Sadly we have to report the passing of on of our older members. Vic Skeet recently passed away and I have attached an obituary written by Vic’s nephew, Arthur Catling. Vic was a regular at our monthly meetings until quite recently.
AN OBITUARY -
Vic was born 15th March 1920 and died two weeks before his 99th Birthday on the 1st March.
He left school in 1934 at the age of 14 and applied for job delivering bread for the Cooperative society in Ipswich in which he was successful. Part of the criteria for the job was to attend night school and take several exams. He passed these and sent to work as a Warehouse boy in Carr Street. He then progressed to delivering milk from hand drawn carts to driving a horse drawn vehicle .
Victor Joined the RAF in 1938 and was stationed at several stations in Britain before being posted to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) far east where he served out his national service . He had no contact with his wife Eva for ten months and it was 3 years before they saw each other again. He met with Douglas Badar at Martlesham and had a few choice words with him about taking an aircraft Vic was working on for a test flight. Vic refused to let Douglas take the log book!
Vic failed his pilot test and re took this but could only do two test flights because of enemy hostilities. Vic was part of the 273 Squadron and fought tirelessly with other comrades to see the badge recognised.
After the War Vic returned to his old job at the diary at Boss Hall as a delivery driver for the milk.
Vic never had children but was surrounded by his twin sister Edna , an older brother and 2 further sisters Alice and Doris.
In later years Vic continued his love for aircraft and was fortunate enough to be one of the last people to fly on Concorde. He was awarded a certificate for this and was given several pieces of memorabilia of this experience. He also flew in a Tiger Moth at Duxford and has some great photos of this.
He was a member of several ex airman RAF clubs and kept in touch with colleagues through these until his ailing health prevented him from participating in the activities / social events .
Vic was an avid Ipswich Town fan and liked nothing better to watch his beloved team play. He installed sky in his home to ensure he could watch all games when his poor health stopped him from going to the games. Vic was part of the Ipswich Town supporters club and was mentioned in one of the publications ‘ Ipswich Till I die ‘ where he reminisced about the old players and achievements of them.
Vic had to be moved to a care home late in 2018 due to his health and had accepted that this was to be his home. His trusty friend ‘ pretty Boy ‘ the yellow canary was unable to go with him but has taken up residence at Vic’s nephews and will be 18 years old this year. Until a week ago, Vic was still communicating but unfortunately due to fluid on his lungs and a weak heart he finally gave up his fight for life and is now at rest with his beloved Eva.
Arthur Catling. (Nephew).
Our meeting on Friday 5th April attracted another very good attendance for a talk by David Horton, "Grandma Flew Spitfires." The amazing story of the Air Transport Auxiliary, whose job during WW2 was to ferry aircraft from the manufacturers to the operational airfields.
1,152 male pilots were employed in this vital role, but it was the 168 female pilots who have attracted so much interest in an era which at first considered women to be unsuitable for this role. Initially women applicants were ignored, but needs must and with a shortage of pilots the women of the Air Transport Auxiliary were to become famous in this role.
David explained that eventually women ATA pilots routinely flew up to 5 or 6 different types of aircraft in one day. Given the enormous flying characteristics of different aircraft types this was extraordinary flying skill. Some of the women ferried heavy bombers alone, with just a flight engineer on board. All this when ATA pilots flew without radio assistance simply by following the railway lines and roads to their destinations. Sadly there were inevitably fatalities amongst the ATA pilots due mostly to bad weather conditions. Another amazing story of courage to come out of WW2.
David Horton came all the way from the Maidenhead area to deliver a most fascinating story and a vote of thanks was given by our President, Richard Barker.