Oldest RAF Veterans?

Profile picture for user Dave Homewood

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15 years 10 months

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I was wondering, with the RAF Centenary celebrations going on right now, has the RAF been able to determine who their oldest living veterans of the service are? Have they been part of the commemorations?

Original post

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9 years 10 months

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I doubt they have any way of knowing, unless a family member comes forward.

Profile picture for user Alan Clark

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14 years 11 months

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In theory it should be quite easy to go to pensions and see who is still receiving a pension.

Profile picture for user powerandpassion

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7 years 6 months

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I’ll start it off with 102 : my father, Melbourne, Australia, ex 305 (Polish)Sq, still mentis compis, or mentos composers if you believe spell check. It would be nice, maybe around RAF100, to untwist a knot in RAF history, where Polish servicemen were denied participation in Victory March or Flypast, to keep Stalin happy. Give the old rooster an official invitation, on behalf of Polish ex servicemen, to lead any March, ahead of any potential Russian participation. He can always say no.

Profile picture for user powerandpassion

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7 years 6 months

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My father passed away, on the way to 103, on the 31st May 2019. Some of his wartime experiences were described here :

https://forum.keypublishing.com/forum/historic-aviation/133192-aviation-memorials-in-nottinghamshire-2014/page2

As a child, born during WW1, he learnt about the song Imperial Russian sailors sang on the way to their ill fated Battle of Tsushima in 1905, could describe the wheelbarrows of cash used in the German economic collapse in the early 20's, was arrested by Mussolini's secret police while photographing the Abbysinian Triumphal March through Rome in the late 30's, dodged the Katyn massacre in 1940, survived a Russian Gulag and ended his RAF career flying documents from the Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal back to London. So a quiet chat with him was a walk through that great, crazy thing called the 20th Century. I will miss him. He lived astonishing ages past Stalin and Hitler, who tried their best to eliminate him, saw the Moon landing, built a new life from nothing in a safe and generous country called Australia and passed away surrounded by the richness of grandchildren. In Polish they say , 'Sto Lat' , may you 'Live 100 years', as a benediction,which he did certainly live.

Profile picture for user Ant.H

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20 years

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My father passed away, on the way to 103, on the 31st May 2019.

RIP and sincere condolences to you P&P and family.

We hear so many harrowing stories about those who escaped occupied countries that it almost starts to sound like hype, but lives like your father's bring us firmly back down to earth and prove that these sorts of things really did happen. Many thanks for sharing his story. Do you have any plans to write a book or article about him?

Profile picture for user DH82EH

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7 years

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Thanks for sharing that with us Ed.
I am sure that having him with you until almost 103 will remain one of the great fortunes of your families lives.
Much respect to him and my condolences to your family.

Kindest regards

Andy Scott

Profile picture for user l.garey

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13 years 10 months

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Condolences to powerandpassion. What a remarkable person your father was.

It made me think again about the post by Dave Homewood last year wondering about the oldest living RAF veterans. My candidate is a mere youngster at 98, but he must be in the running, with a number of others. I am thinking of Tony Tubbenhauer. Although in the RAAF, he flew Blenheims with 244 Squadron RAF in 1942 and Baltimores with 203 in 1943.

I wrote about him some time ago https://sites.google.com/site/lgarey/tonytubbenhauer.

He is happily and healthily retired (!) in Queensland, and I hear from him frequently.

Profile picture for user One of the Few

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8 years 5 months

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Battle of Britain pilot Paul Farnes is still going aged 100. He will be 101 if he makes his birthday on July 18th.

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14 years 3 months

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Project Propeller, hosted this year at Coventry, had over 100 raf aircrew veterans yesterday, aged between 95 and 101.

Profile picture for user powerandpassion

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7 years 6 months

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Thanks Ant H - he wrote his memoirs after a few decades of prodding in his 90's, so no need to write again. He kept a diary in the gulag, a few almost indecipherable notes on stolen, repurposed paper and one stub of a pencil. In going through his translation extraordinary things leap out in short lines, in this case on a train in Russia : "-30 degrees, (on) train, back and bottom (frozen) stuck to (wagon) side". He called all this "unremarkable, of no interest". I pushed him to write for his unborn great grandchildren and am glad he did. Perhaps in the future I will add side notes to explain the context of events and photos. Already my kids mix up WW1 with Vietnam.

Thanks Andy and L Garey for condolences. We had a Mosquito nosecone on his wooden coffin, let him mix it with some Luftwaffe pilots in the afterlife.

Those old pilots and ground crew seem to have been around forever, but they go in a flash, then you can't ask any more questions. I guess in the next 5 years there won't be any left. Don't hold back asking questions.

By the way, there seems to be a habit of prying brass plaques from gravestones to earn a few quid to put into your veins. In Australia, brass based Polish checkerboard 'roundels' were put on graves to commemorate Polish aircrew and have gone missing. I have made 50 aluminium based checkerboard roundels, about 2 inch x 2 inch, to give to historically minded individuals or relatives who may want to place or replace these on graves of Polish aircrew. They are powdercoated with UV stabilised red and white and can be glued on with a good, strong construction adhesive. So if you know a gravestone that is missing one, get in touch. They cost about 15 quid each, don't want any money, but at least send a photo of the grave and a bit of story so the postage spent goes to a fair cause.