RAF radio operator and gunner, Maurice Mabey, has died aged 99.

Born at Spring Road, Southampton, on May 13, 1920, Mr Mabey was schooled in Southampton, and was just 19 when the Second World War broke out.

He joined the RAF in 1939 as a radio operator and gunner, serving in France, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Burma.

In 1944, Mr Mabey joined transport command, assisting the pilot on long-distance flights, carrying VIP passengers and transporting wounded and sick personnel back to England.

Among the aeroplanes he flew in were an Avro Anson, Vickers Wellesley, Valencia and Wellington, Douglas Dakota and American Liberator.

Mr Mabey held the rank of warrant officer when he was demobbed and joined the Bristol Aeroplane Company as a flight tester.

He moved to the Island in 1948, joining Saunders Roe in East Cowes, working on the Saunders-Roe Princess ­— the largest all-metal flying boat to have ever been constructed ­— and installed communications in the plane.

Mr Mabey was a member of the crew on its maiden flight in August, 1952.

After the Princess project was halted, Mr Mabey flew other aircraft, and later worked on hovercraft.

He also worked at Needles Battery, testing rocket motors before moving to the electronics department at Osborne Works. After three years he joined the training school and became an instructor.

He later taught at the Isle of Wight College.

In later life, he enjoyed badminton and DIY, and built his family a television in the 1950s ­— the first one on their street.

Mr Mabey met his wife, Terry, in Wales, while he was working for the Bristol Aircraft Company.

They married in 1948, moved to the Island together, and celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary in October, 2019.

Mrs Mabey died in November, aged 91, and Mr Mabey died at Orchards Nursing Home on January 6.

He leaves behind his three surviving children, Jeremy, Philip and Pauline, and many grandchildren.

His funeral will take place at the Isle of Wight Crematorium on February 7, at 2.15pm.

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