Rocky Stone turns 100!

Our Oldest Playing Member

Albert, more commonly known as ‘Rocky’ was born on the 17th April 1924 and was educated at Shipman Road School, West Ham, in the East End of London. He left school at 14 years of age and started work at 'The India Rubber, Gutta Percha and Telegraph Works Company' in Silvertown, East London. Rocky worked there for 3 years, making all things rubber from conveyor belts for the coal industry, to small items, such as golf balls. One of the more interesting products, were rubber casings for the batteries on submarines.

Rocky joined the Air Force at 17 and was immediately stationed at St. Andrews in Scotland for 6 months in the Initial Training Wing. He was then transferred onto Perth for 2 months, where he underwent intensive flying training. From Perth, he travelled to Neepawa, Manitoba, Canada, crossing the Atlantic on ‘The Queen Mary’, along with other passengers such as, Guy Gibson of Dam Busters fame and Sir Winston Churchill, that were travelling to the Quebec Conference.

Rocky Stone Scaled

In Neepawa, Rocky trained in Tiger Moths and after only 6 months, he had his first solo flight. From there he was transferred to Calgary and completed his Service Training. The airport used at Calgary, was shared with a commercial airline, so timing of take-offs and landings was somewhat restricted.

After all his training in Canada was completed, it was back to ‘Good Old Blighty’ for a while before being transferred to Lalghati, in India where he trained to fly gliders, in preparation for the invasion of mainland Japan, alongside the Army Flying Corp. Rocky was then seconded to Burma, now Myanmar, flying Dakotas during WWII. He was responsible for transporting troops & supplies to the fourteenth army or the ‘Forgotten Army’ as they were later known.

IMG 5560 Cropped

After the war, Rocky worked for fourteen years as a draughtsman for The Plessey Company plc, which was a British electronics, defence and telecommunications company. It originated in 1917, growing and diversifying into electronics. Finally, he finished his working life at Ford Motor Co. where he worked for 20 years as an Illustrator Draughtsman. This involved drawing up simple electrical diagrams, that were easy to follow, enabling less qualified people to install the electrical circuitry on new vehicles. This freed up time for the more qualified, which in turn speeded up production time.

In 1963 a friend of Rocky, who was in turn, a very close friend of Colin Chapman, boss of the Lotus Motor Racing Team and was told that Colin was selling his Miles Messenger aeroplane for £700.00. This interested Rocky, so he and nine other friends all contributed £70.00 each and bought the plane. They flew it for 3 years, out of Stapleford Tawny in Essex, before sadly selling it for scrap, as they could no longer obtain an Air Worthiness Certificate, due to oil contamination of the wooden structure.

After the death of his first wife Doris, or Jackie as she was better known, Rocky moved to Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, where he met and married his second wife Betty and together, they joined Gullivers Bowling Club. Thankfully they later joined our club Egerton Park Indoor Bowls Club, where Rocky still bowls to this very day, annoying us all with his accuracy. Sadly, Betty has since died, but Rocky thankfully lives on caring for himself, doing all his own housework, shopping and cooking. Although Rocky transports himself around on his Mobility Scooter, he is appreciative to friends who take him out weekly to the local coffee shop.

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