Category Archives: Father

Remembering

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Thursday 5th October

   

Remembering my father Hank.

   
4.2.1932 – 5.10.2009

     
“If there is another world, he lives in bliss

If not another, he made the most of this”

      

An RAF fighter jet pilot, sailor, skiier, swimmer, water polo player, golfer, orator, cook, writer, sommelier, painter, actor, model….

A little more about my father…..

    

Eight years ago today.

Pancreatic cancer.

     

Frank and Hank

My son     My father

Fly free

xxxxxx

Happy birthday Hank

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Saturday 4th February
  

Happy birthday to my father

A life well-lived and so fast-paced

He would be eighty five today

Always fun, never straight-laced.

  

And on World Cancer Day…………

My father ~ Pancreatic Cancer

My son ~ Testicular Cancer

Me ~ Metastatic Malignant Melanoma

   

Missing you my Angel father Hank

Missing you my Angel son Frank.

xxxxxx

Hank and I. August 2008

Hank and Prince Charles

4.2.1932  –  5.10.2009

Remembering when we were in Scotland and HRH Prince Charles was taken on a two hour, supersonic flying sortie with Hank in a Phantom fighter-bomber. The flight included an air-to-air refuelling exercise with a Victor tanker, taking on 1200 gallons of fuel. They flew as high as 40,000 feet and as low as 1000 feet, making a pass over Balmoral, (reported at the time, as an ‘extrovert flourish’).

Hank and his three children ~ me, my sister and brother ~ early 70’s 

Hank and my mum. Receiving the bar to his AFC

Phantoms over Scotland

Dad’s birthday

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Friday 14th October
  

Today is Dad’s birthday, and I’m sure you would have wished him a Happy Birthday in your own cheeky and mischievous way.

We missed you being here today; celebrating birthdays is really not the same anymore. It’s all a bit low key now. Rather muted and quite sombre. Almost as if you’re not allowed to smile and have fun. I know it shouldn’t be that way, and you certainly wouldn’t want it like that, but it just seems disrespectful, or unnerving somehow, to ‘celebrate’, knowing you’re not here to join in.

Thinking of you always.

Missing you like crazy.

Love you forever.

Beloved Angel son.

xxxxxx

Dad, your brother and you. Australia 1990

You, your brother and Dad, climbing trees in our garden. Australia 1991

You and Dad, on your 7th birthday. Merimbula, NSW.

Father

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Wednesday 5th October

  
Seven years ago today, my father passed away from pancreatic cancer.

Here is a little of his story that I wrote last year.

My post from a year ago

Hank was a big part of our lives every summer when we visited America and the islands, and stayed on his yacht. Starting in 1994 when we went to Bermuda, to Tobago, the Virgin Islands, the Keys, through to 2009 (when he passed away) in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; we always had great adventures.

I hope you and your grandfather meet up for a laugh, a hug, and a long chat about all the good times you spent together.

Frank and Hank.

My son and my father.

Miss you both.

Love you forever.

xxxxxx

Low tide in the harbour this afternoon

High flight

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Thursday 4th February

Today would have been my father’s eighty fourth birthday.
He succumbed to pancreatic cancer in October 2009.
He was a fighter pilot and flew many different aircraft, all over the world.

The poem, High Flight, by John Gillespie Magee, an American, serving with the RCAF, flying spitfires in WWII, seems a very apt and appropriate tribute to my father.

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My father, flying the lightning in the foreground, for 56 squadron

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My father visiting the Canadian RAF, in front of a starfighter

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My father bringing the fleeing Shah of Persia to England in an English Electric Lightning

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My father, in front of his F4 phantom

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Phantoms, 43 squadron in formation

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My father, in his phantom, shadowing a Russian 'bear'

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My father with members of the Blue Angels aerobatic team

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My father, teaching Prince Charles to fly the phantom

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56 squadron in Cyprus. My father exiting his lightning

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My father, on board his yacht Rum Raisin

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Hank n Frank, Tobago, 2002

In the last picture, here you are with your grandfather Hank.
(He disliked the names of Dad, Daddy, Father, Grandfather; so everyone called him Hank.)
We had so many wonderful sailing adventures with him on board his yachts.

Give each other a hug.

Miss you, my Angel father, Hank.
Love you, my Angel son, Frank.

Flying high together.

xxx xxx

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Dad’s birthday

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Wednesday 14th October

Another first…….
Dad’s first birthday without you being here.
Without your card, or morning birthday greetings.
Dad missed you a lot today.
It was so quiet without you.

We remember so many good times together.

Dearest Angel son.
We grow older, and you remain forever thirty years old.
Just wish it wasn’t so.

Love you forever.
xxxxx

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You and Dad. Bahia Honda State Park, The Keys

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You and Dad. Universal Studios

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You and Dad. Seuss Landing, Universal

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You and Dad. Hawaiian Luau, Sea World

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You and Dad. Aquatica

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You and Dad. Busch Gardens

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You and Dad. Christmas Eve, Disney World

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You and Dad. Hilton Head Island

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You and Dad this morning

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Dad and I this afternoon

We just knew we were having fun

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Monday 5th October

“We didn’t realise
We were making
Memories
We just knew
We were having
Fun.”

Six years ago today my father passed away from pancreatic cancer. It was officially diagnosed that summer, whilst we were visiting him in South Carolina, but he had been feeling ill for some months.

