Recent Posts

Comments?

 

Have you got any thoughts on this feature?  Do you want to have your say?  If so please get in touch with us using the form below:

Thanks! Message sent.

Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square

BA's Veteran flyer


96-YEAR-OLD WWII VETERAN GETS BACK IN THE COCKPIT

Former RAF pilot Frank Dell, 96, can today be found making his way through the hallways of his Bupa care home in Sydney. In his younger years however, he was flying high over Germany in World War II, even carrying Royals, before joining British Airways as a commercial pilot.


Born in Hove in 1923, Frank grew up on the Sussex coast and joined the Royal Air Force in 1941, quickly rising to the role of Flight Lieutenant. His six years in the Royal Air Force were spent behind the controls of a De Havilland Mosquito flying over Germany during World War II.

It was a risky role, as Franks recalls: “In 1944, I lost a good friend of mine who also happened to be my navigator when our plane was shot down in Münster along the western edge of Germany near the Krupp armament factory. “It all happened so quickly. One minute I was in the plane at 28 thousand feet and the next moment I was in the fresh air,” he said.

Frank was confronted by some horrific scenes as he trekked through European countryside.

“I was actually walking for four nights and didn’t link up with anyone until the fifth day. As you can imagine, I was incredibly worn out and tired.”

Thankfully Frank survived the war and after leaving the RAF moved to Marlow in Buckinghamshire, where he raised two sons with his wife, Isabel. Keen to stay in the cockpit, Frank was quick to explore roles with other airlines after the war.

“Being a pilot was beyond the reach of average people like me in terms of the cost. Then the war came along and paved the way for me to learn to fly,” Mr Dell said.

“When my time came to be released, there was no job for me in the air force, so I started with British European Airways. It was amazing to see how much pre-war flying and training came into the category of what we were doing then.

“It was a great privilege to work for British European Airways and now, an incredibly proud moment to help them celebrate their 100th birthday and be back in the cockpit again.”

</