Notable Golfers

Notable Golfers – Served in the RAF

The notable golfers page aims to provide a summary of people that have served in the Royal Air Force and have made a significant contribution to golf that are either serving or have contributed before and/or after their service. Some of these people have gone on to become PGA professionals and/or continue with their golfing achievements post serving in the R.A.F. Where applicable there are hyperlinks at the end of the summary that links to the full details and achievements of their career.

Cpl James Adams

Jimmy Adams (21 October 1910 – 9 January 1986) was a Scottish professional golfer who was chosen for five Ryder Cup sides and achieved high finishes in The Open Championship on several occasions (five top-10s including two seconds).

Born in Troon, Adams turned professional when 14, and won the Irish Professional Championship, in 1933. In 1936, he won the Penfold Tournament on the British Tour, and came very close to winning The Open Championship at Hoylake. Adams shared the third-round lead with Henry Cotton, but despite beating Cotton (and Gene Sarazen, also in the field that year) in the final round, Adams finished a single shot behind Alf Padgham. Two years later, at Royal St George’s, Adams’ final two rounds of 78-78 put him in second place, this time behind Reg Whitcombe.

Adams was the head pro at the Wentworth Club from 1949 to 1952. He then went to Royal Mid-Surrey, where he stayed until 1969.

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Peter Alliss

Peter Alliss

“The year was 1949, June 16 to be absolutely precise, when I set forth from my home at Ferndown in Dorset, some 6 miles north of the fair town of Bournemouth, to assist in keeping the Red hordes at bay. Yes, it was National Service time. I found myself at Padgate, signing in with a lot of other pale faced 10 and 11 stone youths, before being transferred to West Kirby to do my initial 8 weeks square bashing. I stood in line and the gentleman behind the table said “Would you like to be a Gunner?” Being old enough to remember the daring deeds of the RAF during the War, both Fighter and Bomber Division, I thought “Yes, that’s for me.”

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Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader

Sir Douglas Bader

Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Stuart Bader, CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, the son of a soldier who died as a result of the wounds suffered in the First World War, was born in London in 1910. A good student, Bader won a scholarship to St Edward’s School in Oxford. An excellent sportsman, Bader won a place to the RAF College in Cranwell where he captained the Rugby team and was a champion boxer.

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Flight Officer Pam Barton

Pamela Espeut Barton (4 March 1917 – 13 November 1943) was an English amateur golfer. In early 1941 she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) as a radio operator, later gaining a commission she served as a Flight Officer in command of a staff of more than 600 at RAF Manston in Kent.

Barton was a member of the British team to compete in the 1934 and 1936 Curtis Cup and in 1937.In 1939, Barton won her second British Ladies Amateur title.

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Air Vice Marshall Cecil Beamish

Cecil Beamish is a name synonymous with RAF golf. Inspection of the honours board will show his outstanding contribution to the game – 5 times winner of the Society’s Challenge Cup and, incredibly, 7 times winner of the RAF Individual Championship over a period of 24 years. Cecil tied for 31st place and was 3rd placed amateur in the 1951 Open at Royal Portrush. Cecil was also a very accomplished rugby player who played for London Irish and the RAF. Cecil was one of 4 extremely sporting Beamish brothers and outstanding RAF officers. Cecil retired from the Air Force as an Air Vice-Marshal.

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Air Marshal Sir George Beamish KCB,CBE

Air Marshal Sir George Robert Beamish, KCB, CBE (29 April 1905 – 13 November 1967) was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force from the Second World War to his retirement in the late 1950s. Prior to the Second World War, while Beamish was in the RAF, he was a keen rugby union player, playing for Leicester and being capped 26 times for Ireland and was selected for the 1930 British Lions tour. He was also the chairman of the RAF Rugby Union and an Air Force rugby selector.

George Beamish was born in Dunmanway, Ireland on 29 April 1905. He attended the Coleraine Academical Institution and he and his three younger brothers, Victor, Charles and Cecil were all accomplished sportsmen and went on to join the RAF, Charles also being capped by Ireland.

From 1923 Beamish attended the RAF College, Cranwell as a flight cadet and after he was commissioned in late 1924, Beamish was posted as a pilot on No. 100 Squadron. In 1934 he was made Flight Commander of No. 45 Squadron and in 1936 he was made Squadron Leader.

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Gp Capt Victor Beamish DFC, AFC

Group Captain Francis Victor Beamish, DSO & Bar, DFC, AFC (27 September 1903 – 28 March 1942) was a Royal Air Force fighter pilot and flying ace of the Second World War. After flying during the Battle of Britain he continued to lead fighter operations until he was killed in action in 1942.

