Dad died just over two weeks ago, at around 01:30 in his sleep.  The last time I saw him was a few hours before he died.  He couldn't speak, so I talked to him for about 15 minutes.  He was 91.

Keith had lived a full, and at times highly adventurous life.  Born in south Wales, he grew up in a world where cars were a rarity, and electricity non-existent.  His father worked as a chemist at the local cement factory, and dad would ride on the footplate of the company steam train as it hauled the trucks to the main line connection.  Fun was tying the axles of two delivery carts together with a piece of rope and watching the horses try to pull in opposite directions.

When WW2 was declared he took a train to London and volunteered for the RAF - he wanted to fly.  They sent him home, saying they had enough pilots, and a few months later he was called up into the army.  As soon as he could he applied for a transfer to the RAF, and again, and again.  The the Glider regiment was formed and he joined that instead.

I'd always known dad as being blind in one eye, deaf in one ear and with limited sense of taste and smell.  He always counted himself as lucky.  These injuries, caused by a crash in the north African desert at night, due to a tow-rope failure, meant he saw no further action and so was spared Scilly, Arnhem, D-Day and all the other actions where so many glider pilots and co-pilots were killed.

After the war he met and married mum (Jeanne), and they went to live in South Africa for around ten years, where my sister and I were born.  Back in the UK in the early 60's we lived in the deepest heart of suburbia, Berrylands, in Surbiton, and dad stayed there, living alone from when mum died 12 years ago, and managing at first splendidly, and then determindley, until his final illness began.

He will be remembered by his freinds as a happy, courteous and conscientious man, and by me as an often remote and distant father who I came to understand much better in later years, one of the many millions of heroes of his generation.
10/3/2009

He sounds like he had a remarkable life, Dave. RIP

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Jed
7/7/2013

Came across your site whilst doing some research on the glider pilot regiment and your father. Assuming I have the right chap (service number 6145259) could you drop me an email?

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