Nigel Dale 10/10/14
I worked in Ramp Services, Passenger Handling and Cargo for both BUA/BCAL/BA from 1966 to 1990. Very glad to see this site as a tribute to BCAL THE AIRLINE as far as I am concerned. I have great memories of Gatwick and see the names of a number of colleagues on this site. Look forward to renewing old friendships and well done for getting this going
Peter Daniels 29/10/14
Sadly Peter passed away on Monday 27th October 2014. Our sincere condolences go out to Peter's family, friends and former colleagues. Peter was DC10 crew with BCAL 1978 -1988 and leaves behind his wife Hazel and daughters Charlotte, Abigail and Georgina. His service was held on 14th November 2014 at Walpole St Peter Church, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.
Peter's original crew room entry: Joined BCal from the RAF in 1978 ending up on the DC10 for ten years such wonderful memories of the best colleagues in aviation. Retired from BA in 98 and joined GB airways retired to a farm in Norfolk 2003. Married to Hazel nee Bonnar who was a BCAL No1. Thank you Sir Adam and all my friends for such a brilliant life'.
Iain Davey 19/12/14
I joined BUA on 30th September 1968 as a Clerk in the Materials Planning Dept. I worked alongside two other men maintaining the records of repairable aircraft components issued from the stores. Mr Les Bishop was the departmental head, and John Graham the Senior Planning Engineer in charge of our section. He had about five or six planning engineers working for him. At the time I joined the company they had not long closed the Engineering Base in Jersey, and all the Herald and Viscount spares were being transferred to Gatwick.
Correct me if I'm wrong but are you related to Ron Thaxter, who was in engineering for a good number of years, rising through the ranks to a senior role in Quality Control [before returning to engineering as Line Maintenance Superintendent]. Also, there used to be someone in Engineering Stores in BUIA, whose name was Thaxter and closely resembled Ron. I cannot remember this man's first name. [That was Albert “Bert” Thaxter, Ron’s older brother]. He used to come over to our area on stores related business quite regularly. [Bert Thaxter started with Morton, through BUIA and retired from Air UK]
I had my first flight while working at Gatwick. The BUA Apprentices Association got up a charter to visit The Paris Air Show in 1969, and in order to fill the aircraft and to keep the costs down, they invited apprentices from other airlines that operated out of Gatwick, and also people like me who were interested. I remember that it was also very cheap. We flew on a Viscount, G-APTB, to Beauvais, and then continued by coach to Le Bourget, the venue for the air show. The highlight of that day for me anyway, was the demonstration of both Concorde prototypes flying overhead. All in all a great day out that has remained in my memory ever since.
Later that year I flew in my first jet aircraft, on a trip to Edinburgh to visit my brother's family in Dundee. Two BAC1-11 200 series, Reg'd G-ASTJ, and G-ASJG. I remember thinking then how quiet, smooth, and comfortable these planes were. I never flew long haul with BUA, I only wish I had. At the time though I thought Africa, or South America, would be too much of a challenge for me, seeing as I had no knowledge whatsoever of foreign languages. I did eventually fly in a VC10, in BCAL colours, to Las Palmas in 1972.
I stayed with BUA when Caledonian Airways took over in November 1970. From then we traded under the name of Caledonian/Bua until the winter of 1971 when we finally adopted the name British Caledonian. I flew in some of the aircraft in the fleet over the years including the B707-320, BAC1-11 series 500, DC10. Perhaps not so many flights as some people, but then I have other interests too.
1987 into 88 brought about the most radical change in the fortunes of the company, and of many other British independent airlines operating at the same period, with the "merger” with British Airways. Our life in the airline would never be the same again. For me personally, things worked out well in the long term, after a tricky period in the early years of the new organisation. I flew more aircraft types, including Concorde. How I wish I had taken more of them! With a larger route network I reached Australia, and New Zealand. I have relatives and friends in both countries and have made quite a lot of journeys there.
After working in an office for 27 years my position was made redundant in 1995, and I was very fortunate to obtain a job in the Aircraft Workshops, in Hangar 2. Brian Pearce, an ex BUA man was the manager. So a new life on the shop floor began which after a year or so led me into shift work. Gradually the workshops were run down as more and more work was transferred away from Gatwick, and I was then moved into the hangars. Hangar 3 followed by Hangar 5. There I stayed, on permanent night shift, until I was transferred to Heathrow in November 2002. Although travelling to and from there was quite tiring, and frustrating, at times, I got on well with the people I worked with and saw my time out to retirement in February 2010. I cannot quite believe that I've been retired almost 5 years.