Beamish entered the RAF College, Cranwell as a flight cadet on 14 September 1921. After graduation in August 1923 he was granted a permanent commission as pilot officer on 15 August 1923, and posted to 4 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at RAF Farnborough on 18 September 1923. In January 1925 Beamish was posted to the RAF School of Army Co-operation at Old Sarum for a brief posting before being promoted flying officer on 15 February 1925, joining No. 31 Squadron RAF at Ambala, India on 18 November 1925. He transferred to No. 60 Squadron RAF at Kohat in April 1926. Returning to England in October 1926 Beamish participated in a course at the Central Flying School, RAF Wittering before commencing a tour as an instructor at No. 5 Flying Training School, RAF Sealand.

Beamish played rugby union for Harlequins, Leicester, Hampshire, Royal Air Force and Irish Trials for several years. He was the eldest of the Beamish brothers who were all accomplished sportsmen and RAF officers; his brothers being George, Charles and Cecil.

On 16 September 1927 Beamish returned to RAF Cranwell as a member of the staff and promoted flight lieutenant on 12 December 1928. He was posted to Canada on 22 March 1929 on exchange with an RCAF officer. Returning two years later he was posted to No. 25 Squadron RAF at RAF Hawkinge as a Flight Commander. In January 1932 he was appointed Personal Assistant to the AOC at RAF Uxbridge. In 1933 he was admitted to hospital at Uxbridge, due to tuberculosis, having to relinquish his commission on 18 October 1933 due to ill-health.

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Cpl Dick Burton

Professional golfer Dick Burton won the Open at St Andrews in 1939 and soon after joined the RAF for the duration of WW2. Accordingly a member of the RAF has held the Open Championship for the longest time in its history. Dick never really had the opportunity to capitalise on his 1939 success.

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Flt Lt Sir Henry Cotton

Sir Henry Cotton – 3 times Open champion. Henry Cotton won the Open pre-WW2 (1934 and 1937) and post-WW2 (1948) spending the war in the RAF as a pilot officer.

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Ian Denver

Ian Denver, believed last remaining skipper of 156 Squadron of Pathfinders

By Kind Permission of the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC)

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Max Faulkner OBE

Max Faulkner OBE

Herbert Gustavus Max Faulkner, OBE (29 July 1916 – 26 February 2005) was an English professional golfer who won the Open Championship in 1951.

During World War II Faulkner served in the RAF as a Physical Training (PT) instructor. He took up boxing, becoming services champion.

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Pilot Officer Billy Fiske

William Meade Lindsley Fiske III was born on 4th June 1911 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of a wealthy banking family whose ancestors had gone to America from Suffolk in the seventeenth century.

His early schooling was in the US but he went to university in England, at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, arriving in 1928 to study Economics and History. His studies were interwoven with sport of all kinds though his major accomplishment was winning, at the age of 16, a gold medal at the 1928 Winter Olympics at St Moritz, Switzerland. This was for leading the US bobsleigh team to victory and he would lead the team again in 1932 at Lake Placid, New York.

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Air Commodore Cynthia Fowler

Cynthia Fowler

Air Commodore Cynthia Fowler has now written a few words about her life before she became patron of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force Association, which we are pleased to reproduce here. In reply, on behalf of the Association, we are happy to welcome her to our ranks with the wish that the connection will be a long and happy one.

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Flight Officer Kathleen Garnham

Flight Officer Kathleen Garnham

This is the story of Kathleen Garnham who in the 1920’s was a World Champion Golfer at a time when few women played the game or were even allowed in male-dominated golf clubs. There are not many people who know that there was a Links Golf Course on The Naze north of the iconic Naze Tower, at Walton on the Naze, Essex an area prone to erosion by the North Sea.

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Sgt Thomas Bruce Halliburton 

Sgt Thomas Bruce Halliburton (5 June 1915 – 25 October 1975) was a Scottish golfer. He finished tied for 5th in the 1957 Open Championship and played in the 1961 and 1963 Ryder Cups. He died, playing golf, at Wentworth where he had been the professional for over 20 years.

Halliburton was born in a cottage in Rhu, then in Dunbartonshire but now in Argyll and Bute, but after a few years his parents moved to Shandon, a few miles away. It was there that he had his first contact with golf at Shandon Golf Club. He went to the Hermitage School in Helensburgh until he was 15 years old.

During World War II, Halliburton was in the Royal Air Force. He married in 1941 and became a corporal in the same year.

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David Harrison

David Harrison

David Harrison’s association with Hampshire golf started in the County Boys team in 1954 and Youth team in 1955. It was through the Hampshire teams that he was seen at a national level and he represented England Boys in 1954 and England Youths in 1955 before joining the RAF as a National Serviceman. He won the RAF Championships in 1957 & 1958 (at a time when there were many players who went on to gain International honours) and played in the winning RAF teams in the 1957 & 1958 Inter-Services Championships.

