Denis Talbot Whitham: [Heath 1934–1939]

Captain Denis T. Whitham lived in Berkshire and was Chairman of the BOAC Section of BALPA (British Airline Pilots Association) when the existence of two corporations (BOAC and BEA — now both part of British Airway) made it most stressful.

However, Denis, whose great qualities were leadership, intelligence, a high work rate, unquestioned integrity and, above all, being a gentleman, was popular and was re-elected to his office regularly. When he stood down, it was at a time of his choosing.

Denis had transferred from the RAF to BOAC and flew flying boats before becoming one of the first ten pilots to be posted to the Comet 1 training at De Havilland, Hatfield. He later flew Constellations, Comet 4 and the VC10 before accepting training duties and operational management at Flight Superintendent level.

On retirement he became Treasurer and then Chairman of a Cheshire Home. He suffered from Parkinson’s Disease but bore his long illness very bravely.

He leaves a wife, Winsome, and sons, Peter and David. David followed his father as an airline pilot and is with British Airways. He wife tells us:

Denis was very proud of his school and wore his tie with great pride. His mother’s tremendous efforts to keep him at such a fine school were never forgotten. He felt it the foundation of his very successful career. Denis was a real credit to Heath.

First appeared in Newsletter dated