Tributes paid to D-Day Spitfire pilot Stanley Chambers from Ipswich
A courageous Second World War veteran has been remembered as a “real Ipswich hero” following his death at 101.
Spitfire pilot Stanley Chambers was awarded the Legion d’Honneur – France’s highest military merit – in 2016 for the role he played in the D-Day landings.
Mr Chambers, who was Suffolk born and bred and spent most of his life living in Ipswich, died on May 20 and a private funeral was held this month.
He served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) from 1937 to 1959 and volunteered in the Navy from 1967 to 1981.
Outside of the military, Mr Chambers worked as a mental health nurse, having trained at St Audry’s Hospital in Melton.
A dedicated public servant, Mr Chambers took on the role of chairman of Rushmere Parish Council after retirement.
Mr Chambers had three sons, six grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
His vast collection of RAF memorabilia has been passed down to one of his grandsons, who is a serving RAF pilot.
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Robin Vickery, chairman of the Royal British Legion Ipswich branch, of which Mr Chambers was a member, said: “Stanley was a well decorated veteran who was greatly admired and liked by members of the branch in Ipswich.
“He had a distinguished career in both the Air Force and the Navy and he will be greatly missed as a legion member.”
Andrew Beal, of the Ipswich War Memorial Project, said members of the group had interviewed Mr Chambers on many occasions.
“Even though he was a bit of a joker his mood would change when he recalled the men he watched die and the letters he would have to write to his squadrons families,” he added. “Stanley was a real Ipswich hero.”
Mayor of Ipswich Jane Riley said: “On behalf of the people of Ipswich I want to pay tribute to one of the great heroes of our town, who had a distinguished record of service in the RAF. Stanley Chambers was a remarkable and humble man and we are poorer for his passing.”
Martlesham Heath Aviation Society put on a party for Mr Chambers to mark his 100th birthday.
Vice-chairman Bob Dunnett hailed Mr Chambers as “incredible” and recalled how he would always greet people with “Bonjour!”
A photograph of Mr Chambers is currently on display at Ipswich Waterfront as part of the PhotoEast festival, which this year carries a theme of “belonging”.
The image by Ipswich Star and EADT photographer Sarah Lucy Brown bears the caption: “Belonging is to be part of a greater cause.”
The photograph was taken around two years ago for a personal project Ms Brown was doing on Ipswich war veterans.
She said: “Stanley was just captivating and charismatic and he was a real character.
“He told me all about his life and I ended up being round there for a couple of hours.
“I chose his photograph because the theme was just completely suited to him.
“He was a local hero.
“A lot of people knew him and interviewed him and he always made quite an impact.”
The photograph will be displayed in the On The Fence exhibition near Cult cafe until June 24.