Harrington, Geoffrey

Harrington, Geoffrey

Geoffrey was born in 1922, the third son of Thomas and Agnes Harrington all of whom were at Hurst – Gordon in Shield (1929) who predeceased him, and Peter in Star (1937). He grew up in Hove and at the age of nine went to Hurstpierpoint. He always thought this a little early but spoke fondly of his days at Hurst and the friends he made there.

The Second World War broke out whilst Geoffrey was still at school and at the age of 18 he persuaded the Headmaster to recommend him for a commission in the Fleet Air Arm. He joined up at HMS Daedalus in July 1941 as a Pilot and undertook training at Gosport and Luton before leaving for Canada in January 1942 to complete his training. He joined 759 Squadron in August 1942 then transferred to 761 Squadron and in May 1943 joined 727 Royal Naval Air Squadron in North Africa, based at Blida aerodrome. Whilst in North Africa their primary role was reconnaissance and towing drogue’s for the Navy’s target practice. In September 1944, the Squadron moved to Malta and Geoffrey remained there until returning to the UK to be demobbed in March 1946.

During his time in the Fleet Air Arm Geoffrey completed over 1,000 hours of flying time, in 18 different types of aircraft such as the Defiant, Swordfish, Hurricane and Spitfire. Although he was never involved in front line fighting he was involved in two major accidents where the planes he was flying were written off. Thankfully he was not seriously injured either time and was able to continue flying throughout the war.

Upon returning to civilian life, Geoffrey joined the family coach building business based in Hove. He married
Betty Medlam in 1948 and they had four children, Anne, Michael, Christine and Andrew. The family lived in Hove until 1965 when they relocated to Enfield, North London and Geoffrey joined Arlington Motors as a director, where he worked until retirement.

There was no doubt that his days in the Fleet Air Arm made a huge impact on his life. After retiring he wrote a diary of his experiences of the Second World War from records and notes he had kept at the time. He also compiled a photograph album of pictures taken. The family have already been approached by a Second World War museum who are interested in obtaining this for the benefit of future generations.

Always a calm man, he was devoted to his. family. He maintained long term friendships, including one with Harry Travis with whom he had been in Star House and another with a fellow pilot from the Fleet Air Arm with whom he had been billeted for most of the war.

He and Betty always enjoyed travelling and they had many holidays abroad. He also played golf and in his latter years bowls and shortly before he died had just taken up watercolor painting.

Geoffrey and Betty moved to Windsor in June 2003 following Betty becoming ill, so that he could be near his two daughters who both lived in Berkshire. He was a loyal and devoted husband to the end and was devastated when Betty died in December 2003. He was close to his daughters and saw them often and was in relatively good health right up until his death in June 2004, following a sudden and unexpected stroke from which he never recovered.

He leaves behind him his four children and five grandchildren.


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