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Wg Cdr Cecil Hayward

Cecil Hayward was the first secretary of the Society, a position he held for 30 years and he can be justly described as the Father of RAF Golf. Not only did he excel in administration but he won the Challenge Cup at the Society’s Championship Meeting no less than 13 times in the first 15 years of the Society’s existence. He also won the first 4 RAF Individual Championships, a competition which runs to the present day. He was losing finalist in the English Amateur Championship in 1926 and played for England in 1925 and 1928. Cecil retired from the Air Force as a Wing Commander.

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Air Chief Marshal Sir Paddy Hine

Air Chief Marshal Sir Patrick “Paddy” Bardon Hine, GCB, GBE (born 14 July 1932) was born near Southampton, England and was educated at Peter Symonds School in Winchester.

ACM Sir Paddy Hine

In 1949, at the age of 18 he won both the Brabazon Trophy (the English Men’s Open Amateur Championship) and Carris Trophy (open to Boy Amateur Golfers of all Nations). Throughout his long and very successful RAF career, which saw him become Commander-In-Chief of Strike Command and act as joint commander of all British forces during the first Gulf War, he supported RAF golf with a passion. It should be pointed out that in 1952, one Pilot Officer P B Hine won the Scratch Challenge Cup at the RAFGS’s Championship meeting and in 2014, a staggering 62 years later, Air Chief Marshal P B Hine won the RAFGS’s India Trophy. Now retired and currently RAFGS President, Sir Patrick was the Captain of the Royal and Ancient (R and A) Golf Club, 2010-11, and was the third member of the Society to hold this office in 7 years, after HRH The Duke of York in 2003 and David Harrison in 2007.

  • Air Chief Marshal Sir Patrick Hine GCB GBE FRAeS CIMgt
  • Captain of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club 2010-11
  • President of the Royal Air Force Golfing Society

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Lieutenant Charles Hooman RNAS/RFC

Charles Victor Lisle Hooman (3 October 1887 – 20 November 1969), often known as Chubby Holman, was an English amateur sportsman who played cricket for Oxford University and Kent County Cricket Club between 1907 and 1910. He won Blues for golf, rackets and cricket and later represented the Great Britain and Ireland golf team in the Walker Cup in 1922 and 1923. He served in the Royal Naval Reserve during World War I and the RAF Volunteer Reserve during World War II.

Hooman was born at Ditton, Kent in 1887, the only son of Thomas and Louisa Hooman. His father had been a shipbroker and manufacturer of Portland cement and had played football for Wanderers, appearing in the 1872 FA Cup Final, and England. The family moved to Torquay and he was educated at Charterhouse School from 1901 where he played in the Cricket XI from 1903 to 1906, captaining the side in his final year, and won the Rackets Pairs competition at the Public Schools Championships in 1906.

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Reg Horne

Reginald William Horne (19 July 1908 – 5 January 1984) was an English professional golfer whose most notable success came in winning the British PGA Matchplay Championship shortly after World War II had ended in 1945. He was born in London.Horne would go on to win several other important events on the British Tour. He nearly won the 1947 Open Championship at Hoylake, scoring a 71 in the final round to catch and overtake players like Henry Cotton and Norman Von Nida as the third round leaders all struggled, but in the end just failed to catch Irishman Fred Daly by one shot. Horne would regularly finish in the top thirty of the Open over the following decade, without ever again coming as close to victory.

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Sqn Ldr Bill Igoe

Squadron Leader William Anthony Kevin Igoe, FRAES, CE (17 Apr 1911 – 15 Nov 1993) was an Irish born Royal Air Force officer who was Senior Controller for No. 11 Group RAF at RAF Biggin Hill. He was also a noted sportsman and businessman.

He was born in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary and educated at Presentation College Bray, Co. Wicklow and the Engineering College in Cork, part of University College Cork. This led to a scholarship to study aeronautical engineering at the London College of Aeronautical Engineering, and from there he joined the RAF. His sporting career began at this time. He was particularly gifted on the rugby field where he played for a Leinster Schools XV against both Connacht and Munster in the 1928–29 season. He also won a Munster Senior Cup medal with Dolphin during the 1930–31 season. In England he played for London Irish and the RAF. The 1935 edition of Who’s Who in Sport listed his activities as rugby, boxing, tennis, golf, and swimming, in the first two of which he represented the RAF.

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Pilot Officer Ronald George Inglis

Son of George and Janet Smail Inglis, of Hinchley Wood, Esher, Surrey. Scottish Boys Golf Champion, 1937 and 1938.

