Obituary: Anthony Foord

Anthony Herbert Foord, wartime pilot and money-broker: born Ewell, Surrey 14 February 1915; DFC 1941; married 1957 Judith Greenacre (one son, three daughters); died Snape, Suffolk 24 October 1997.

On 24 October, with faultless timing, Anthony Foord died at 82 from a heart attack during the interval in a Haydn and Britten concert he was greatly enjoying at Snape Maltings.

Precision was one of the valuable characteristics that marked Foord's long and fruitful life. The entries in his RAF Pilot's Logbook, between April and August 1941, describe in the briefest matter-of-fact way the outward and homeward events during 27 raids into Hitler's Europe, from all of which he and his crew returned unscathed in their often flak-scarred Wellington. They show that this tall, genial, deeply generous man had qualities of endurance, courage and unwavering determination.

These regularly resurfaced in his support of everything worthwhile and civilised in local affairs in Suffolk, where he moved in 1962: in 10 years as a county councillor, as Chairman of the Suffolk Preservation Society, in his constant encouragement of the new Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, and of the work of the Britten-Pears School and the Aldeburgh Foundation's education department. There was nothing "parochial" about Tony Foord's services to Suffolk.

After Harrow he worked at the Law Society exams in 1938, but decided (in the spirit of Patrick Leigh Fermor's A Time of Gifts) to use a small legacy to see Europe. He studied German in a monastery, and at Bayreuth saw the Fuhrer.

He was an early member of Glyndebourne: in June 1938, he corresponded with John Christie about the chances of becoming a manager there. Christie thought no Englishman could aspire to such a post. Foord left Switzerland on the last train, reaching London on the day Chamberlain declared war.

By the time he had trained as a fighter pilot, the Battle of Britain had been won, but the Blitz was raging. On 3 September 1940, Churchill told the Cabinet, "The bombers alone provide the means of victory", and, thinking of Rotterdam, and London, they made the understandable but erroneous "total war" assumption that "the civilian population around the target areas must be made to feel the weight of war". Foord's logbook faithfully illustrates the point from his own operations, the first of which was on Kiel on 7 April 1941. "Huge fires: defences apparently exhausted." His rear gunner's log added: "Entire area in flames, which was successfully bombed."

In his 15th operation, over Essen, his plane was very badly hit, and he crash-landed at Stradishall, his first serious impact on Suffolk. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for gallantry and devotion to duty. Later he served as Liaison Officer with a Czech bomber squadron, was promoted Squadron Leader, and was twice mentioned in despatches.

After the war, he practised in Westminster as a solicitor, with work in Town and Country Planning, and Rent Restriction. In 1948, he was adopted as Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Brixton, enjoyed getting to know the constituency, but failed to win it. He then joined the money-brokers Long, Till and Colvin. Their business took off, partly because Foord ran it so well and partly because this was the right time, when R.A. Butler was giving local authorities powers to raise money in the City, and more or less instructing them to do so.

In the City, in 1947, Foord became a Liveryman in the Turners' Company. He later, in 1970, distinguished himself as its Master. He was punctiliousness in supporting the craft and its charities, supplying wood and lathes to the disabled, and working with engineers in the modern application of the craft.

In 1957, he married Judith Greenacre, whose family lived at Rendham in Suffolk. When they moved to live in Nettlestead, most of his energies were switched to the county. On the East Suffolk County Council, he was listened to as "a sound financial brain". When they joined the Suffolk Preservation Society, he and Judith immediately took part in making visual surveys of the town centres and in scheduling listed buildings; as the society's chairman in the crucial years 1973-76, he helped organise watchdogs in the new District Planning Committees and established the society's first full-time salaried director.

He also hived off, as a separate group, the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust. In aid of this, he and his wife, with John and Julia Henniker, conceived and planned the annual sponsored bike-rides round the county's churches and chapels - Suffolk has a high density of medieval churches. Last September, Suffolk cyclists in one day raised a record pounds 132,000: they have been a source of valuable emulation among other counties.

Foord's Suffolk commitments never slackened, but nor did he reduce his devotion to opera at Glyndebourne, for instance, or to Assisi. Ten years ago, his feeling for the Catholic religion revived, and he took instruction from the local Franciscan brothers. He regularly visited Assisi, and at the time of his death was distressed by the news of the destructive earth tremors there.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable