Tributes have been paid to a Battle of Britain Memorial Trustee who committed many years’ service to the charity and who died this morning, just three days before his 95th birthday.
Flight Lieutenant Bernard Hyde AE*, who became the first site manager at the Capel-le-Ferne memorial in 1993, died peacefully in hospital after 27 years of support for the Trust. Appointed to the manager’s role by no less than Wing Commander Geoffrey Page DSO, OBE, DFC*, the inspiration for the Memorial, he was invited to become a Trustee after standing down from the post.
“Bernard’s death is very sad,” said Trust Chairman Richard Hunting CBE. “He was absolutely pivotal to the Memorial in its early days. Geoffrey Page, Clive Hunting – then chairman of the Trust – and others relied on him hugely.”
As well as making a tremendous contribution to the operation of the Memorial in its early days, Flt Lt Hyde played his part on active service. He received the Air Efficiency Award twice, one for his war service and later as a post-war reservist.
He was a navigator on Dakotas, took part in Operation Market Garden and then flew in Burma, which inspired the Trust to name the secondary access to the Capel-le-Ferne clifftop site the Burma Road. After VJ Day he served as an air traffic controller at Jakarta until the Dutch could take over.
Former President of the Trust, Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon GCB, CBE, described Flt Lt Hyde as “a very special man”, while Trustee Andy Simpson said the news was “very sad”, adding: “Bernard was a gentleman who was always generous with his advice and support. The Trust and the Capel site owe much to him.”
Fl Lt Hyde’s wife Marian and daughter predeceased him.