M.186 First Officer  Richard 'Dick' Fairey 

flag england

  b. 21 Nov 1916, Iver Bucks 26 Aug 1940 to Dec-41 

 ata richard fairey 1935      

 

Son of Sir Charles Richard Fairey MBE, the aircraft designer and industrialist. He joined his father's firm in the jig and tool office in 1936, then transferred to the design office.

Educated at Harrow and Cambridge

Address in 1940: Sutherland Grange, Oakley Green, Windsor

Special Characteristics: "High blood pressure, must not fly high"


A "very good pilot, good worker" but he suffered ill-health for most of 1941: 4 Jan to 11 Jun, ischio-rectal abcess; 22 Jun to 5 Jul, multiple minor injuries, and 18 Sep to 25 Nov, injury to back and knee.

He resigned from the ATA in December 1941.


Shortly afterwards, on the 24 Jan 1942, on his way to the USA to visit his father, his ship (the Norwegian vessel Ringstad) was torpedoed and he spent six days in a open boat. As a result of frostbite and exposure, both his legs were amputated below the knee.

"At 15.25 hours on 24 Jan 1942 the Ringstad (Master Jacob K. Knudstad), straggling from convoy ON-55 due to several days of stormy weather, was hit on the starboard side in the foreship by one torpedo from U-333 about 85 miles southeast of Cape Race. All on board abandoned ship in three lifeboats and were questioned by the U-boat that surfaced after the ship sank after 20 minutes by the bow. The Germans offered water and food to the survivors and told them the direction of the nearest land before leaving the area after wishing them good luck.

The lifeboats were separated in the stormy and cold weather. Two lifeboats containing 27 crew members and three passengers were never seen again. Only the motor boat of the master that was completely covered in ice was spotted after five days by an aircraft that escorted a convoy and sent USS Swanson (DD 443) to rescue the master and eleven other survivors in it. The exhausted men were landed at Reykjavik on 5 February."

[In case you ever look up the Times' obituary, you will find that they mistakenly thought that Dick was torpedoed in 1941 on his way to join the Atlantic Ferry Organisation. However, Dick, as his personnel file confirms, was ill for most of 1941, and was not seconded to Atfero. The Times reporter may have thought that Dick was on the SS Nerissa, which was indeed torpedoed in 1941, but she was bringing American ATA pilots to Britain - 11 of the 13 pilots on board were killed. Dick also said in April 1942 that he had been on a Norwegian ship which was torpedoed.]

After WWII Richard rejoined Fairey and became a Director and later Vice-Chairman. He also became "an outstanding private pilot", and flew for the company all over the world.

He  was also a keen follower of powerboats; the 'Fairey Huntress' class of marine motor cruisers was his idea, apparently. He entered his Huntress in the 1960 Miami - Nassau race but this blew up and sank, the crew escaping unharmed. d. 27 Jul 1960 - Villa Benefiat, Cannes, "as a result of physical disabilities which followed injuries he received in the Second World War."


 Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):download grey

 

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