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Popular model plane maker Fred Smith dies aged 88

Popular model plane maker Fred Smith dies aged 88

Francis Batt

Popular model plane maker Fred Smith dies aged 88

A man whose genius for making model planes made him a local legend has died.

Fred Smith, 88, of Ray Lea Road, Maidenhead, was the brother of David Smith, the boat builder who used to be based near Maidenhead Bridge and worked with him for a time.

He was born in Wiltshire and served in the war, sailing on the famous Empire Bunting ship which was scuttled to help protect the beaches at Normandy from the invading troops.

After serving at Normandy he was among the fighting men sent to Palestine, where their poor treatment at the hands of their own government led them to mutiny.

But in happier times he became a prized member of the Windsor Radio Model Society - being made a lifetime honorary member in 1999. His brilliant model aircraft sometimes measured a wingspan of 10 feet.

When Fred's arthritis became too bad in his hands, he continued to fly the planes, using his mouth to operate the control sticks. 

He died on Wednesday after a long illness.

Did you know Fred? Leave your tribute in the comment box below.


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