An esteemed wartime pilot, who made nearly 1,800 flights, has died aged 87.
Alec Matthews, from Sutton Coldfield, flew 42 different types of aircraft, including Hurricanes and Spitfires, for the Air Transport Auxiliary or ATA, ferrying aeroplanes unarmed between airfields and the Royal Navy.
Last year he hit the headlines as one of 100 surviving ATA members to receive medals commemorating their actions in the Second World War. They played a key role in Battle of Britain moving aircraft to the frontline.
He died at home on Saturday, leaving wife Sarita, whom he married in 1945, daughters Janet and Helen and three grandchildren. He had also become a proud great-grandpa in November to Oliver.
Granddaughter Victoria Hoe said: “Grandpa was the most amazing man and was held in the highest possible esteem by all who knew him.
“I can’t imagine there being anyone more loved, he was both a character and a true gentleman. The family are all so devastated that he has gone. He brought so much love and happiness to our lives.”
Alec was born in Erdington and educated at King Edward VI Aston in Birmingham.
Initially an RAF pilot, he was grounded due to failing eyesight. He transferred to ATA after getting prescription lenses for his flying goggles.
Speaking last year, he said: “I feel privileged to have served in the ATA.”
He later became a travel agent, but retained his love of flight and was privileged to join Concorde chief test pilot Brian Trubshaw on a proving flight across the Atlantic in 1975.
The funeral will be held at Sutton Coldfield Crematorium on Tuesday, April 28 at 2pm.
No flowers. Donations to the Royal Air Forces Association.