Reg Windett

Also known as: Whippet (RAF nickname).


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Reg Windett was born in Finchley in 1921 and his love of flying came from going to the “flying circuses” which took place at nearby Hendon aerodrome.

He joined the RAF in about 1939 and his training took him to Canada and subsequently Pensicola where he was assigned to 458 Squadron (RAAF). He was WOP/AG in Wellingtons and, after further training at Holme-on-Spalding-Moor, he saw active service which was mainly based in North Africa and the Mediterranean. Their primary duties were torpedo runs, searching out enemy submarines.

He survived three crashes which were either on take-off or landing but the story he usually told was of his “near death” experience when he was crawling aft and suddenly found himself straddling a large open space with nothing but 1,000' of air and then sea beneath him as “some fool” (as he described) had forgotten to close the bomb bay doors! Latterly he flew in Defiants although he was not very forthcoming about this as I believe that the survival rate was not very high.

After the war, he joined the Ministry of Defence and was part of a team of three who invented, developed and started to implement an early form of radio navigation approach and en-route charts for the Ministry. This work became highly successful and, following moves, firstly to Mayfair offices and then to RAF Northolt, the charts were further developed commercially evolving into what is now known as “Aerads” which are still the primary paper-based source of in-flight radio navigation throughout the world.

He continued this work with International Aeradio Ltd (IAL) who was the electronics and installations side of the radio navigation process.

After his retirement, he continued an active life and interest in aviation and had been involved with some RAF historians concerning the evolution of navigation and was still able to recite and receive morse at high speeds until hearing aids precluded their clarity! Until poor health overtook him, he was a regular attendee at 458 Squardon UK reunions.

Added by: Michael Windett on 22nd November 2009.

 

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Picture of Reg Windett.
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Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund
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Registered Charity No. 1081009