Vic Flintham's biography
I was born in Willesden, north-west London in January 1941 at the height of the Blitz. We were bombed out in February 1944 during the mini-blitz (Operation Steinbock) and evacuated to High Wycombe. (It is possible that the GPO Research Station at Dollis Hill, half a mile from our house, was the target. At this time the first Colossus computers for Bletchley Park and Ultra were being built there.) I started primary school in 1946, moving to Kilburn Grammar School in 1952. In 1957 I started working for Hamptons, the West End estate agency.
I married Christine Granville in 1962 at Willesden Green Baptist Church and we have two children, Gael Louise born 1964 and Neil Victor born 1967. In 1962 I switched occupations and joined the National Health Service as an administrator. I studied for professional qualifications and I became the first personnel manager in the NHS in 1970 creating a new department at Northwick Park Hospital. From there I progressed and was appointed regional personnel director (70,000 staff) for North West Thames Regional Health Authority in 1982. I left in 1988 to form my own personnel consultancy, from which I took early retirement in 2001 to spend more time on wider interests. I was a Fellow of the Institute of Health Services Management and remain a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and of the Royal Society of Arts. I am also a Freeman of the City of London and a member of the Needlemaker's Company.
My interest in aviation began in 1949 when I went to the RAF display at Farnborough, after which I took an increasing interest. I went to all Farnborough SBAC displays from 1952 and many other open days including USAFE airbases at Wetherfield, Lakenheath, Woodbridge and Bentwaters. I have a large library and photograph collection, mainly of military aircraft from about 1958. My first article was on the Suez Campaign, prepared over several years and published in 1965. My main concern is to catalogue the use of military aircraft since 1945, undertaking my own primary research but also incorporating and collating the reliable work of other reputable writers.
In 2000 I started to learn to fly, with British Airways Flying Club at Booker. A combination of age and poor weather slowed the process, but I gained my PPL(A) licence in February 2002 since when I have managed to fly over 300 hours. I bought a half-share in Piper Archer G-DJJA which is based at Fowlmere and got my IMC rating in 2003. I now balance my time between writing, flying, photography, travel to out-of-the-way places and furniture restoration. We live in a listed cottage in Braughing, East Hertfordshire, with a large garden and between us we play an active part in local affairs. Apart from being famous for its sausages, our village even has an active Aviation Society!
That's me in the left seat during formation flying training with Ultimate High at Kemble. Ex Red Arrow pilot Des Sheen seems overly relaxed.
My wife Christine is a talented painter and botanical artist. Samples of her paintings are below.