No 72 Squadron Association



On this page you will find obituaries of members of 72 Squadron who have recently passed away. Where possible a brief resume of their service with the Squadron is included.



Laurie Frampton passed away at the beginning of September 2016, age 95 after a short time in a care home.  He died peacefully in his sleep after having been in very poor health for a while now.  Laurie served with the Squadron in WW2 and flew one of the first Spitfires into Algeria during Operation Torch. Whilst in North Africa he belly landed one Spitfire, force landed another and shared in the shooting down of a Junkers Ju88 and probably destroyed a Messerschmitt Bf109. He left the squadron in Malta at the end of his first tour and returned to 72 Sqn in Italy later where he blew himself up with his own faulty bomb! he survived badly inured to become a POW. The Sqn are sending representation to his funeral on 16 Sep 2016 and the Sqn Historian, Erik Mannings, is also attending.


I am sorry to report the death of Des Gorham in August 2012 aged 88.  Des was born in 1924 and joined the RAF in October 1942 aged 18.  He was sent to the Transvaal in South Africa to train at Witbank on Tiger Moths and afterwards he completed his wings course on the Harvard at Blomspot on 12 May 1943.  He finished his training in Egypt on Hurricanes and Spitfires before joining 72 Sqn at Rimini in Italy – under canvas with the rest of the unit.  He flew numerous ground attack missions in his Spitfire Mk IX including some of the very first using napalm.  On 12 April 1944 he recorded in his logbook the following comments after a sortie: ‘Used Blaze bombs on Santerno Banks – Frizzled Fritz.’  Not exactly a PC comment, but relevant in its day.  Normal targets were the road and railway network in Northern Italy and support of the ground forces against gun emplacements with the odd escort mission for Allied bombers and a few weather recce sorties.  The Sqn moved from Rimini to Ravenna and now had proper buildings to live in but Des was taken ill and spent 8th May 45 (VE Day) in hospital in Naples.  He re-joined the Sqn at Klagenfurt in Austria and flew on ‘show of force’ sorties along the Yugoslavian borders to deter Marshall Tito’s forces from trying to get some territorial gains.  He returned to the UK in 1946 and left the RAF and entered medical school where he qualified as a GP and worked in this role until he was 60 when he went into the insurance world until he retired.  He was a lively Association Member when he attended the reunions and once tried a barrel-roll in his electric buggy at North Weald which resulted in another trip to hospital!  His funeral was at the RC Cathedral in Portsmouth on 24th August 2012.


Ken Boyd was well known to the members of the Northern Ireland military helicopter community and could be found ‘popping up’ just about anywhere a helicopter could be found to take photos. He sadly passed away on 13 September whilst awaiting a liver transplant at Addenbrookes hospital.


Jimmy Corbin, probably the last surviving 72 Sqn Spitfire pilot to have flown in the Battle of Britain, although with 92 Sqn then, passed away in December.  He served with the Sqn during the North African campaign and was a well known veteran.  He was one of the ‘Ten little Fighter Boys’ whose story was told after the Battle and his own book was called ‘Last of the Ten Fighter Boys’



Ken McGowan passed away on 8 Dec 12. Ken served on the Sqn on Javelins from 1959-1961.




Jim Rosser

We were advised in January 2012 that Jim Rosser, who served with 72 Sqn during the Wessex and Puma era passed away some time in 2009.


Irvine ‘Rio’ Wright

In December 2011 we received notification of the passing of Irvine Wright. Known to all as ‘Rio’ he served with the squadron during WW2 throughout N Africa, Sicily and Italy. He passed away in June 2011.


 Irvine Wright standing at rear left behind Jack Lancaster.

Ron Mitchell

Ron Mitchell served with the squadron in the early 1950’s during the Vampire period. He was a keen cyclist and thought nothing of cycling 50-60 miles to get home on a weekend pass then cycle back again. He also represented the squadron shooting at Bisley. As an Association member he was responsible for the printing and distribution on the newsletter for several years. He passed away in December 2011.

 Ron Mitchell at Bisley for a shooting competition in the early 1950's during his National Service.


Toni Barton

'Toni' Barton, wife to Jim Barton, our reunion coordinator and association lynchpin, sadly passed away in July 2011. Her funeral will take place at Ruislip crematorium on Tues 19 July. Toni attended many reunions through the years and was a great friend to many in the association.

 Jack Lancaster

Jack Lancaster, who served with the Squadron from 1940-1946, through the Battle of Britain, North Africa, Malta, Sicily, Italy and Austria sadly passed away today, Friday 20 May 2011.Jack was a staunch supporter of both No 72 (R) Sqn and the Association and attended every reunion and event held by both since the formation of the Association in 1993.  he is survived by his wife Nora and his family.

Details of the funeral arrangements will be posted when they become available.

 Jack Lancaster (on right) with WW2 72 Sqn pilots Rodney Scrase and Tom Hughes at Linton on Ouse in 2010.

 KC 'Red' Weller

 Red trained at No 6 BFTS in USA before joining No 72 Sqn and following service in North Africa 
and Italy was posted to  No 1 Sqn in 1944-45. He passed away in April 2011

 Paul Green

 Another loss to the Squadron in January.  The reaper seems to have 72 Sqn in his sights at the moment.  Paul Green, a well known and popular ground engineer with the squadron in Northern Ireland has passed away.

 Frank James

 72 Sqn Pilot Frank James, who served with the squadron in the 1950's has passed away. 


Frank James in centre of photo.



 I am sorry to report the recent passing of two of our members.

Joan Stally

 Joan Stally, the wife of 72 Sqn Pilot during the 1950's Henry Stally, passed away before Christmas.

Tom Hughes

WW2 Spitfire pilot with the Squadron in N.Africa, Sicily and Italy, left us just before the New Year.  






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