Lives Remembered: Cecil Warwick
Friday 10 April 2009
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We reserve the right to edit copy.
Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again
Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood
The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Jennifer Lawrence nude photos leak: More celebrities allegedly targeted as third wave of hacked images released
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
- < Previous
- Next >
£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: My client are looking fo...
£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Domino ...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Group: Full or Part Time ICT Teacher ...