Timothy (Tim) Webb passed away on November 16, 2015 at the age of 86 years, in Melbourne, Australia.
Timothy’s birthplace was Lancing, as his father Alan, was a Master at the College and the family lived nearby. The proximity of Shoreham Airport just below the College was to have a profound impact on Timothy, who was frequently berated for missing cricket ‘catches’ because he had been distracted by planes flying in and out of the Airport. His lifelong fascination with planes began here.
Tim’s Lancing education was interrupted by a three-year stint in Australia when his father took up a position at King’s School Parramatta in Sydney. This was quite a cultural shock for the family, and Tim and his younger brother, David, suffered some serious ribbing by their Aussie classmates! The family returned to England in 1944 after a four-month long sea voyage with the convoy of ships only partially avoiding torpedo attacks by submarines. It was a vivid memory for Tim. After finishing at Lancing he did national service with the RAF in 1947, serving in the UK and Germany as an aircraft mechanic. He attended College in London and gained his Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering in 1952 and later worked with Flight Refuelling in its design office. Tim met his wife Irene (‘Mickie’) who was a nurse at Salisbury and they married in 1954. In 1959, they emigrated to Melbourne, Australia, with their two older children, Caroline and Stephen. Their third child, Michael, was born there. Due to trade union remonstrations about migrants taking local jobs, a promised position in aeronautical engineering was rescinded. So Tim did door-to-door sales until landing a position with the Shell Petroleum Company where he worked for 22 years as an Area Representative and later a Dealer Training Officer. Whilst working with Shell, Tim also designed a road-safety board game for children (METCON), which was awarded the Toy of the Year (indoor games) in 1978. Tim established a very successful business to market METCON and other road safety games. The business continued to support Tim and his family for nearly 20 years, and enabled Tim to take early retirement from the Shell Company in 1981. Timothy had a keen interest in community service, and was an active member of the Jaycees (Junior Chamber International), serving as a local chapter Chairman, and was made a JCI Senator. He served as Chairman of a regional Road Safety Council, and Vice-Chairman of a local driver training school. His love of aviation continued through the years, and in the 1990s following a visit to the UK, he did extensive research to complete a History of Shoreham Airport, launching the first of two books in 1996. This was a considerable feat as he now lived 12,000 miles away! In 2002 Tim retired (again!) and moved with his wife to a retirement village, but maintained his active community involvement. His wife passed in 2011. In 2014 after a bad fall, he moved to the village hostel. Tim still kept up an interest in the gardens surrounding his room and lounge area at the hostel, albeit directing family members in planting and pruning from his armchair. His sharp wit was ever lurking, and if the topic of planes was raised he was master of information and detail! He struggled with his lack of capacity to get about after another bad fall, but he loved to chat – life, politics, family, etc. If visitors came to the hostel to entertain, with music for instance, he was always concerned that nobody was arranged to make a little speech at the end of the presentation – and he would dutifully come to the fore with appropriate words. He was always the gentleman. Tim passed peacefully at the hostel in November. He is survived by his three children and his four grandchildren and partners. He will be sadly missed but we know he has far better things to be doing. We now ponder the delights of a former aeronautical engineer being in Heaven and contemplating the possibilities!
Submitted by: Caroline Hands (nee Webb)