Lives Remembered: Cecil Warwick

Joining the RAF in January 1939, Warwick started as a flight rigger before being trained as a fitter IIA on 254 Squadron, where he worked on the Beaufighters, which were to form the crucial part of Coastal Command's first "Strike Wing".

He was graded navigator in 1943 after aircrew training (flying Tiger Moths at Desford) and dispatched on the SS Tegelberg to South Africa, where his convoy was attacked by Ju88 torpedo bombers. An RAF corporal standing near to Warwick was killed by cannon fire. The ship behind was sunk. Finally arriving in Durban harbour, they were greeted by Perla Gibson, the legendary Lady in White, singing "There'll Always Be An England" through her trademark megaphone.

By the end of 1944, after promotion to flying officer in 406 Squadron, his operational flying began in earnest – but, in only his fourth low-level patrol as nav/rad, his Mosquito was shot down over Flensburg airfield, crash- landing and bursting into flames. Warwick and crew survived and spent two days avoiding capture as they headed for the Danish border. They were caught by sentries a few miles from safety. "One of the guards needed to relieve himself in the woods, so he asked me to hold his rifle while his mate kept me covered!"

He rejoined the RAF six months after being demobbed and spent over three years at Leeming: and it was there that he earned his MBE as senior nav/rad instructor working on such projects as the Airborne-Interception radar of the Mk X Wellington and on the forerunner to AWACS, the aircraft-based early warning system.

A distinguished RAF career cont-inued with numerous postings, including at the Central Fighter Establishment at West Raynham, where he was involved in the trials of the Meteor NF11 and Vampire NF10 jets (night fighters). In the 1960s, now a Squad-ron Leader, he spent a year in Aden before returning to HQFC (Fighter Command headquarters) as their last air defence controller before HQFC merged into Strike Command. Having been posted to Strike Command Headquarters in High Wycombe, with responsibility for planning NATO and Command synthetic exercises, he left the RAF in 1973 to work for the MOD, before retiring in 1981.

Always modest about his own contribution during the war, Warwick could also be compassionate in his appraisal of the enemy – admitting a liking for the Waffen SS Captain who kept him prisoner. "He asked me a few questions in perfect English and then, when I said I was hungry, reached forward and gave me his sandwiches!"

Cecil Warwick – known as "Wimpy" because the Vickers Warwick was similar to the Wellington Wimpy, named after Popeye's friend – was a lifelong steam railway enthusiast. A devoted husband, he died on 3 April and is survived by his wife, Doris.

If you would like to contribute an obituary of a friend, colleague or family member, please send a piece of no more than 500 words to Obituaries, 'The Independent', 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, by fax to 020 7005 2064 or by email to obituaries@independent.co.uk. We reserve the right to edit copy.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football'Mr Marmite' faced the possibility of a 28-day ban
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower