Eric Probert

It is sad to report that branch member Eric Probert passed away on 14th January. Eric was a real gentleman, always courteous, ever helpful and whilst of quiet unassuming demeanour at meetings he was keen to assist by recommendation, or trying to get guest speakers, and even giving the occasional presentation himself in the hall or via a virtual meeting.

Eric’s main aviation interest was the Second World War and, in particular, the USAAF 9th  Air Force during its time in Essex. He was the official historian of RAF Boreham airfield which was the base for the 394th Bombardment Group in 1944/45. Eric often attended the “9th Air Force Buddy” reunions in the United States, and closer to home he was also a Trustee of North Weald Museum, plus being a member of the Western Front Association.

But Eric also had a wide and varied range of other interests including genealogy about which he lectured to local and national groups, edited computer related subjects in genealogy magazines, and was a Fellow of the Society of Genealogy. Some branch members will recall he used his “detective” skills in researching the history of a WW1 pilot whose gravestone he had seen in a Norfolk churchyard, to put together a very interesting presentation to the branch.

Eric was also knowledgeable on Essex history, and an avid follower of Essex and England cricket, he enjoyed his tennis and had a lifelong involvement in folk dancing, and in later years he was much in demand as a “Caller” at barn dances. He loved to travel and was proud of the fact that he had visited all 50 States of the USA. In 2011 he accompanied the Branch Chair to Oshkosh and spent most of the week in and around the Warbirds area – and quickly finding where he could get free refreshments!

Eric led a very full and eventful life and he will be missed by all that knew him.

A condolence card was sent to Janet, his widow, on behalf of the branch and the cover is shown below which was chosen in view of Eric’s particular interest in the WW2 USAAF bombers.  (photo thanks to Andy Goldsmith).