Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour



Vic Rhodes


I regret to inform you that my father, Vic Rhodes, passed away on Wednesday the 18th April 2018. It is thought that during the previous evening he had had some sort of 'stroke' and though resting in the morning, went into a quick decline, passing away mid-morning.

We had a "Good Send Off" on the 24th ...and had he been able to attend. ..I'm sure he would have enjoyed the occasion.

Family and many friends from all of the various ventures he undertook during his 90 years, acknowledged his death but equally, if not more importantly Celebrated a "Life Well Lived."

I have also included the article written (about Dad), in 1990 by the Oldham Chronicle when he returned during a British Airborne celebration. This article I used as part of his tribute as it summed up his character and many achievements indeed a "Jack of all trades"....but, in Vic's case, "master of most of them!" Thanks again for keeping him entertained and feeling still part of the Airborne Engineers.

The Big Climb Back
Returning to his home town from New Zealand, for the first time since he emigrated in 1952, is a chap with a certain antipodean notoriety...
Vic Rhodes was last mentioned in Scrapbook a year after his departure from Oldham, when he and two friends at the Taranaki Alpine Club became the talk of the Islands by shinning up a flagpole on the New Plymouth post office at dead of night, and leaving a climbing club pennant.
For this, the trio were castigated by the pompous postmaster, celebrated in the New Zealand press, and acclaimed by a bored public. Clearly flagpoles were a big deal in New Zealand.
Vic with casual flair, passed off the climb as a triumph for New Zealand-British climbing. "If it had not been down this year", he wrote tongue in cheek to the paper. "The Swiss would most certainly have done it next..."
The postmaster's daft response — to claim the trio were guilty of a "foolhardy and useless stunt" — meant the flagpole remained unrepaired. The nation's Ministry of Works had appealed for someone to climb it to put up a new halyard, and certainly Vic and his chums were not invited to return.
This near criminal activity is long forgotten by the New Zealand authorities, and Vic returns here in June as a representative of former British Airborne forces personnel now living in New Zealand, for celebrations to mark BAF 50th anniversary.

In later years Vic was best known as New Plymouth's former civil defence supremo, as a brave rescuer of many people stuck or injured on Mount Egmont, and as former adviser to the local police and civil authorities on explosives and rescues generally. RIP Dad - Mark



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