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Late airman put the town’s interests first
3:38pm Wednesday 9th May 2012 in Letters
Sir – On reading Paul Slamin’s letter (Witney Gazette, April 11) regarding the late Malcolm Lucas, I feel I must correct some inaccuracies. Firstly, Malcolm Lucas was not a pilot, he was an observer/navigator and flew in twin-engined aircraft. It was in the early stages of the war, while stationed at Abingdon, that he was forced to parachute from aircraft of this type, twice, within a few days of each other before the aircraft crashed. In the first escape he injured his back, but immediately went back to active duty. But after the second jump, when he landed on a wire fence, he was told his flying days were over and was transferred to supervising air operations which, after the war, led to him having a very long and important career in civilian air traffic control, especially in a training role. As both my wife and myself were town councillors at the time Mr Slamin alludes to, we cannot recall members of the council rejecting a proposal by Mr Slamin to make Malcolm mayor. Instead, it was being moved that he be given the honorary title of mayor emeritus, but, sadly, Malcolm died before this could be enacted. As Mr Slamin by this time had decided to resign from the council, he would no doubt have been unaware of this. Everyone on the council loved and respected Malcolm (and did call him his first name, not ‘Mr Lucas’ as Mr Slamin suggests), who was a kind and gentle man who only had the town’s welfare and interest at heart. He also served for two years as the chairman of the council’s planning committee. He had a wonderful sense of humour and would spend many hours recounting the experiences of the life he had led previous to coming to reside in Witney. My wife and I were privileged to number him and his wife, Nan, among our friends.