A FORMER station commander of RAF Brize Norton has died, aged 87.

Group Captain (retired) John Richardson, of Woodcroft, Kennington, commanded the Carterton base in the early 1970s. He died on March 25 after a short illness.

Known to his friends as JR, he joined the RAF in 1942 and started flying in Tiger Moths at Windsor Great Park, before completing his training in Canada.

After returning to the UK, he flew Wellington bombers and was Chief of Defence Staff Earl Mountbatten’s personal pilot for a short time before spending time at RAF Benson as part of 58 (Photographic Reconnaissance) Squadron.

He held several other posts before returning to Benson where he commanded the Transport Command examining unit.

He was awarded the AFC for ‘exceptional flying services’ during his two year tour. He was promoted to Group Captain and then became station commander at Brize Norton two years later.

After retiring from the RAF in 1975 he worked for the NHS as a training officer.

He remained a member of the RAF volunteer reserve until the age of 65.

He was also an honorary fellow of Templeton College, now part of Oxford’s Said Business School, having earned his MBIM (Member, British Institute of Management) while in the RAF.

After leaving the RAF, he obtained a private pilot’s licence and regularly flew from Oxford Airport, with his sons as co-pilots.

He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Joan, their two children and four grandchildren.