses will be passed on to David Furneaux.

Below is a photograph of Tony at the 2004 BBQ at White Waltham, which seems a real classic, and another taken at work, where he wasn’t quite so happy!

John Cripwell, Tony Furneaux, Eileen Donovan (Storrie)

John Penrose (Jack or Pen): photographs

Mike Penrose has sent an email with photographs and cine film stills from his father, John Owen Penrose, otherwise known as Jack or Pen.

If anyone can provide information on any of them, please let us know by email ( or by using the comment form below.

Click on the photographs for a larger image.

Jack Penrose (Pen) with Rapide

Jack Penrose (Pen) with a Dragon Rapide.


Pilot Jack Penrose with DC3 Charlie Alpha

Does anyone know who the other people in the photograph are?

Update January 2021:  Ken Fostekew has identified some of these.  L to R: 1?, 2?,       3 Peter Sharman, 4?, 5?, 6 Engineer Jim Roe?, 8 Pilot John Penrose.  The others probably clients.


Unidentified plane, possibly Sierra Leone. From Jack Penrose cine film

Can anyone identify this aeroplane?  Is it a Fairey Surveys aeroplane?  Possibly photographed in Sierra Leone.  Update from Ken Fostekew January 2021:  This is a Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer, not an FSL aircraft, we used “Twin Pins” much later from Flight One at Staverton.


Unidentified plane (same as previous photo?). From Jack Penrose cine film.

Is this the same aeroplane as the previous photograph?


Anyone know who these people are? From Jack Penrose cine film.

Mike Penrose asks who is the man next to the aeroplane.  Possibly this is the same plane as in the previous photographs – note the blue stripe.  Update from Ken Fostekew January 2021:  The man on the left is Tom Kirkwood.


Image from Jack Penrose cine film

Another DC3 – Charlie Alpha again?

Neil Chisholm

Neil Chisholm (FSL 1969 to 1976) has found our website, and many of us may remember him.  He has sent a current photograph, and two older ones – one with Malcolm Eaton at White Waltham Cricket Club, and one from late 1976 with his Fairey Surveys tie.  He has included his email address if anyone would like to get in touch direct.

In his own words …..



I know this is taking COVID-19 distancing to ridiculous levels but this is Neil Chisholm ‘speaking’ to you from 884 km (549 miles) away. I realise that some of you may not know who I am but some may well remember me (and several more might well wish they didn’t) when I was at Reform Road for exactly 7 years from September 1969 (a mere 51 years ago!) to September 1976. Did also return to Maidenhead for a two-week spell (in 1977?) to run a CPD photogrammetric training course for operators but that doesn’t really count.

Lawrence Scott and Eric Holland had offered me a position straight from Glasgow University and I began as a photogrammetric operator (69-71), moved on to Project Control (71-73), then in the field as a land surveyor (73-74’ish) and finally as Mapping Research Officer (74’ish-76) where I worked closely with Bill Cheffins on various projects. So, although I was at FSL for only ~1/6th of my working life, it was the first 1/6th, and it was very influential on my subsequent career and I have very fond memories of happy albeit hard-working times. “Delivery of a job to specification and on time” was the FSL mantra and I like to think that it has been ingrained in me ever since.

I still remember the names of most of my past colleagues in each department (far too numerous to mention here) and the photographs in various places on the Fairey Surveys website jogged even more memories (and sad to see the passing of a few of them). I saw too the photograph of the 26 July 2019 reunion and I must admit to a twinge of regret that I hadn’t known about it – and the location would also have been especially nostalgic for me as I had played 7 seasons for White Waltham CC (so I both worked and played with Malcolm Eaton!).

It’d be great to hear directly from as many past colleagues and friends who feel so inclined and the easiest way would be to use the email address below. I have asked Gillian Wallace to add me to the database of folk to be contacted about future reunions as I reckon it might be worth the ~1100 mile round trip to catch up with (and surprise) some ‘well kent faces’ (whilst they, and I, are still functioning!).

