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Dave Birch

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Joined: 13 Jul 2003
Posts: 200
Location: Huntsville, Alabama USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 14:10    Post subject: Dave Birch Reply with quote

Today I received word that Dave Birch suffered a stroke and died last week.

Dave was an author who helped create the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust in which he was an active participant. Dave was also a frequent contributor to the AEHS.

I shall miss him.
Kimble D. McCutcheon
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Joined: 13 Jul 2003
Posts: 231
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 05:52    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been away at my nephew's wedding. I very much appreciate what Mr. Birch did for the aviation community.
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Joined: 15 Nov 2005
Posts: 41
Location: Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 13:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, I was just thinking of Dave yesterday!
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Joined: 13 Jul 2003
Posts: 200
Location: Huntsville, Alabama USA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 07:01    Post subject: David Birch Eulogy Reply with quote

The following was spoken by Dave Piggott at Dave Birch's funeral...

DAVID BIRCH 1939 – 2018

David Birch was an aviation historian, “ par excellence “.

Dave was a founder member of the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust back in 1981 and he played an important and significant role in the activities of the Derby & Hucknall Branch throughout this time, being a member of our Executive Committee until very recently. Dave did not only work through the Trust, but was involved with many other aviation based organisations. For example he was a member and author for Air Britain in the UK and by the example he set was one of the inspirations that led to the Aircraft Engine Historical Society of America being set up. He had a cadre of contacts around the world who regularly either phoned or emailed him with their queries.

Dave was born in Sherwood, Nottingham on 12 August 1939 and was educated at the William Crane Scool, Aspley, and like many boys of his generation was inspired by the things around him. The skies were full of exciting new military aeroplanes and impressive steam locomotives were criss-crossing the countryside.
In 1955 , Dave joined Rolls-Royce at their Flight Test Centre at Hucknall Aerodrome as an apprentice. He worked as a skilled coppersmith and soon knew every nook and cranny of the site. In the late 1970s, when the Flight Test activities at Hucknall had been wound down, He joined Product Support in Derby, the organisation which looked after the Company’s engines out in service. Dave retired in 1995 completing 40 years service with the Company.

Dave must have been born with a way with words, as he soon started writing about aeroplanes as he wished to share his enthusiasm with others. He became established as an author with organisations such as Air Britain.

As soon as our Trust came into existence, Dave began collecting historic Rols-Royce documents and formed an archive in the cellars in the Main Works in Nightingale Road, Derby. This was research material for his writings. Our first Branch magazine, The Archive, soon appeared full of interesting articles to be circulated to our growing membership.
Dave was a detailed and tenacious researcher, he knew what he wanted and did not give up until he had found it. Not only did he research and write the articles, but he also type set them. It was a bit of a “ Forth Bridge Job “ as he insisted doing it all himself and produced three or four 64 page editions each year. Slowly other members offered articles for inclusion and if they came up to Dave’s high standards, he would include them. When the printing process went digital, the wife of a member who had professional experience, assisted by taking over the type setting duties. In all, a total of 94 magazines were published until the Trust’s all branch Journal replaced our branch edition. I often think, it was a pity Dave was denied his century! Never the less, Dave continued to be a major contributor to the Journal.

Dave authored many books for the Trust including books on the Handley Page Halifax, the Rolls-Royce Crecy and the Meteor tank engines, armaments. Probably his two masterpieces were his book on Rolls-Royce and the Mustang and his life’s work, the History of Hucknall the latter being published just last year. I know that the Hucknall volume gave him great satisfaction and sense of achievement, especially in that it received some excellent reviews from places that Dave held in high regard.

To recognise all Dave’s achievements with his pen, in late 2016 the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation presented Dave, in front of all his peers, with their Gold Medal.

There are many other stories that I could recount after over 35 years of association and friendship with Dave, but all good things come to an end.

Dave, well done, you will be sorely missed for all your achievements and wise counsel, rest in peace.

Dave Piggott
4 April 2018
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