Remembering Ray

PLEASE afford me space to pay tribute to the late Rev Ray Follis who died recently.

A kind and caring man who served his country in wartime and latterly the Christian community in peace.

He stayed in the RAF until the early 1960s where upon demobilisation he took holy orders and joined the church spending many years in Fishbourne.

His wartime exploits are worthy of a book: he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross while serving with the Royal Air Force in operations that were highly dangerous.

He and his pilot would take to the night skies over England and fly their aircraft with lights on to entice roaming enemy night fighters to attack while stalking RAF fighters would attempt to shoot the intruders down.

I met him for the first time in or around 1964 when as a young boy entrant airman, recently graduating from trade training, I found myself posted to RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire where he was the officer in charge of my section; there was no better man to watch over us.

I lost touch when I was posted away to join a Vulcan squadron only to re-acquaint with him in 1974 when I moved to Chichester on demobilisation to join the ranks of civilians.

Over the years we kept in touch and no doubt his recent elevation to ‘heaven’ will find him doing stirling work after a full and active life on earth.

Ken Rimell