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Tony Kingston.jpg

Tony Kingston

We regret to report that Anthony Charles Edward Kingston of 76 Entry (A Sqn) passed away on the 8th April 2024.

Tony learned to fly whilst at Kings College school in Wimbledon and took his test to get his flying licence just after his 17th birthday. At the time he was the youngest person with a pilot’s licence: something he would never let anyone forget and pointed out that he could fly before he could drive! He said he used to use the railway lines and other features in the landscape to navigate and that his favourite plane was a red Tiger Moth, regularly flying across Surrey and the North Downs Way.

Joining 76 Entry in 1957, Tony was a first-class Squash player and in the College First Five. This stamina was tested at the Entry Survival Camp in the Hartz Mountains, Germany. Everyone seems to remember being very hungry at the end of the 5 day Escape and Evasion Exercise. The cadets survived by only eating tiny fragments of rations – and Tony’s family have still got the tin with half its contents!

He did this almost too successfully where he lost so much weight that his mother didn’t recognise him

when he went home on leave and knocked on the door.

Tony surprised everybody in that, despite having skill in handling an aircraft,

this didn’t translate into instrument flying and so was “chopped” from flying.

Sir Michael Graydon recalls:

There were some rather immature QFIs around then whose main aim seemed to be to chop cadets. I was lucky in having a mature instructor who was also the Cricket Officer. I was a good cricketer which probably got me through the challenge”.

Another cohort, Sir Richard Johns, adds:

I also remember being very surprised when Tony was chopped at Barkston Heath; it just didn’t seem right that someone so blessed with athletic coordination had problems flying. That said, in those days the chop rate was high as with National Service in full swing there was no problem with potential shortage of pilots. QFIs were not slow to swing the axe: patience was not their common virtue in my opinion. Whatever, there is no doubting Tony’s longstanding affection for the College and his fellow Flight Cadets in 76 Entry.

It was always a pleasure to see him at reunions.

After Cranwell, Tony took a role in the family’s meat business at a time when the high street butcher was having to make big changes due to the influx of supermarkets. He helped transform the company from a firm of butchers’ shops into what it is today, a successful property company. He lived most of his life in Betchworth in Surrey with a view of the North Downs Way and loved seeing the odd biplane go past from time to time, following the same route and doing the same tricks he had done as a teenager.

RIP ​Tony Kingston: Text
Tony's Tiger Moth.jpg

About 15 years ago, the internet allowed Tony to track down his old Tiger Moth to Northamptonshire where it had been operational (still doing stunts) right up to 1995 when it was destroyed beyond repair in an accident on approach.
The pilot didn’t see the power cables but thankfully walked away. He got a picture of it, framed it and hung it above his desk in his office, before being taking it with him to his care-home where it hung in his bedroom.  
Tony was always incredibly proud to have been accepted into Cranwell and, despite only having been there for a relatively short time, it made a huge impact on his life and, until mobility issues made it impossible, he attended every reunion where possible.

RIP ​Tony Kingston: Text
76 entry.jpg
RIP ​Tony Kingston: Image
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