Ronald G. Inglis, Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force, son of Mr. and Mrs. R. G. Inglis, Esher, Surrey, was born on 14th July 1920. He left Watson’s in 1934 to enter Kingston Grammar School. He played for Scotland v England in the Boys’ Golf International Match at Southport in 1936 and captained the Scottish team at Bruntsfield in 1937, in which year he won the Scottish Boys’ Championship at North Berwick, a performance which he repeated in 1938. In 1939 he led the qualifiers in the Scottish Golf Championship (Service) at Prestwick. Joining the R.A.F. in 1940 as an aircraftman, he was commissioned in 1941, and was killed in action in a raid over Germany on 2nd June 1942.

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Cpl John Jacobs

John Jacobs

“Capt Halcombe, who had served in the Royal Flying Corps in the Great War, and his wife were members at Lindrick Golf Club where my father was the professional and where I spent my childhood. Capt Halcombe had a Tiger Moth and his wife a Moth Minor. I was so very lucky to occasionally fly with Capt Halcombe in his Tiger Moth which was housed at Netherthorpe, a grass field very adjacent to the golf course.

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Pilot Officer Alexander Thompson Kyle

Alexander Thompson Kyle (16 April 1907 – 7 April 1990)was a Scottish amateur golfer. He won the 1939 Amateur Championship and was in the British Walker Cup team in 1938, 1947 and 1951.

Kyle was born in Hawick, Roxburghshire, Scotland but his family moved to Peebles when he was about two years old. Kyle learnt his golf at Peebles Golf Club. Kyle moved to Yorkshire in 1931 and was a member of Sand Moor Golf Club, north of Leeds.

Kyle was selected for the 1938 Walker Cup team.

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Wg Cdr P.B. (Laddie) Lucas

CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC was a superb wartime fighter pilot, an MP, a world class golfer who captained the Walker Cup team, a successful businessman and a fine writer. Laddie Lucas also captained the British Walker Cup Team in 1949.

Laddie Lucas – Reflections of a Golfer

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Pilot Officer William Laidlaw

P/O William Laidlaw (1914 – 20 October 1941) was a Scottish professional golfer. He finished tied for 7th place in the 1937 Open Championship and won the 1938 Daily Mirror Assistants’ Tournament. He was killed during an RAF bombing raid on Bremen, aged 27.

Laidlaw was an assistant professional at Gleneagles Hotel (from 1932) and Malden (from 1934) and then with Henry Cotton at Ashridge Golf Club from the start of 1937. He became full professional at West Herts Golf Club in early 1939.

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SAC Matt Lygate

Matt Lygate was for many years a stalwart of the Scottish golf scene: an internationalist as a player, but, perhaps more prominently as a leading official in the amateur game.

Associated with golf in Troon, he was a long-time member and former Captain of Troon Portland GC, having that honour in their centenary year of 1994. Troon Portland GC shares the Royal Troon GC’s second course with Troon Ladies.

National Service with the RAF was to separate the young couple in 1958. Mary waved Matt off to basic training in England on the Thursday, assured he would not get leave for eight weeks. However, as she alighted from her bus outside the shipyard on the Saturday morning, there was Matt waiting for her.

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Roger Mace

Roger Mace

Roger has dedicated his entire life to golf with his 60 year plus career beginning in 1950 when he joined the Professional Golfers Association. Prior to his call up for National Service in November 1953, he held the position of Assistant to Hector Padgham at the Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club. It was in 1953 that he became the Sussex Assistants Champion marking him out as a future golfer of some contention. Two years on then after his RAF interlude, Roger moved his career apace onwards and upwards. Three years as a Full Professional with the Dorking Golf Club then on to a further three years as the Duke of Norfolk’s Professional at the Dukes Littlehampton Golf Club. 1962/1963 saw Roger take the award as The Sussex Professional Matchplay Champion. Three years as a Professional at the Barton-On Sea Golf Club followed by a seven year spell at East Berks Golf Club, his longest appointment to date.

From 1973 until November 1981, Roger was Club Professional and Director of Golf at the Downshire Golf Club. In 1974 and 1976 He was BB&O Professional Champion. Then followed a fifteen year spell as Club Professional and Proprietor of Shillinglee Park Golf Club until December 1996. During this period between 1982 and 1984 Roger, along with John Stirling, Bernard Gallagher and Tommy Horton were coaching the best 50 Juniors in the UK at the Commercial Union School of Excellence. Since 1998 to the present day, Roger remains very active as Professional and Director of Golf of the Monxton and Grateley Golf Centre near Andover in Hampshire

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Lieutenant Hardit Singh Malik RFC/RAF

Sardar Hardit Singh Malik CIE OBE (23 November 1894 – 31 October 1985) was an Indian civil servant and diplomat. He was the first Indian High Commissioner to Canada, and then Indian Ambassador to France.

He was the first Indian to fly as a pilot with the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War. He also played first-class cricket between 1914 and 1930.