British United Airways and all the great people who worked hard to make it the success it became now seem a distant memory at times. It and Gatwick too, were friendlier in those days. You felt you were part of a well-respected company, and part of a family group. Things change. That's life.
Yes, I remember Ron. Although we were not friends as such, we did converse when he needed to check up on component histories by looking at our records. He was easy to get on with, very competent, and was held in high regard by most people in Engineering. One of his colleagues at the time was Bryan Tilbury, another first class engineer and a likeable bloke too. They worked together quite a lot I think.
Paula Davies Joined BCAL in 1970 flew for a time then worked on ground at Edi a/p. Would love to hear from old friends.
Leslye Davis 20/11/18
Sadly we have heard from Leslye’s sister, Chrisi Rosamund, that Leslye recently passed away at the age of 69, she had been ill for a number of years, suffering from early on-set dementia and had been cared for by her partner Paul and Chrisi over the past couple of years. Our sincere condolences go out to her family, friends and former colleagues. Leslye was secretary in the European Route & Marketing office up to the demise of BCAL, she was secretary to Mike Bathgate who headed the European route office. Since BCAL, Leslye had worked at Fidelity Investments in Tadworth. Leslye's service was held on 29 November at Randalls Park Crematorium, Leatherhead,
Peter Davis - BCal Cargo 22/10/16
Sadly Peter passed away over the weekend of 15/16 October. My sincere condolences go out to his friends, family and former colleagues. Peter worked for BCal Cargo for many years, and was based at Heathrow, becoming Cargo Sales Manager. Peter's service was held on 2nd November 2016. Peter Remembered.
Peter Davis - Ops / Airport Manager 18/12/18
Started as PSA LGW Oct '78. Worked through God knows how many Grd Ops departments and moved to work in Vic Sheppard's group in Cally House. in 1985 went to do 2 yrs as Deputy Airport Manager Jeddah on takeover of the route from BA. In 1987 did a year in JFK trying to sort "a few things out" with the airport ops. Pulled out of JFK as BA takeover due and put in to Banjul to sort "a few more things out". Stayed in BJL for a while longer and then moved to BA Highlands & Islands looking after the island stations ground ops. I survived 3 rounds of cuts then axed in '91 from BA.
Russ Davis 20/12/12
Sadly Russ passed away early on Thursday 20th December and our sincere condolences go out to his family, friends and many former colleagues. Russ worked in Traffic and held posts including Airport Manager Lagos and he was involved in opening up the Tokyo route. (Russ's father, Harry, was instrumental in setting up the GLCT back in 1974). Russ's service was held in Shoreham on 3rd January 2013. Russ Remembered
Sharon Davis (Now Rowe) 18/06/15
I was in Passenger Services LGW from 78 until I moved to Dubai in 1983. Then continued with BCAL in Dubai until the merger. Love to hear from anyone I might know.
Brian Dawson 01/12/13 I joined BCAL in 1977 originally in marketing then moved into flight ops on the 1-11, now a 777 Captain with BA!
Richard A Dawson 07/03/17
Great site. I was a part of 'the team' from the early days as Caledonian, thru to the BA "merger" and well beyond. BCAL was without a doubt the most family company I have worked for.
It took a year or so but we eventually got rid of the charisma bypass that BA had towards its staff and became a nice company to work with. However, to prove that they still weren’t 100% user-friendly, my department in Engineering IT (and Engineering Workshops - Undercarriages, seperately) was off-loaded to EDS, a company with whom I shared an instant, deep and meaningful mutual loathing. Thus in 2000 I took early retirement and suddenly found that there really weren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done.
In 2010 my wife was prematurely taken by cancer and I was promoted to Chairman and entire committee of a group of one. In 2014 I put it to the Membership and it was universally agreed that I would buy a Narrowboat. So now I spend the summers cruising England’s canals and navigable rivers, content with the knowledge that I have the health, wit and resources to do so and enjoy the ride single-handed. I have a good workshop in my garden so in the winter I live in there and ‘do stuff’. I enjoyed my time with BCal (you people made it happen) and later with BA (at least until….) but I now have retirement and never look back.
Brian Day 05/06/17
I joined BUA in 1969 as a Sales Rep., went on to become Cargo Sales Manager, South America and then Cargo Sales Manager, North America, before taking early retirement in 1982 after my job was made redundant in the North American sales shake-up. It is 2017, and now almost 35 years since I took that early retirement from BCal, an unarguable fact with which I find it hard to come to terms! My happy memories of the Company persist, undimmed, and even now I continue to meet people who remember it as being one of the best. I am still working for the same U.S.- based consultancy, 'though I now travel far less than previously. I remain in contact with several former colleagues and occasionally meet up with one or two of them for a pint, 'though since Somerset is now home, the opportunities are becoming less and less frequent
Simon Day 21/03/18
I flew as a steward and No1 from 1984 to 1989 marrying another BCAL girl Judith Silversides and would love to hear from any ex crew. Please keep and develop this web site BCAL was definitely in a league of its own.