He lived an extraordinary life, coming into contact with royalty, prime ministers, actors, union leaders, professional golfers, rock stars, cowboys, jazz musicians ……. the amazing list goes on and on.

His story began in Surrey, England on February 4th 1932.
We didn’t call him Dad, Daddy or Father. To his three children, (and everyone else for that matter), he was always know as Hank. (Although at school, his nickname had been Buster).
He was educated at Sutton Grammar School, evacuated to Windsor during the war, and then joined the RAF College at Cranwell.

For several years he flew at the Farnborough Air Show with his Blue Diamonds Aerobatic team (Hunter jets), also travelling all over the world with them, flying at air shows and gala events.

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Lightnings and Thunderbirds

He then moved on to the English Electric Lightning with 92 and 56 Squadrons. He had many postings to Cyprus and Malta during these times.

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Hank foreground, 56 Squadron

In 1966 he was part of the team of sixteen Lightnings who flew in a tribute flypast over the launch carrying Sir Winston Churchill’s coffin up the River Thames at the end of the State Funeral.

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Hank, fifth from left

Hank was presented with the Air Force Cross for Distinguished Service by the Queen at Buckingham Place in 1966. This was awarded to Hank for bringing the fleeing Shah of Persia (Iran), to England.

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Hank escorting the fleeing Shah out of Persia

In 1967 he was posted to Singapore, for two years, where he became the second-in-command of the three British Armed Services. Our family had some terrific experiences and holidays in the Far East. It was where I began my high school education.

Upon his return to the UK in 1969, he reformed 43 Squadron at RAF Leuchars in Scotland.

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Hank. Phantom. 43 Squadron

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Hank shadowing a Russian 'bear'

It was during this time that HRH Prince Charles was taken on a two hour, supersonic flying sortie with Hank in a Phantom fighter-bomber. The flight included an air-to-air refuelling exercise with a Victor tanker, taking on 1200 gallons of fuel. They flew as high as 40,000 feet and as low as 1000 feet, making a pass over Balmoral, (reported at the time, as an ‘extrovert flourish’).

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Hank instructing Prince Charles

During his time in Scotland he received the Bar to the AFC at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh. This was bestowed upon him by The Queen Mother.

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Hank with AFC and bar

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The Queen's birthday flypast

In 1972 Hank made the decision to leave the RAF, travelled to Camper Nicholson in Portsmouth, bought a yacht and sailed himself across the Atlantic.

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Crossing the Atlantic in Western Union

Since then he spent many happy years sailing though the Islands from Venezuela to Chesapeake, in and around Bermuda, and across the Pacific from the Marquesas to New Zealand.

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Rum Raisin in Bermuda

During the late seventies he bought a ranch in Durango, Colorado and rekindled his love of skiing. At that time he was driving a black and gold Pontiac Trans Am and flying a Queenair Beechcraft to the Grand Canyon, Palm Springs and Santa Monica.

However, his passion for sailing soon returned and he again found himself travelling up and down the East Coast of America.

During the last fifteen or so years of his life, he made North Myrtle Beach his port, leaving every now and again to visit Tobago, the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Venezuela and the Keys.

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Wild Blue in the Keys

Throughout his life, Hank had a passion for golf, playing courses all over the world, from Spyglass Hill, Pebble Beach; Troon in Scotland; Wentworth in Surrey, to the Singapore Island Country Club, where he regularly played with Lee Kwan Yew, the then Prime Minister of Singapore.

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Contemplating the 'gator at Tiger's Eye Golf Course

Whilst in North Myrtle Beach, he was part of a group of golfing buddies who played three times a week in and around North and South Carolina. He treasured their friendship enormously.

Hank was always a gracious host on his sailboats (Western Union, Rum Raisin, and latterly Wild Blue), taking friends on wonderful, day-sailing trips on the ocean.
We also became ‘boat gypsies’ for our summer holidays, and joined him wherever his yacht happened to be anchored. We had some marvellous sailing adventures together. We were so lucky.

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Wild Blue in Tobago

He had a great love, knowledge and appreciation for gourmet food, as well as an appropriate, fine wine to accompany it. Hank was always an excellent “sommelier” at dinner parties with close friends.

Few people knew of his great artistic ability with oil or watercolours, or of his talent as an actor, having appeared in several local commercials.

Hank was not one to verbalise his own talents, but he was totally dedicated and passionate about anything he endeavoured to do.

His free spirit could best be described by lines from a novel by John Berendt. Hank was the “Cosmos Mariner” ~ “Destination Unknown”

(Taken from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: John Berendt is talking to Miss Harty while they drink martinis in the cemetery:

“Aiken [Conrad Aiken] loved to come here and watch the ships go by,” she said. “One afternoon, he saw one with the name Cosmos Mariner painted on the bow. That delighted him. The word ‘cosmos’ appears often in his poetry, you know. That evening he went home and looked for mention of the Cosmos Mariner in the shipping news. There it was, in tiny type on the list of ships in port. The name was followed by the comment ‘Destination Unknown.’ That pleased him even more.”)

Hank made many long-lasting acquaintances worldwide; from those in the RAF, the USAF and CAF; to the sailors, golfers and many who became part of his wide circle of friends.

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Hank and I

Miss you Hank.
Give Frank a great big hug.
xxxxx

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Franks' flowers today