31 Jan 1920 - 13 May 2017
Date added: 29 May 2017
My father, Sid Wood, was born in the small village of Churston Ferrers, in South Devon, just a few miles inland from Brixham.
His father, Alfred or Fred Wood, was described on Sid's birth certificate as a rabbit trapper. His mother Agnes or Aggie (nee Taylor) took in washing. Despite these humble beginnings Sid dreamed of flying and read everything he could on the subject. His chance came when he passed the RAF entrance exam and joined the 33rd entry of RAF apprentices in January 1936. Sadly he was unable to become a pilot because he did not have perfect eyesight, so instead he became an aircraft engineer. This put him on the path for his future career.
He served with No 13 Army Cooperation Squadron maintaining Lysanders used for photo reconnaisance in Northern France during the 'phoney war' between 1939 and 1940, and escaped from Dunkirk aboard a paddle steamer in May that year. He was just 19.
After being demobbed from the RAF in 1946, Sid joined Supermarine in Hampshire and became known as George after the music hall star 'Wee Georgie Wood'. In 1957 he moved to Cheltenham in Gloucestershire with his family and began working for Dowty. He officially retired in 1983, by which time he had become Technical Director at Dowty Rotol. He continued as a consultant for Dowty for a further 16 years, until he finally retired in 1999, aged nearly 80.
Dad became a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1946, and was elected a Fellow of the RAeS in the 1960s. He was almost certainly one of the oldest-ever members of the Society. He had become a recognised expert on undercarriage design across the world.
Dad passed away on 13 May 2017 after a short illness. He had seen and lived the history of aviation for 97 years.