On Wednesday 6th May the funeral took place at Basingstoke Crematorium of Harold Melville Kent who was known to his friends as Mel.
In September 2013 he gave a presentation to us in the Probus Club of Basingstoke about his exploits in Sudan when as a young RAF officer appointed as Crash Inspector Middle East Air Force he was a passenger in a RAF plane that crash landed in a swamp. Under Mel’s command its subsequent repair and recovery back to Egypt was something akin to a Boys’ Own yarn.
Mel’s rise through the ranks of the RAF included three years in the British Embassy in Washington DC as a military attaché. He retired at 55 with the rank of Group Captain and then spent leisurely years in ocean sailing, skiing, golf, walking, model aircraft building and ballroom dancing which he kept up until last year.
Mel features in the Hobbies section of our web site talking about the radio controlled model aircraft he built and flew.
He never attended our lunches as he and his wife Betty always ate together but until this last Probus year he was a regular at the evening meetings and for several months brought with him his prepared presentation about his Sudan adventure, in case the appointed speaker failed to show up.
Mel had been far from well since before Christmas and was still in hospital when Betty died in February this year which meant he could not attend her funeral.
The Probus Club of Basingstoke was represented at Mel’s funeral by President David Tivey, Vice President Alan Porter, Hon. Secretary Paul Flint and Past President Ron Baxter MBE.