The second son of Sardar Bahadur Mohan Singh and Sardarni Lajvanti, he was born in Rawalpindi, Punjab, British India(now in Punjab, Pakistan). Malik was the title bestowed to his grandfather Sardar Khazan Singh. He travelled to England aged 14, where he attended a prep school and then Eastbourne College, before reading history at Balliol College, Oxford, from October 1912, graduating in 1915. He achieved an Oxford blue in golf.

Malik appeared in 18 first-class cricket matches. He played in five County Championship matches for Sussex in 1914 and then returned to play for Sussex in 1921, also playing one match for Oxford University in 1921. He later played for Sikhs and then Hindus in the short-lived Lahore Tournament in India between 1923 and 1930. A right-handed batsman, Malik scored 636 runs with a highest score of 106; as a bowler, he took four wickets with a best performance of two for 92. He captained the team while at Eastbourne College, and also represented Oxford University in golf.

Sardar Hardit Singh Malik CIE OBE (23 November 1894 – 31 October 1985) was an Indian civil servant and diplomat. He was the first Indian High Commissioner to Canada, and then Indian Ambassador to France.

He was the first Indian to fly as a pilot with the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War. He also played first-class cricket between 1914 and 1930.

The second son of Sardar Bahadur Mohan Singh and Sardarni Lajvanti, he was born in Rawalpindi, Punjab, British India(now in Punjab, Pakistan). Malik was the title bestowed to his grandfather Sardar Khazan Singh. He travelled to England aged 14, where he attended a prep school and then Eastbourne College, before reading history at Balliol College, Oxford, from October 1912, graduating in 1915. He achieved an Oxford blue in golf.

Malik appeared in 18 first-class cricket matches. He played in five County Championship matches for Sussex in 1914 and then returned to play for Sussex in 1921, also playing one match for Oxford University in 1921. He later played for Sikhs and then Hindus in the short-lived Lahore Tournament in India between 1923 and 1930. A right-handed batsman, Malik scored 636 runs with a highest score of 106; as a bowler, he took four wickets with a best performance of two for 92. He captained the team while at Eastbourne College, and also represented Oxford University in golf.

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Ian Marchbank

Ian Marchbank, who has died aged 87, was one of Scotland’s best known, most respected and popular golf professionals, considered a complete gentleman by all who came into contact with him and an outstanding ambassador for the game. Called up to the R.A.F. for National Service, he spent most of it near Manchester, his ability at golf earning him privileges, including regular matches with officers.Synonymous with Gleneagles where he was head pro for over thirty years, he also served in that capacity at Turnberry for four years but it is the former with which he is most associated.

During his tenure he dealt with royalty, high profile politicians, international businessmen, celebrities from the entertainment world, and many of the world’s top golfers as well as innumerable ‘ordinary’ club golfers of varying degrees of ability, all of whom he treated in exactly the same way, extending the same respect, courtesy and attention to all. Those characteristics which were ingrained in his personality endeared him to everyone and reflected his deep love of the game of golf.

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Pilot Officer Paul Mayhew

Paul Francis Mayhew, of Felthorpe, Norfolk, was educated at Haileybury College and then Christ Church, Oxford, where he read Modem Greats. He was a member of the University Air Squadron in 1939 and in June he joined the RAFVR as an Airman U/T Pilot.

Called to full-time service in September, he was commissioned on the 26th and sent to No. 1 ITW Cambridge. In mid-November Mayhew was posted to FTS, Cranwell and was awarded his flying badge in February 1940. With the course completed, he went to CGS, Warmwell and then to No 1 School of Army Co-operation at Old Sarum on May 9th. Mayhew was posted to 5 OTU, Aston Down on 23rd June 1940

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Wg Cdr Bill McCrea

….on his great friend (and possibly best-ever RAF golfer), Cecil Beamish

Writing this has been difficult as Cecil was a special friend; in fact, the best I ever had. I have played hundreds of rounds of golf with Cecil Beamish over dozens of courses. But the golf I remember glad to say was played over the RAF Bruggen course in the early 60s. Cecil was at the nearby RAF hospital at Wegberg and I was at HQ RAF Germany at Rheindahlen. We played at least twice a week, sometimes more, and always medal play. Three wins in a row meant an extra stroke for the loser which was retained until the next adjustment. The golf was so intense that the standard of our play improved markedly, leading in my case, I am glad say, to my first international cap. A wonderful man, who was a great influence in my life, both on and off the golf course. Cecil was truly one of the RAF’s golfing greats.

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Flt Lt (Sam) Max McCreadie

Max McCreadie & Bill McCrea
Bill (on the left) with his good friend Max McCready during elementary flying training in Alabama in 1941.

