Death of Ipswich flying legend

IPSWICH flying legend Stan Ward has died after a short illness.

IPSWICH flying legend Stan Ward has died after a short illness.

Mr Ward, who was 88, was the leader of the campaign to try to save Ipswich Airport in the 1980s and 90s.

That campaign did not save the airport - but it did save the terminal building and ensured that the area's aviation heritage was never forgotten as the new Ravenswood community took shape.

Mr Ward died in Ipswich Hospital after a short illness on Saturday, May 9, leaving his partner Jessie Royston, his sons from his marriage to Dorothy Ward, Chris and Robert, seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Chris said his father had continued flying with advanced pilots until he was about 72, despite having lost his licence 11 years earlier. “He was held together with sticking plaster and string, but finally the last piece of string gave out,” he said.

“He had an enormous following of friends and was still socialising with them every Sunday until a couple of weeks ago. He was a good father, very personable and jovial. He will certainly be missed by a lot of people.”

Most Read

One of Mr Ward's closest friends, Dick Everett, of Sproughton, said the former RAF flying instructor and chief flying instructor of the East Anglian Flying Club had taught him to fly when he was 17-years-old.

He said: “He was the best in the business as an instructor. It was a privilege to know him.”

Another close friend, Peter Collier, of Great Horkesley, Colchester, said he met Mr Ward in 1960 when he reported for his first flying lesson at Ipswich Airport, and described him as “polished”.

He said the planes they flew were excellently maintained, due to engineer Jack Squirrel's work at Ipswich Airport which was run by former Lancaster bomber pilot Dan Burgess.

Mr Ward was born in Ipswich and became interested in flying when he was nine-years-old. An eye defect prevented him from joining the RAF as a pilot in 1940, so he became an instructor.

However, Chris said he applied again in 1942, told lies on the application form, and qualified as a pilot in Oklahoma, USA.

He returned to England and his request to fly single engine day fighters was granted, but the war ended.

He worked at East Suffolk County Council as an administrator and became a part-time instructor and air show stunt pilot.

He was chairman of the Association of Friends and Users of Ipswich Airport and campaigned for it to be saved right up to closure at the start of 1997.

Mr Ward clocked up 13,590 flying hours.