Remembered by: Diana Newson
Date added: 6 Aug 2008
"Joe" Douglas died in Southampton on 17th July 2003 aged 80. His service with the RAF began in 1938 as an apprentice clerk. He spent most of the war years in Canada - finally getting his wish to train as a pilot in early 1945. After the war he was posted to No. 3 SFTS, where he taught navigation, then to CFS Little Rissington. In 1947 he was found to have high-tone deafness, taken off flying and trained as an Air Traffic Controller. He was then posted to Germany where the Berlin Air Lift was taking place.
In 1950 he was sent back to UK and pilot refresher and instructor courses at Little Rissington. In early 1951 he was posted to No 5 SFTS at RAF Thornhill, Rhodesia. By this time he had the rank of Temporary Flt Lt, which was confirmed in March 1953. He returned to UK a few months later, but not before taking part in the Southern Rhodesian Centenary Air Rally.
Back in the UK he was posted to the Home Command Examining Unit at White Waltham, Berkshire. In 1957 he applied for a posting to 173 (Ferry) Squadron at Hawarden, Cheshire, then a few months later he was posted to Ferry Support Squadron, RAF Benson, Oxfordshire.
In June 1958 he was offered a posting to Singapore and accepted. A month later he arrived at RAF Changi, however, a few weeks later he was sent on detachment to RAF Katunayake, Ceylon. There he ferried supplies to the island of Gan during the building of the airstrip and staging post. A few months later he returned to RAF Changi and No 52 Squadron, where he transported personnel and VIPs around the Far East in a specially fitted out Valetta.
In 1961 he returned to the UK and RAF Benson. At this time he decided to leave the RAF and got a job at the Air Ministry in London.
However, he hated being behind a desk and, after some searching, found a position as a flying instructor at Hamble College of Air Training in Hampshire.
In 1969 he lost his pilots licence because of high blood pressure and after a spell as an insurance agent he joined the Law Society as a clerk and was moved to Brighton.
After several years of retirement he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and eventually moved back to Southampton, where he finally died in a nursing home.
Joe was not an easy person to get to know but as an instructor he took great pains with his pupils and was liked and respected by them. He had two hobbies in his life, both of which he was passionate about. In the early years in the RAF his hobby was rifle and pistol shooting, which he was very good at - winning many trophies and medals. In Rhodesia he also took up golf, which quickly became an obsession! A few years later his wife, fed up with never seeing him, gave hime an ultimatum - shooting or golf. He chose golf and enjoyed his hobby right up until his illness made it impossible to play.
This is a salute to my father who led a full and enjoyable life, I miss him.