Perhaps the highlight of the Society’s achievement occurred in May 1949 when British Walker Cup Team included Laddie Lucas as Captain and Max McCready as one of the team players.  A dinner was held in his honour at the RAF Club on Piccadilly. He was a Walker Cup player in 1949 and 1951. The British Walker Cup Side

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Peter Mills

Mills was assistant at Fulwell Golf Club from 1948. He was in the RAF doing his National Service in 1950 and 1951 which limited his playing opportunities. He did, however, reach the semi-final of the Gor-Ray Assistants’ match-play tournament in 1950 and in 1951 won the Coombe Hill Assistants’ Tournament by 11 strokes. In late 1951, he moved to Wentworth as an assistant and was second to Bernard Hunt in the 1952 Coombe Hill Assistants’ Tournament. He lost in the final of the same tournament in 1954 at the 19th hole, but in 1955 he continued his success at Coombe Hill winning the tournament for a second time. Mills had moved to West Hill Golf Club in late 1954. Later the same year he won the Professional Short Course Championship in Torquay. He scored 202 for the 72 holes to win by two strokes and take the first prize of £100.

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Gp Capt John Stanton Fleming (JSF) Morrison DFC

John Stanton Fleming Morrison DFC (17 April 1892 – 28 January 1961) was a British golf course architect born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, UK. He worked predominantly with Charles Alison, Harry Colt, and Alister MacKenzie, in 1928 forming Colt, Alison & Morrison Ltd.

John Morrison was educated at Charterhouse School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where his studies in history and law extended from 1912 to 1919, interrupted by his war service. He was a bomber pilot during World War I and a Group Captain in the RAF during World War II. He was among the first pilots to land an airplane on an aircraft carrier. He was awarded the DFC and bar.

In his younger years he was a talented all-round sportsman, representing England at football as an amateur and playing first-class cricket with Cambridge University and Somerset. He won Blues for cricket, football and golf. He also won the Belgian Amateur Golf Championship in 1929. In 1914 he scored 233 not out for Cambridge against Marylebone Cricket Club, batting for only 165 minutes. At the time it was a record first-class score for Cambridge and a record for the Fenner’s ground.

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JOHN NIVEN DFC

John Niven, along with his two friends and golfing rivals, Cecil Beamish and Bill McCrea might reasonably be described as “ The Great Triumvirate “ of The RAF Golfing Society, being such vital members of RAF and RAFGS teams for countless years.

John was a skilled player and an irrepressible competitor throughout his golfing life: it is almost suffice to say that John won the RAF Championship in 1948 and in 2001 won, with his son David, the prestigious Father and Son tournament at West Hill Golf Club. Truly an astonishing span of almost unceasing and unstoppable success.

Success in Malaya, Selangor and North Malay Champion in the 1950s, Berks, Bucks , &Oxon County Champion in 1957, Scottish Seniors Open Champion in 1982. British Over-65 Champion in 1989, and RAF Golfing Society Champion on eight occasions… the list is almost endless.

Yet some close to him might sense that his greatest pleasure was realised as an inspirational team captain: he led the RAF Inter Services Team to three consecutive victories at Royal St Georges, 1956/58, took many RAFGS teams to compete inThe Brent Knoll Bowl at Burnham & Berrow, and none of his friends were the least surprised when, taking over the captain’s role of Berks, Bucks and Oxon in 1983 his team proceeded to win The English County Championship!

John was a member of The Royal & Ancient, an Honorary Life Member of Newbury & Crookham Golf Club, and President of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Golf Union 1991/92. His long standing affection for RAF golf was perhaps marked by his two principal guests at the Annual County Dinner being Paddy Hine and David Harrison.

Wg Cdr Raymond Oppenheimer

British Walker Cup captain. Raymond Oppenheimer, whose family operated the De Beer diamond mines in South Africa, was a scratch golfer at Temple GC from the age of 16. He played for England before WW2, which he spent in the RAF and attained the rank of Wg Cdr. He subsequently captained England in 1947, 48, 50 and 51.

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AC Michael Pearson

“My RAF days bring back many happy memories although I was only a conscript serving for 23 months beginning in 1947. After a few weeks at West Drayton and Hounslow, I received a request posting to HQ 11 Gp Fighter Command. This was apparently organised by Harry Howell, Captain of Hillingdon Golf Club! The 1st green was just a few yards from the Operations Room at HQ 11 Gp. Arriving at the guardroom I was told to report to the AOC at 1000 the next day. I was just 18 years old and have never forgotten the Sergeant’s expression. I duly arrived at Hillingdon House on time, saluted and gave my number 2365646 AC Pearson. AVM Macdonald’s first words were “Have you brought your clubs with you?”

The above extract from a letter to Roger Carr is reproduced by kind permission of Michael Pearson.

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Sqn Ldr Frank Pennink

Frank Pennink

Frank Pennink served in the Royal Air Force during WW2 and was a Champion Amateur golfer.

