Entries P-T

Ray Piercey 1923 - 2011  

Ray became involved with Brooklands in the late Eighties when his drive and inspiration helped the Museum obtain the Vickers 806 Viscount G-APIM, at the end of 1989. That aircraft had been named Viscount Stephen Piercey in 1984 in memory of Rays Son (the aviation photographer Stephen) who had also been a good friend of BAF the aircraft's operators. In the following years Ray spent a lot of time supporting  the restoration team (which included Mick Bates and Ron Brant also featured here) and was involved in all the fund raising trips/events organised by the Friend of Viscount Stephen Piercey

Ray spent the war in the RAF training and then ferrying aircraft across the Atlantic. In 1946 he joined BEA as a first officer on Vikings. Then in 1949 he was sent out to Cyprus to help start up Cyprus Airways. Initially as a F/O on DC3 Dakotas and then gaining his command on type. He returned to BEA and the UK in 1956 transferring to Viscount 700 and then 800 . Continuing his career with BEA flying Vanguards, BAC 111-500, Tristars before retiring in 1977.

During his operational carrier Ray  flew both G-APIM, (Viscount Stephen Piercey) and the Brooklands Vanguard/Merchantman G-APEP (Superb) .

Jack Ratcliffe 1925 - 2013  

Jack was a Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Navy from 1944 until 1947 when he went to British Thermostat at Sunbury where he was involved with the design and manufacture of Strain Gauges, Small Motors and Valves.

He joined Vickers in 1952, where he was in the Electrical Test Laboratories and in 1954 started the Electrical Technical Office being responsible for the design & procurement of all things electrical.

He worked on numerous Aircraft including the Vickers Valiant, VC10 TSR2 and BAC 1-11. In 1967 he Acquired responsibility for Filton's Electrical Technical Office. With joint involvement of Weybridge responsible for Concorde's  lighting & electrical generating systems. He was appointed Chief System Engineer at Weybridge and was ultimately in charge of all Aircraft systems technical offices right up to the closure in the 1980’s. He retired in 1988 but did some consultancy work between 1988 and 1992

Peter Risby  1950 - 2014  


Peter passed away on the 23rd of January  He was a main stay as one of the most experienced Education & Adult Guides and was frequently to be seen escorting parties of School children around the site.

He always helped on Science Week launching water rockets, etc. and loving every minute.

When not doing this sort of thing he was mainly in the Hangar or ‘Victor Mike’ on Wednesdays & Fridays although he was quite capable, as you might expect, of talking about the Motoring side too.

John Sanders  1932 - 2012  


John Sanders was in the Guided Weapons trials team at Vickers in the 1950s and worked on preparation and testing of Red Dean missiles and on the Vigilant anti-tank missile. He also worked on electronics of TSR2, later after the cancellation of TSR2, John joined ESAMS and there worked on similar systems for the MRCA, which became the Tornado.

After retiring, he joined the Brooklands Guided Weapons team soon after it was formed and helped to restore our Red Dean missiles, as well as with electronics related to our computer and DVD displays. He sadly died unexpectedly of a massive stoke, at the age of Eighty.


Jean Shail ? - 2013  


Jean had been involved with Brooklands  for over 10 years, joining the Museum with her Husband, Ron. She started out looking after the Discovery Centre and then went on to become an Education Guide as wells as looking after the Education Suite so Jean is a real loss to the Education Team and will be greatly missed by them as well as all who knew her.

She was a University Lecturer in Maths and also the author of the book Students at War (The Lost Generation of Battersea Polytechnic 1914 – 1918) which is sold through the Museum Shop (copies are there if you want one).

Geoff Sperling 1944 - 25th December 2014  

Geoff  Joined the RAF aged 16 and started training as an electronics engineer at RAF Locking, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset with fellow trainee Graham Ball.  His subsequent postings included RAF stations in Germany and Cyprus.  In 1974 he left the RAF for a career in industry. and in 1994 married Maureen, having met as neighbours some years earlier.   During 200 he was seriously ill with liver disease, but a successful liver transplant operation saved his life.   Soon after that he joined the Museum as a volunteering  - mainly stewarding on the BAC 1-11 and Concorde.  

In 2005 he also joined staff based at Northbrook College, Shoreham Airport as manager of the government funded  Aeronautical Engineering SkillAir CoVE (Centre of Vocational Excellence) scheme which organised the purchase of two recently-retired ex-RAF HP Jetstream aircraft from Everett Aero for student training use at Northbrook.

He greatly enjoyed this job especially as it involved training young aircraft engineers and was at an active airfield.  As the scheme also included Brooklands and Farnborough Colleges, Geoff also assisted Brooklands College Engineering Dept in buying a Jetstream for ground instructional use.   In 2010 he retired from Northbrook College and became a regularly at Brooklands mainly on Concorde, but by 2014 he had ceased being a  volunteering due to illness.

Jack Stacey 1915 - 13th May 2014  


There cannot be many people involved with Brooklands, who will not remember Jack with great affection. He had been a very active volunteer for some thirty years, although in recent years he had slowed just a little. His thirst for knowledge lead him to know a lot about the many aspects of Brooklands, but he was always wanting to know more.

The picture of Jack shows him at what was probable the last major Brooklands function he attended, namely the opening of the Stratosphere Chamber.

We have put this tribute as a starter, but I hope others will add to it and perhaps tell us a little about his pre Brooklands life?   

Gordon Tapping   1935 - 1st Feb  2013  
Gordon joined the volunteers in Feb 2009. He became Project Leader on the Varsity having worked on the aircraft as an engineer whilst doing his National Service in the RAF. He worked mainly on the Hercules engines out of RAF Watton in Norfolk and apparently if you worked on an engine you were expected to go on the test flight. This clearly started his love of the Varsity! He was also a keen racing cyclist in his younger days.

Gordon was also a vintage car owner and restorer owning 3 Humbers which he restored and painted in pastel colours and used them in his wedding car business. He still owned a 1929 16/50 Humber Tourer. He also ran an antiques business for some time with his wife. Gordon was a real gent so naturally this is a huge loss to both the Varsity Team and the Museum.

The picture was taken at the 60th Anniversary of the Varsity.

Douglas Richard Taylor 21 February 1919  - 19 July 2012  
Doug Taylor was a volunteer in the Museum’s photo archives for over 20 years. When he first started, his darkroom skills were invaluable in the copying and printing of archive pictures.

As digitisation took over Doug became more desk based but turned his skills to making inventories of photos and recording the contents of our photo album collection.

Doug had great knowledge on both Motoring and Aviation history and wrote an excellent biography of Major Frank Halford ‘From Boxkite to Jet’ published by The Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust.

Doug would turn up to work in the photo archives every Tuesday and was at his desk a week before he died.


Back to the Main Website