A few days before Christmas the Tiger Community lost probably its most famous member. Tony attended some 18 Meets and Mini-Meets.
His friend and former 31 Sqn-mate, Roger Lams, sent us this tribute:
Tony was born in 1935 in a small village near Brustem airbase. He joined the Belgian Air Force at the age of 17, completed his pilot training in the U.S.A. and graduated in Dec, 1954. After a short stay at BAF Florennes flying Thunderjets, and at BAF Bierset flying Hunters, he joined the 10th Wing at Kleine-Brogel in 1960 and was assigned to 31st FB Sqn with conversion to the Thunderstreak. “31” would be home for the rest of his flying career. He was one of the first 10th Wing pilots to convert to the F-104G Starfighter in 1964, working up his way to a dual role expert, representing BAF in numerous air to ground firing competitions and instructing young pilots in the Operational Conversion Unit.
He also was one of the first 31 Sqn pilots to attend a NATO Tiger Meet in the early 60’s and, as we all know,once a tiger always a tiger, Tony managed to attend nearly all, NTM’s since then. Even after he retired in 1981 at the age of 45, he stayed in contact with the Tiger family and visited the later meets when he could. In civilian life, Tony’s activities ranged from membership of his local council, president of the local social and cultural association, honorary president of the local liberal political party, and vice president of the local bicycle racing club. He was holder of several military and civilian medals of honour.
Tony’s funeral was attended by a great number of friends and colleagues including former Chiefs of staff of the Belgian Airforce and a delegation of young pilots of his beloved 31 Tiger Sqn. His son Alain pronounced the funeral oration.
Tony was a friend of mine, a good friend, a very good friend. As a consequence I am very happy that, being director of the Kleine-Brogel Air Museum, Tiger Tony has his picture exposed in different rooms of the museum as an everlasting memory to a highly talented and socially engaged flyboy.
“For he’s a jolly good fellow…….”
This following tribute came from another famous Tiger, Peter Koste from 431 Sqn, GAF:
I personally knew Tony as from the 1969 Meet. From that first moment I knew he would be a friendly, reliable “Fliegerkamerad”. For more than ten years we met countless times at a Tiger Meet, at what is nowadays called MiniMeet, a show, or exercise, or just when I would pop in at KB. He seemed to be one of the first to embody the idea of Tiger spirit, so important for the future. He was extremely professional in his Job as well as an enthusiastic player in the social scene.
"So Long Old Chap"
Doc & Don