Death of former RAF officer who enjoyed a varied career

Barry Wiggins (file picture)
Barry Wiggins (file picture)

A RETIRED Wing Commander who was the last RAF chief engineer of the Kenyan Air Force has died aged 83.

Dunton Bassett man Barry Dixon Wiggins MBE completed his National Service with the RAF in Egypt, Cyprus and Jordan in 1949, later resuming a permanent commission in 1960.

A two-year posting in the then British Middle-Eastern colony of Aden followed before he was seconded to the Air Force of Kenya, serving as chief engineer from 1963 to 1965.

The posting saw him work directly for Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first president after it gained independence from Britain.

Moving from Yorkshire to Dunton Bassett with his wife Sheila and their children David and Anne in 1980, Mr Wiggins joined Lutterworth Rotary Club, serving as its secretary for 10 years and later as its public relations officer.

Mr Wiggins died peacefully at home on Friday, December 28.

Sheila, his wife of 57 years, said: “Barry was dearly loved by his family and will be much missed – for so many, many reasons – in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.”

Mr Wiggins was born in Stockton on Tees and read Mechanical Engineering at University College London, followed by a graduate traineeship with Rootes Motors before being called up for National Service.

Upon returning to Britain he joined the family business and married Sheila in 1955.

Mr Wiggins received the MBE for his work in Kenya in 1976 before retiring in 1979.

During the 1980s and 90s he had a variety of unusual jobs, often on a voluntary basis.

They included placements in Zambia, Cyprus and the Seychelles as well as a job in Jordan guiding the transport engineering needs at the country’s Natural Resources Authority Headquarters.

He was a member of the Anglo-Jordanian Society and one of his proudest moments was attending the Memorial Service of King Hussain of Jordan in 1999.

A Master Mason for nearly 60 years, he also helped found a Round Table group in Aden in 1965 and was the founder chairman of the Warwickshire branch of the Institute of Road Transport Engineers, now the Society of Operations Engineers.

He loved spending time with his family and retained an interest in the motor industry, railways, aircraft and all things connected with farming and animals right up to his death.

For the last 30 years of his life Mr Wiggins suffered from progressive deafness and supported deafness charities including Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, which will benefit from a collection to be held at his memorial service tomorrow (Friday).

The service will take place at Dunton Bassett Church at 2pm.