In 1937 he won the English Amateur Championship, the Royal St George’s Gold Vase (with a record score) and the South of England Amateur Championship.

FOR GOLFERS THE ENGLISH AMATEUR CHAMPION

the general joy, the finalists for the English Amateur Championship at Saunton were two players who play the game for their fun and they both of them earned their distinction. Leonard Crawley has for some time been recognised as about the best amateur hitter of the ball, though prone to alarmingly insane lapses.

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Dai Rees

Dai Rees was born 31 March, 1913 in the village of Font-y-gary near Barry, Glamorganshire, the son of David Evans Rees (died 1959) and his wife Louisa Alice (née Trow). As his parents were involved in the world of golf – his father was the professional at Leys Golf Club in the Vale of Glamorgan and his mother a steward in the same club – he was brought up to play the game from childhood. He began to play at the age of five.

He was educated at the primary school at St Athan in Gileston and then Jenner Park School in Barry, but as his father was appointed to the Aberdare Golf Club, the family moved in 1925, and Dai Rees attended the school at Aber-nant, the village where Aberdare golf course was situated. He began his career as a professional golfer in Aberdare in 1929 aged 15 as a deputy to his father. Soon he was making a name for himself and won the PGA Assistants Championship in 1935 and 1936.

He moved to South Hertfordshire Golf Club, Totteridge after the death of Harry Vardon in 1937 and he was associated with them as professional for 37 years. (It is interesting to note that his daughter Gill Williams was the Captain of the South Hertfordshire Golf Club in 2008, an honour that her father would have been proud of). Dai Rees married Eunice Thomas in 1939, and during the Second World War he served with the RAF, with responsibility for Physical Training. For a period he served in the Middle East.

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Doug Sewell

Douglas Norman Sewell (19 November 1929 – 9 September 2017) was an English professional golfer. Before turning professional he had a successful amateur career, playing in the Walker Cup in 1957 and 1959.

Sewell was a useful amateur golfer and played in the Walker Cup in 1957 and 1959 and the Eisenhower Trophy in 1960.

Sewell won the Brabazon Trophy at Moortown Golf Club in 1957, finishing 8 strokes ahead of Tony Slark. The following year he won the English Amateur at Walton Heath Golf Club beating the Rhodesian David Proctor 8 & 7 in the final. Proctor qualified because his father was born in England. He came close to winning the Berkshire Trophy in April 1959, finishing a stroke behind Joe Carr after making a bogey at the final hole. In June he won his second Brabazon Trophy after a playoff with Michael Bonallack. They had each scored 300, seven ahead of the rest. In the 18-hole playoff Sewell scored 78 to Bonallack’s 79. His aggregate score of 580 in the Berkshire and Brabazon trophies made him the first winner of the Philip Scrutton Jug. He won the English Amateur for the second time in 1959 beating Martin Christmas in the final at the 41st hole

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Philip F. Scrutton

Philip Furse Scrutton (1923 – 30 October 1958) was an English amateur golfer. He played in the Walker Cup in 1955 and 1957. He was killed in a road traffic accident at the age of 35.

Scrutton remains one the few amateur golfers to have won the Brabazon and Berkshire Trophies in the same year, the others being Guy Wolstenholme (1960), Michael Bonallack (1968, 1971), Peter Hedges (1976), Sandy Lyle (1977) and Jeremy Robinson (1987). He is also one of the few amateurs to have won the Brabazon Trophy outright on at least three separate occasions, the others being Michael Bonallack and Ronnie Shade.

At Woodhall Spa in 1954, in a gale of wind and rain, Scrutton produced a brilliant final round to win the Brabazon Trophy. He was seven strokes behind with 9 holes to play. In a thrilling finish he birdied three of the last four holes to win by a stroke. Walton Heath professional Harry Busson, braving the weather, followed Scrutton and said afterwards that it was the greatest round of golf he ever witnessed.

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John Stirling

FORMER Professional Golfers’ Association captain and Meyrick Park professional, John Stirling, has died at the age of 89.

John was born in Scotland and first picked up a golf club at the age of nine. He left school at the age of 13 and immediately went to the nearest golf course, which he helped to keep running during the war.

He practised hard and was handicap scratch by 16. Just over a year later, aged 17, he joined the RAF and after he was demobbed he joined a club on the outskirts of London, won a tournament and became an assistant professional with the Roehampton Club.

John went on to take the post of a senior professional at Woking and then applied to Meyrick Park to replace the golf professional, which 84 other people went for. He made the shortlist of the final five before being told that he would be the club’s next professional.