Vanessa de Bruin 21/09/12
I joined BCal in 1980 as cabin crew and they were definitely the best airline, I had such fun and met so many great colleagues. I was really proud of their image and very sad when they merged with BA. I left BA in 1991 to have a family. After a couple of years I wanted to get back to work, and tried to be sensible and worked in “normal” jobs (!) but the lure of the airline industry beckoned, so eventually I worked on the ground with Air France from Heathrow and then Aviance from Southampton.
I hadn’t got the bug for flying out of my system so then I joined GB Airways as cabin crew, plus did recruitment. I did not stay when EasyJet took them over, (here we go again!!) tried corporate executive flying but not mad about that so in 2008 I rejoined BA and 2 years ago I started freelance cabin crew training for all those would be hopefuls! (Shall we tell them what it is REALLY like?!!), and I am also now a BA cabin crew trainer plus am still flying and am a member of the BA Fear of Flying Team. It’s great to see some of my dear BCal colleagues there and I would love to hear from anyone from the past
Des de Silva 31/08/16
Sadly Des passed away following an accident whilst on holiday in Sri Lanka. My sincere condolences go out to his family, friends and former colleagues. Des’s funeral was held on Saturday 27th Aug 2016 in Sri Lanka with his family in attendance. Des was a Ticket Desk Supervisor at Gatwick. Des Remembered
Diane & Tony Dean 11/08/14 The lion still roars in our hearts!
Debee Dellinger (now Boerner) 17/03/09
I worked in Houston, Texas, from 1985 - 1987 until I got married and I moved back to Indiana. Those were some of the best years of my life, anyone from BCAL who wants to share memories, not just Houston, drop me a line.
Caroline Demonchy 01/06/13
Flew with BCAL from February 1976 till the-bitter- end! Still with B.A-under duress-but not for much longer! One very English daughter, me living in France-Loire Valley, running Rentals and French Courses, married to Mad French Writer... Once a Frog... I guess! Many fond memories of BCAL -kept one great poster, lots of photos and all my uniforms, stayed in touch with several great friends, and of course happy to hear from anyone who remembers me!
Peter Denyer 11/03/16 Emails go via Peter's daughter
Peter worked for BCal at Gatwick in the 1970's to 80's and he would like to see if any of his friends are still around. Peter worked on the aircraft in the hangars and was part of the team that did the seats / carpets and configuration changes. He has many stories and would love to hear from old friends and colleagues.
Pam Derrick (now Watkins)
Cabin Crew from 1970-1974. Great memories from happy days. Now working for BA Passenger Services in Terminal 4 LHR - come and say hello if you're passing through! Also involved in recruitment of customer service agents for T1 & T4, so if anyone needs a job ...... !! Excellent website - look forward to the next reunion.
Rob Derr 21/04/17
Worked for BCAL from 82-88, then got merged with BA. Still there, just! I remember joining Schedules Planning in Jan '82, on a 6 month contract, Lakers went belly-up, Falklands war, survival plans, didn't think I'd be there long!! Funny how time flies. Sorry to hear about Sir Adam.
As a self confessed STEWBUM of the seventies and dare I say frustrated pilot I'm glad I found the Caledonian site. many happy memories of Rio, Dakar and the DC10 and 1-11 never had the pleasure of the 747 but that's life .... cheers Des
Terry Desborough 22/01/2018
Sadly I have been told that Terry has recently passed away. My sincere condolences go out to his family, friends and former colleagues. Terry was an Aircraft Engineer with BUA, BCal, and then BA. He was also pictured in the company newspaper working on an aircraft in 1969. Terry's service was held at Pycombe Church, in Sussex, on 2nd February 2018.
Elaine Deverson (Now de Bairacli Levy)
Joined BCAL February 1972 (Ab Initio 6 I think?), and left to get married in 1974. In those days it was frowned upon to be married and fly although I must admit I was tempted to do so. I really missed flying and it took a while to stop dreaming of flights, people and places. The training was second to none and has set a good standard for my career since (always well prepared). I can still remember being told to take my hair down as my hat didn’t fit very well on the top of my hairstyle. What happy times! Yes, it was hard work (sometimes) but as I was mostly on the South American routes, it’s difficult to remember those times and not dwell on times spent skiing in the mountains in Chile or swimming off the beach at Rio. Anyone remember the little quail eggs served at the Churrasceria Jardim before all that lovely spit roast meat or the island off Rio I think it was called Pakata. We used to go across on the ferry and as there was no motorised transport allowed on the island we used to hire a bike, have a very liquid lunch and then attempt to ride around the island. What about the Lungi Hilton (Freetown) ? Would love to hear from anyone
Mary Devlin (nee McGread) Sadly Mary passed away on 15th March 2013, our sincere condolences to Mary's family, friends and colleagues.
