Dickie BATES writes:
'David, well known to many in the Air Arm, and died at the age of 81. He lived a very full and active life but was quite ill with Osteoporosis in the last few years of his life. He died on 11 May 2009.
He joined the Navy, at Dartmouth in 1941 and volunteered to train as a Pilot at the first opportunity which was in 1948. He completed his OFT as a FIREFLY pilot and was sent to a Squadron on board HMS Theseus heading for Korea. However, he had trouble with deck-landing and was put ashore at Halfar to join 812 NAS for further training. While there he married Sue in December 1950. It was where I first met them, in Malta.
812 had been fully manned for Korea so David returned to the UK and joined the 'Clockwork Mice' at Henstridge. With all the ADDLS, 10 landings a sortie, and trips to the Carrier for Batsmen training he soon became 'a very capable Deck Landing Pilot'.
So on to 825 Squadron, under 'Chico' ROBERTS, he went to Korea on board Ocean. He next jpined 737 at Eglinton, trained as an AWI and became an Instructor on the OFT, before transferring to Helicopters and 845 which included the landing of Marines during the 'Suez' adventure.
A temporary appointment as Little F at Anthorn was next before joining and conducting a full tour as Instructor at The Petty Officers Leadership School at Corsham. He went on to the RAF Staff College at Bracknell.
In 1960, he was appointed CO of 705 NAS the Helicopter Flying Training School. An immense job which he conducted with great leadership and was greatly admired. So much so he was appointed to 824 NAS and again led with distinction.
However, an extraordinary lapse saw him 'ditch' his Helo just short of Portland having run out of Fuel. His Lordships were so displeased that he was sent to be First Lieutenant of the Barracks at Sea Eagle, Londonderry, surely the 'kiss of death'? While there though he was soon seen at the nearby RAF Station where there was a Naval Squadron 7/819 where he was able to persuade all and sundry to let him fly as First or Second pilot in all and anything that got in the air, including Gliders. His motto was always 'if an aircraft is sitting on the hard standing, empty and doing nothing, get in and fly it!'
Fortunately their Lordships relented and in June 1965 he was selected for promotion to Commander. He had an interesting and active series of appointments including Washington USA, FONAC, the RAF Air Warfare Course, Northwood, the Mod and latterly as the Defence Attache to Venezuela. As versatile a Senior Officers jobs as you could wish for. However, one of the best was still to come. He was invited to extend his service for a further 3 years and became the FAA representative on the Admiralty Interview Board an appointment he really relished as he happily saw new fresh blood wanting to join the Royal Navy.
David and Sue lived at Ringstead Bay, Dorset for over 40 years. He had a great love of the sea, was an excellent artist, with some of his fine works in the FAA Museum. He was always greatly exercised by Railway Trains, both Steam and Models. He loved the Navy, was passionate about flying and adored his loving family. He is survived by his wife Sue and his two sons who recently retired, Nigel, a 'Salthorse' Commander and Tim an Acting Captain in the FAA.
David's funeral at St. Osmond's, Osmington, Dorset on 22 May 2009 was attended by family and many naval friends. A LYNX helicopter flew over and dipped in salute as David was buried in the lovely small cemetery at St. Catherine's Holworth with a view of the Bay which he loved so much.'