Funeral for Bexhill war hero

Brian Bird
Brian Bird

Friends and family paid tribute to former Spitfire pilot, Brian Bird, at his funeral.

The war hero, who served in North Africa during the Second World War, lived at Mais House care home in Hastings Road, Bexhill for the last five years of his life.

Last Tuesday (July 28), a service and cremation was held at Eastbourne Crematorium followed by a memorial service at St Augustine’s Church.

Brian, who died on July 16 aged 90, saw war service as a Spitfire pilot with Desert Air Force, during the Italian Campaign.

After the war he qualified as a chartered accountant. In 1951 he joined the De Havilland Aircraft Co. from whence he went into the City for 13 years as a finance director.

Various public company appointments followed including Louis G Ford in Eastbourne.

The last years of a long business career were spent as chairman of several public companies, based in North Yorkshire where he retired in 1988.

His daughter, Clair Erridge, said: “During his last years at Mais House my father took part in many talks with the local Beavers Group, schools and older citizens and also together with a company called Legasee took a replica Spitfire back to his old school, St Edmund’s in Canterbury, a school in London and also to Mais House itself.

“He was invited to RAF Odiham as a guest speaker and spent a hugely enjoyable evening talking to all the current young pilots. He was also honoured to be asked to open Mais House’s fete last year and still managed to stand and speak in spite of failing health without the aid of his notes.

“My father was also lucky enough at the grand old age of 89 to have had the opportunity to fly again in a Spitfire and Tiger Moth, which he had trained in.

“It was an amazing achievement and only made possible by the fantastic support he received from the then manager at Mais House, Chris Turnbull and the rest of the staff.”

Brian is survived by his children Hilary Westlake, Christopher Bird, Claire Erridge, Philippa Good and Martin Bird, 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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