Jacqueline Dillmann ex meliani 16/01/11 Thank you very much for creating this site...a great idea
Mansel Dinnis 04/11/18
As a ‘renegade’ from British Airways (there were a few of us), I served as BCAL Sales Manager in Scotland from 1983 to 1988 working with the legendary Gordon Mason. Initially, my boss was UK Sales Manager, Chris Gilbert, followed by Rohan Alce after Chris joined American Airlines. I also had a ‘dotted line’ responsibility to Richard Havers who did such a marvellous job in improving the BCAL UK domestic operation. After the takeover by BA, we stayed on in Scotland and I worked on a freelance basis with United Airlines (David Coltman, Graham Atkinson and Simon Johnson) before taking over the administration of the Scotway independent travel group. I later went on to teach presentation skills to corporate and individual clients in the UK and Europe.
In 2000, we moved back to Yorkshire after 17 years in Scotland. Although I am now ‘retired’, I still maintain a couple of websites and ‘dabble' in a number of activities including digital art and photography. I regularly attend BOAC and other airlines lunches in Manchester and Huddersfield where I meet up with business friends from ‘the old days’.
Jeremy Dixon 22/01/19 New Entry
I joined Silver City as a reservations clerk on the Car Ferry in 1953. Over the next few years I moved to the Charter section, under Les Pavey, the Britavia trooping section, and was then posted to Manston as Operations Supt. for the Hermes operation.
Back in London I headed a small group selling Inclusive Tours charter capacity under Bill Franklin until Silver City was amalgamated with Freddy Laker's Channel Air Bridge. The new arrangement was not to my liking and in 1962 I handed in my notice, but before I could benefit from a leaving party I was persuaded to go to Accra for a year on secondment to Ghana Airways. The year was extended to two, and was followed by a further two-year secondment to the newly formed Kingdom of Libya Airlines in Benghazi.
When that finished I was sent back to Accra as Manager, Ghana for BUA. Two years there, and then posted to Kampala as Manager, Uganda, where I met and married one of our hostesses, Judy Plackett. Following the takeover of BUA by Caledonian Airways in 1970 I was posted yet again to Ghana as GM West Africa and later moved to Lagos
In 1973 I moved back to HQ at Gatwick, and during the next eight years I held a number of administrative and Sales roles at Head Office, until I was head-hunted by an air charter broker and sent to Houston, Texas to open an office there. The Houston office was closed in 1982 and I returned to the London office; there was no room for me there and I then worked for a year for Channel Airways in Bournemouth before Ted Bates said that there was a job with Air U.K. that might suit me.
I got the job and worked in Crawley until Air U.K. combined with Unijet to launch Air U.K. Leisure, and I was moved to Stansted as M.D. I retired from that job in
1998, and did a bit of consultancy work, chiefly involved with putting an airport on St. Helena. We now live in Great Dunmow in Essex, where when the aircraft
take off to the east I am reminded of my forty-five years in civil aviation when they paid my salary.
Paula Dockrill (nee Bonning)
I joined Caledonian in 1963 as one of only 12 stewardesses. Left in 1964 when I emigrated to the USA. During my time with the company I lived with two great girls, Kay McAllister and Katy Ross, and had many tours with Christine Bonner and Marjorie McEarchran. Can't remember all the girls names (it's an age thing!) but would love to hear from anyone who was around at that time. Paula Dockrill (nee Bonning)
Sadly Jack, who was a chief steward with Caledonian Airways back in the 1960’s, passed away on 31st January 2011 aged 77. Jack lived in Furnace Green, Crawley. He went into catering and latterly he worked in the Virgin lounge at Gatwick.
