Tributes to engineer who helped the Red Arrows fly high

Albert Whitehouse
Albert Whitehouse

A well-respected engineer and recipient of a Red Arrows Fellowship has died at the age of 90.

Albert Whitehouse, who worked in the aerospace industry in Bitteswell for most of his working life, died at the Grange Nursing Home in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, after suffering from dementia over the last few years. His wife of 69 years, Norma, died last June.

Mr Whitehouse worked for aircraft manufacturers Armstrong Whitworth, Hawker Siddeley and British Aerospace after starting as an apprentice at the age of 14.

He started at RAF Bitteswell in 1964 where aircraft were built for the Royal Air Force’s aerobatic display team, the Red Arrows.

He rose up the ranks at Bitteswell to become executive director and general manager in 1977 and forged a strong relationship with the Red Arrows during that time, becoming president of the Red Arrows association soon after his retirement in 1985.

Ian Dick, team leader of the Red Arrows between 1972 and 1974, said: “Bitteswell never failed us – they always delivered aircraft on time and in immaculate condition.

“This was due to Albert’s infectious enthusiasm and outstanding skills as a boss.

“In an era of industrial turmoil, I have never seen such a proud, willing, dedicated workforce as the one at Bitteswell – all inspired by Albert and his senior management team.

“Our first display of the year was always done at Bitteswell to say ‘thank you’ for the outstanding work done by the workforce.”

Mr Whitehouse was one of the three original recipients of the RAF Aerobatic Team Fellowship when it was introduced in 1999, and just four more people have become fellows since.

He became a fellow thanks to his support and friendship to the Red Arrows over many years.

Wing Commander Martin Higgins, Officer Commanding RAF Aerobatic Team, said: “Without the loyalty, assistance and enthusiasm shown by Fellows such as Mr Whitehouse, Red Arrows displays would not have been enjoyed by so many people over the last 50 years.

“Through his skilled leadership at Bitteswell, and subsequent association with the team, Mr Whitehouse was a foremost supporter of the Red Arrows.

“On behalf of the entire squadron and the current team, I’d like to pay tribute to his dedication and unstinting friendship to the Red Arrows.”

Mr Whitehouse’s funeral took place last Friday October 16 in Oakley Wood Crematorium, Warwick, at 3pm.