48 years of Hatfield aviation memories

PUBLISHED: 09:40 06 October 2016 | UPDATED: 11:34 06 October 2016

Ben French, 97, has published a book about his time working for de Havilland/British Aerospace, a career that started in 1935.

Ben French, 97, has published a book about his time working for de Havilland/British Aerospace, a career that started in 1935.

Danny Loo Photography 2016

A former de Havilland engineer has fulfilled his wife's dying wish by publishing his story of nearly 50 years working at the famous Hatfield factory.

The remarkable career of Ben French started with Tiger Moth biplanes in 1935, and finished with British Aerospace jet airliners and rockets before he retired in 1982.

Ben, now 97 and living in the Sanctuary Care home in Tamblin Way, started writing his memoirs in the late 1990s with the help of his wife Violet.

Just before her death three years ago, she gave him the inspiration to complete the task - which they knew as the “project”.

Ben told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “She said ‘What about the project? I want you to finish it.’

“I am just pleased I have done it.

“I think she would be pleased.”

For more about Ben French’s career and book, see the Welwyn Hatfield Times, on sale in shops.

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