Hatfield aviation expert dies aged 87

A FORMER de Havilland worker, who helped produce the technical instruction manuals for their aircraft, has died aged 87.

Maurice Allward died at home on Thursday.

A Hatfield resident for the past 31 years, Maurice, who was deputy manager of technical publications at de Havilland, had an extensive knowledge of aircraft design and technology.

Outside of employment, he wrote in excess of 70 books, both factual and fiction, on not only aviation, but also rocket and space travel.

With a meticulous attention to detail, which began while at school in Saffron Walden, Essex, Maurice not only produced his own publications, but helped compile the world-renowned reference title Jane’s All the World Aircraft between 1960 and 1989.

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He was born in Barnet on February 15 1923, and was the second youngest of four children.

Hoping to join the RAF during World War Two, he was instead held in ‘reserved occupation’ with his employment at Hawkers where, as a junior drafstmen, he worked on aircraft including the Hurricane fighter plane.

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Maurice did, however, join the Royal Observer Corps where he served for more than 40 years until its disbandment.

He also served on the Air Safety Committee, which provided advice to the Government at the House of Lords.

Maurice married his first wife, Alice, in 1946 and had two children, Bruce who drowned in 1986 and Carolyne who died last year. Alice also died at an early age, in 1977, and Maurice remarried in 1979 to Joy, with whom he enjoyed the rest of his life with at their home in Chantry Lane.

Maurice’s hobbies and interests included stamp collecting, model-making, space travel, amateur filming and DIY.

He also had a keen interest in the story of Captain Bligh and the Mutiny on the Bounty and became a key member of the Pitcairn Islands Study Group (UK).

While conducting historical research, and producing a book, which benefited the Pitcairn islanders, Maurice was in close contact and met direct descendants of Fletcher Christian, leader of the mutineers, and Captain Bligh.

He is survived by Joy and his two step-children, Paul and Lorna.

Funeral details can be found in this week’s WHT.

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