Anthony White Farrell DFC, AFC, Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur

Lately of Sunrise, Stockbridge Road, Fulflood, Winchester.

Passed away peacefully at 2.30am June 17, aged 100 years and seven months.

Tony learned to fly in 1936 and was commissioned into the Royal Air Force at the outbreak of World War 2.

The earlier part of his war was as a flying instructor, before joining Bomber Command as a Mosquito pilot. The Mosquito at the time was the fastest aircraft in the world. He reached the rank of Squadron Leader and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Force Cross and (later in life) made a Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur by the President of France for his role in the liberation of France. His flying logbook shows that he took part in several precision bombing missions, as well as being a member of the Pathfinders who dropped flares to enable the heavy bombers to see the targets, hence improving their accuracy.

On leaving the RAF he continued his flying career and became an instructor again, a large part of that career being at the National College of Air Training in Hamble, Hampshire, giving training to BOAC and BEA pilots, once the supply of wartime pilots ran out. During his flying career, which lasted until 1981, he amassed 16,400 flying hours, the equivalent of almost two years at the controls.

Even after retiring he took the helm on several occasions. At the age of 97 he took the controls of a light aircraft and landed unaided. His final flight was just before his 100th birthday, when he co-piloted a Cessna.

He was presented with the medal of Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur on his 100th birthday and (as well as co-piloting the Cessna), other celebrations included being presented with the Bomber Command Clasp, being guest of honour for lunches at MOD Boscombe Down and at a reunion of former flying students, and being given a Chinook flypast at MOD Worthy Down.

Tony married his childhood sweetheart, Jean Constance Jacob in 1941, and they celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary at Sunrise Retirement Home. She died in 2012.

He leaves four children; Trevor, Clive, James and Rosemary; eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

As a husband and as a father he was the kindest and gentlest of men, completely unselfish and with an irrepressible sense of humour.

Truly one of the last of “the Few”.

Funeral at Basingstoke Crematorium, today, Friday July 6 at 11am.