With many memories



P.S. Left FSL to join the staff of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and after 21 years there moved to Inverness to assist in the creation of the new University of the Highlands and Islands. Retired in 2010 and am an active Rotarian and a keen curler (still in Inverness).

Neil Chisholm 2020

Neil Chisholm with Malcolm Eaton at White Waltham Cricket Club

Neil Chisholm late 1976 with his favourite FSL tie

Neil Chisholm and Tony Furneaux at an inter department cricket match

Peter Redford RIP

Geoff Milsom has let us know that Peter Redford, one of the Fairey Surveys pilots, has died, though as yet there are no other details.  Peter and his wife Val were at the 2019 reunion at White Waltham, and are on the left of Ken Fostekew in the clubhouse doorway on the reunion photograph – shown below.

When we know more, it will be added to the post here.

Victor (Basil) Rathbone RIP

We have had an email from Vic Rathbone’s daughter and son to let us know that he died on 8th April 2020 at the age of 92:


This is to let any of our Dad’s colleagues know that he passed away on Wednesday April 8th at the age of 92. A funeral was held In Derbyshire on Tuesday 28th April. Unfortunately because of the various Covid 19 restrictions there was limited family attendance.
He stayed mentally very sharp until the end, only stopping playing Bridge last year, but had been struggling with his health this year.
We believe he joined Faireys in 1954 when he left the army and married our mother. They emigrated to what was then Southern Rhodesia in 1957 and he rejoined Faireys on their return in 1964.
He loved his job and stayed at Faireys In Maidenhead for the rest of his working life, until he retired in November 1992, surviving many changes to the company including the change to Clyde Surveys, working in several departments over the years and making many friends.
Many of his colleagues and friends predeceased him but we are sure there are still a few people who will remember him.
Anne Woodward
Dave Rathbone
Vic was nicknamed ‘Basil’ after the actor Basil Rathbone, who played Sherlock Holmes in the classic ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’ film in 1939.
There are a couple of photographs on the website, copied here:
This photograph came from an album of Southern Rhodesia photographs from John Keay, passed on by Lawrence Scott.
Basil is number 26 on the far left of this photograph of Clyde Surveys staff in Maidenhead.  Does anyone have a date for the photograph?
If anyone has any other photographs or stories, please send them in ( and we’ll add them here, or post a comment below.

Peter Green RIP

Sad news has come in from Jan Karalus that Peter Green died on Wednesday 22nd February 2020.  Peter was a Land Surveyor with Fairey Surveys for many years, and during his time there worked on surveys for some historic infrastructure projects.  To mention just a few: the Channel Tunnel (both sides), the M!/M6 motorway link, Dungeness “B” power station and the Humber Bridge.  He (and his Mk 1 Land Rover) were remembered by Ross Dallas, in an article on land surveying at Fairey Surveys in the late 1960s (link below).

Land Surveying article by Ross Dallas

Dave Hadden, who joined Fairey Surveys as a new graduate in 1976, wrote of his memories working with Peter (link below).

Dave Hadden tribute to Peter Green

A trawl through the Fairey Surveys Newsletters (all on the website) has come up with the following articles about the high precision surveys that Peter did – two have photographs that look very like him:

FSL Newsletter 11, November 1973: Nuclear Power Survey

FSL Newsletter 13, October 1974: New Equipment for High Precision Survey Unit

FSL Newsletter 18, January 1978: Dungeness “B” Report wins prize

FSL Newsletter 22, January 1980: Survey Control for Bridges

More recently Peter was regular fixture at the reunions at White Waltham Cricket Club.  There is a good photograph of him on the 2013 reunion photograph, which was posted with a key to the attendees (Peter is #17):

FSL 2013 Reunion

Peter’s daughter Anne-Marie has sent in this photograph of him taken on 27th December 2019.

The funeral will be at Reading Crematorium on 14th February at 13:30 (please note change of time from 12:00 originally published).