I never met Stan in person: our short friendship was formed over the air. The first QSO we had was in 2014. When hearing that he was not getting any replies to his CQ calls I answered him. We exchanged the usual information and pleasantries; I did not expect to hear from him again or at least not so soon.
The next week I received a letter from him. In it he told me that my QTH, near Mablethorpe, had rung a bell with him but at the time of our QSO he could not remember why. Later he recalled that he had visited the town in 1943 when on a gunnery course at RAF Manby, about five miles from me. And so began our one of many letters and e-mails over the following months. We also had a regular sked on 40m.
Stan tried to join the Royal Navy in 1940 but was told to come back when he was old enough. By the time he was eighteen he had become interested in the RAF and volunteered. He received training as a WOP/AG (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner), eventually joining RCAF 420 squadron flying Wellington bombers from bases in Tunisia. From there the squadron attacked targets in support of the landings at Salerno. Returning to the UK, the squadron converted to Halifax bombers. Flying from bases in Yorkshire, Stan completed 30 operations over Germany and neighbouring countries. He was then ‘rested’ and then retrained for duties on Lancasters, preparing to be sent East against Japan. The dropping of the atom bomb forestalled that deployment.
After the War Stan became an accountant but renewed his interest in radio by becoming an SWL. He passed the RAE in 1957. He became a DX chaser, constructor and a member of RAFARS. In his latter years he gave up the first two and, living in an apartment, operated on fairly low power with an indoor loop antenna.
He invited me to visit him but sadly I didn’t get the chance. In October 2015 he told me he had an appointment at hospital because of a recurring problem with arteries in his legs and that he wouldn’t be on the air for a week or so. I continued calling him at scheduled times and sent him regular e-mails and post but did not get any replies. In the March 2016 issue of RadCom Stan was listed as a Silent Key. He was 92.
I write this obituary to acknowledge the debt we owe to Stan, and many like him, who had their lives interrupted by the most terrible of events and that the passing of a fellow amateur should not go unnoticed.
Tribute by E F Lingard, G3WNQ
Category: Silent Keys