Susie Douglas-Smith (nee Fourneau) 16/03/15
I joined BCAL in August 1980 and stayed until the bitter end, when I continued working for BA out of Heathrow until 1998. I believe my friend, Jette Boysen, and I were about the only Danish girls working for BCAL at the time. I have many fond memories of my travels, especially the Christmas trips. One in particular stuck in my mind, as the baggage handlers managed to forget to load my friend’s suitcase, and we had to share my clothes all week. The hotel in the Seychelles had also made a cock up with the room reservations, which meant we had to share rooms. The hotel felt so bad, that all food and drinks was free for the whole week. The icing on the cake was the double allowances we got paid, as we had to ‘double up’. The year long adventure with Sabena to Atlanta was also great fun, and proved a source of amusement to passengers, who all wanted to sit on the side of the aircraft where the tartan clad cabin crew were working! Might make it to the reunion on the 12th this year, as I have the afternoon off and also the following day. Jette might come over from Denmark to join in the fun. Wish I had kept the long tartan we had to wear during the meal service in First Class.
Very sadly Pam passed away on Wednesday 5th January 2011 after a recurrence of melonoma which had been halted after a minor skin operation some time ago, however it returned in July 2010. Pam worked in BUA Reception and is remembered as a delightfully unassuming person, and liked by all, recalls Jon Theobalds. Pam's funeral was held at Banbury Crematorium.
Deirdre Drewett 07/11/17
Sadly Deirdre passed away on 6th November 2017 at the age of 90. My sincere sympathies go out to her family, friends and former colleagues. Deirdre was Trade Exchange Officer in the Commercial Division and very well-known across the company. Deirdre's service was held on 17th November at Worthing Crematorium, In March 2017, around 25 colleagues held a surprise 90th Birthday party for Deirdre, photos from that day can be seen here Deirdre Remembered
Penny Dudley (nee Hull) 19/03/13
I was with BCAL from 1974 until 1981 and have fond memories of my time there. It was like one big family. My first 4 years were spent in the payroll dept under ‘Tubby’ Butterworth and Eileen Dewar. The last for years were spent in Engineering as an assistant to Wally Hargreaves the Technical Writer. We set up the Microfilm Unit where all the engineering manuals used in the hangars were in microfilm and/or microfiche format. Regarded now as old fashioned I think. I also knew a Freddie (possibly called Hargreaves - but no relation to Wally) Then there was Brian Payne - the weights and measures man. Paul Hatcher, Bill Buss, Doug Empleton of the drawing office and Gerry Farnsworth. Eric (cannot remember his surname) replaced Wally and like him, was a good boss.
Wendy Dudley 01/03/2013 I'm an ex-redcap, joining BUA in 1969 and I left BCAL in 1986.
Chris Dunmore Pam Pettifer (formerly Dunmore)
Does anyone remember Chris Dunmore who sadly died of cancer in 1993? I have a signed copy of Adam Thompson's book in my drawer which he dedicated to Chris. Unfortunately Chris never saw it as another wonderful man Chris Whittle brought it to him in the Hospice the night before he died. Chris missed BCal. So much when it closed and got a job for a while with British Midland Airways, but it was never the same. I just wanted to mention him on the site and see if anyone remembered him.
Greetings. It is with great sadness that I have learnt of the death of Sir Adam Thompson. Please pass on my condolences to his family. I am proud to have been one of the engineers who maintained the fleet. Casualty shift, hangar three, Gatwick 1985 to 1988. I have yet to find an airline that comes anywhere close to the spirit of "BCAL".
Charles Durman 01/09/16
Met some "old" friends at LGW one of whom told me about this great site. Greetings to those who remember me. I worked in passenger service (Ticket Desk) 1972 - 78
Pat Durnan - Senior Engineering Officer
Pat passed away peacefully on Monday 10th June 2013, aged 85. Our sincerest condolences go out to Pat's family, friends and former colleagues. Pat joined Caledonian in January 1968 as a Senior Flight Engineer on the Britannia, having left the Royal Air Force. It was during this time that he met his second wife, Caledonian Stewardess, Jane Mellor. Pat went on to operate the 707 from April 1971 and was on the first DC-10 course at Long Beach in 1977. He remained on the 'ten' during the BCal / BA 'merger', finally retiring in December 1989, with over 25,000 hours. Pat's service was held in Hastings on 20th June 2013 at Hastings Crematorium. Pat's son, John, can be contacted here email@example.com
Pat & Jane Durnan's original crewroom entry.
I flew from the Cale days on Britt's, 707's and DC-10's as a Flight Engineer until BA takeover, and Jane, maiden name Meller, flew as a stewardess on Brit's, 1-11's and 707's until 1980. Many happy memories of Brits, 707's, 1-11's and DC-10's. Lovely to see so many familiar names. 1966 - 1987. Wonderful Days!
Dick Dyer Would be pleased to hear from anyone who knew me at BCAL.
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Crewroom - D
Latest page update : 22nd January 2019
Text in Orange = Updated email address needed please Text in Green = Sadly that person has passed.