Alan James Napier (1921 - 2009)
It is with great sorrow that I have to report the passing of one of our founding members. Alan Napier passed away on 27 October 2009 age 88.
Alan was born on 5 March 1921 in Woolwich, London and was the third child to John and Frances Napier. John was a merchant seaman and Frances used to cook for a group of doctors during the war, a job she kept going until she retired. Educated at Shooters Hill Boys Grammar, Alan left at 16 to work in London trading in coal. At 18, much to his mothers dismay, he joined the Service and spent time in Egypt, Ceylon and Burma. Alan wanted to fly but due to colour blindness became an aircaft engineer. He was on 30 Squadron in Ratmalana and spent a lot of his free time with the children at the local school for the blind and left a bequest in his will to the school in "recognition of the valuable help the school gave the Squadron whilst stationed nearby". Alan revisited Sri Lanka with his friend Ben Lugg and this was the inspiration Alan needed to set about finding lost colleagues. He took the first steps by placing an ad in the 'National Press' and much to his surprise and delight the '30 Squadron Reunion' was born.
John Bell, Life President of the Association and 30 Sqn Commanding Officer at the time remembers the start of the Association well:
"...someone on the Squadron handed me a copy of the RAF News with a notice in it saying that ex-2nd WW 30 Sqn members were invited to meet up at a pub in London. We got in touch (1984), went to their meeting, and together we decided to hold a 70th reunion at Lyneham the following year. Alan had set up the London reunion and was instrumental in organising things and has been a stalwart member of the Association over the years." - John Bell
After leaving the Service, Alan joined the Civil Service where he met Sylvia. In 1951 they married and set up home in Little Heath, Charlton. In the late 70's Alan's work ethos was rewarded by the award of an Imperial Service Order and retired from the Civil Service in the early 80's. His hobbies included gardening, rugby, where he was interested in the pursuits of Blackheath RFC, and supported Charlton FC all his life with his father-in-law. Perhaps his greatest passion was his family. Geraldine, his eldest daughter, remembers him as a very loving father and grandfather, always considerate and more than happy to help out - specializing in 'Dad's Cabs' whenever the need arose! This coupled with his "infectious sense of humour" made him a terriffic dad and grandfather to our children", said Geraldine.
Alan died of heart failure at the local Kent and Canterbury Hospital and was buried on the 9 November 2009. Although it was a wet Monday, "The sun broke through just at the right moment" remembers Gerry.
When Geraldine was asked how she would sum up her father she said,
"Dad was a quiet, well liked man who shunned the limelight, always put others first, was committed to all that he did, most of all to his family. I am proud to be his daughter"
Alan leaves behind his loving wife Sylvia and his 2 daughters Geraldine and Jacqueline.