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Colin Stokes

“I would like to share with you memories of a match against the German national team 1961 at Bruggen. Neil McLean and I had a little bet, 2s/6d I think, on who would have the biggest win or smallest loss. I won my match 4 & 3 and went to see what Neil was up to as he was playing behind me. I came across him as he came off the 9th green and asked him how he was doing.

“Out in 36,” he replied.

“How do you stand,” I asked.

“9 down,” he replied!

He won the 10th with a birdie 3 and lost the 11th with a three so he was 2 under 4’s and beaten 9 & 7. His opponent had holed his second shot for an eagle at the first, birdied the second with a two and eagled the short par 4 third with a two, thereby having a 2 2 2 start and going three up!!! Poor Neil we did think he was hard done by!

Happy days, Colin (aka Charlie in those days according to the phonetic alphabet of the day).”

The above extract from an email to Roger Carr is reproduced by kind permission of Colin Stokes.

Robert Sweeney DFC

Robert Sweeny, the former British amateur golf champion, has been one of the brightest stars of the international scene. An American financier, he was one of the founder members of the famous Eagle squadron of American volunteers who flew with the RAF in the Battle of Britain. He emerged as a Squadron Leader with the DFC and younger brother of Charles Sweeny, founder of the famous RAF Eagle Squadrons.

Born in California and raised in England, he was educated at Oxford. Learning to play golf at his father’s summer residence at Le Touquet, he won the 1937 British Amateur golf championship, runner up in 1946 and semi finalist on two other occasions, he was beaten at the final hole by Arnold Palmer in the US Amateur golf championship in 1954.

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William Iestyn Tucker

William Iestyn Tucker was born in Nantyglo in December 1926. His father was the professional at Palleg Golf Club before being appointed at West Monmouthshire Golf Club.

Tucker had a reported total of 26 aces in his career and held the course record at 15 clubs. He joined the RAF on leaving school in 1944 until 1947 and joined the Monmouthshire Golf Club in 1948 where he started a remarkable journey in Welsh Amateur golfing history. He first played for Wales in 1949 and represented his country 168 times over a period of 30 years. Tucker played in his first final of the Welsh Amateur Championships in 1951 and proceeded to play in eight finals – the last one being in 1976 when he also won the Stroke Play Championship. He was the Welsh Seniors Champion in 1982/84 and 89.

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Archie Thorburn

John Thorburn born 19th December 1875, Forth Street Lane, son of Archibald Thorburn, fisherman and his wife Mary Ann Hepburn. John Thorburn apprenticed as a clubmaker with Ben Sayers and was promoted to First-Class caddie on the West Links, North Berwick on 17th September 1895. He was appointed assistant to Tom Fernie at Cambuslang Golf Club (1905-07). John was appointed head pro at Kilmacolm Golf Club (1907-1917) where he was joined by his sister Isabella as club manageress. In 1929 John Thorburn was appointed pro at Peebles Golf Club when it was reported that over fifty applications were received for the position. During Thorburn’s tenure he assisted Harry Colt to revamp the course in 1934 and coached club member Alex Kyle, three times Walker Cup player and winner of the Amateur Championship in 1939.

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Jill Thornhill

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Ronnie White

Ronald James White (9 April 1921 – 17 December 2005) was an English amateur golfer. He was one of the leading amateur golfers of the post-World War II period. He played in five consecutive Walker Cup matches from 1947 to 1955. In the four matches from 1947 to 1953 Great Britain and Ireland won 12 and halved 3 of the 48 individual matches of which White contributed 6 wins and a half in his 8 matches, winning all his four singles matches.

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Air Commodore John Whitworth, CB, DSO, DFC & Bar

Air Commodore John Whitworth, CB, DSO, DFC & Bar (10 January 1912 – 13 November 1974) was a Royal Air Force pilot in the 1930s and a commander during and after the Second World War. He was educated at Oundle School in Northamptonshire.

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LAC Guy Wolstenholme

Guy Bertram Wolstenholme (8 March 1931 – 9 October 1984) was an English professional golfer. He had a successful career both as an amateur and then as a professional.

Wolstenholme was born in Leicester, and is the father of Gary Wolstenholme.

As an amateur, Wolstenholme won both the English stroke play and match play championships, the latter on two occasions. He also won several other prestigious titles, including the Berkshire Trophy three times, and the German Amateur Championship in 1956. Wolstenholme remains one the few amateur golfers to have won both The Berkshire and Brabazon Trophies in the same calendar year, the others being Philip Scrutton (1952), Michael Bonallack (1968, 1971), Peter Hedges (1976), Sandy Lyle (1977) and Jeremy Robinson (1987). He played on the Great Britain and Ireland team in the 1957 and 1959 Walker Cup matches and the 1958 and 1960 Eisenhower Trophy, finishing third both years. The highlight of his amateur career came in 1960, when finishing 6th, and low amateur, in The Open Championship at St Andrews.

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