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.
The funeral service for Ron Neal was held on 21st April 2015. It was attended by his widow Sylvia, family, friends and neighbours, and a number of old colleagues from Fairey Surveys, including Geoff Milsom, Bob Berris and Ken and Jean Fostekew. It is hoped that it can be arranged for Ron’s ashes to scattered on White Waltham airfield a bit later in the summer.
Ken Fostekew has given us this brief obituary:
Ron was a 16 year old ATC Cadet attached to the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), along with Don Ellis. Ron had some memorable flights with the ATA and was full of yarns. He flew with Jim Mollison to Hulavington in a Ventura and had to crawl into the tail to release the tailwheel as it had jammed, and for that Jim treated Ron to a slap up lunch in the mess. On another occasion Ron and another cadet went to Scotland with Gerard d’Erlanger in a PBY Catalina flying boat for mooring training. At the end of each session both boys were soaked to the skin, and d’Erlanger gave them each £1 for their supper and a trip to the cinema. Ron also flew with Lettice Curtis and Joan Hughes, pioneering ATA women pilots, in Halifaxes, Lancasters etc.
Ron obtained his PPL and was a founder member of the embryo Fairey Aviation Flying Club at White Waltham. After his many years as a pilot with Fairey Surveys, redundancy happened, as it did with many of us. Ron then moved to Lydd in Kent and flew with a company photographing shipping in the channel (possibly for US Naval Intelligence) until retirement age at 65. His last years were spent house bound and then bed ridden.
If anyone has any special memories or stories about Ron Neal, we would be happy to add them to this page to share with the FSL community. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New has come in from Ken Fostekew that Ron Neal has passed away. Ron was one of Fairey Surveys’ well known and loved pilots. More details will be posted when they arrive.
Ron is fourth from the left in this photograph from Len Sellwood of the crew from a Nigeria survey in 1974