Stan Borrie

Stan Borrie - 1927 to 2010

Stan Borrie, 1927 – 2010 Stanley Forsyth Borrie (Stan) was born in 1927 and was raised in Croydon, moving to the Hatfield area after the war. Stan joined De Havillands aircraft design team in the 1940s and worked there until his retirement.

On Oct 30 1954, Stan married Maureen Barbara Elliott at St. Johns Church, Lemsford. A friend of Stan’s, John Rickard, was also a member of the de Havilland aircraft design team, and wrote an account of friends performing aerial stunts over the church on the couple’s wedding day.

Stan bought No. 2 Cress Cottages in Lemsford village for £1000 in 1954. The couple proceeded to have three sons: Richard Stanley, born 1961; James Ernest, born 1963; and Edward Michael, born 1967. Stan was a popular figure in the parish and was a founding member of the Lemsford Local History Group. He died 22nd April 2010 after a very short illness.

Rev Ron Ingamells, former LLHG chairman wrote the following about Stan after his death

Stan was a founder member of the Lemsford Local History Group (LLHG) and contributed to every meeting for a long period. His main interest was the history of his beloved home, 'Cress Cottage', and who had lived there.

At one of the early meetings of the group he undertook to research the history of the pubs, old and new, in Lemsford. He always said that it was at my request. I think the necessary fieldwork appealed to him!

The result of this was the Lemsford LHG Booklet No. 3 entitled 'Lemsford Village History. Some notes about the village pubs, past and present'. I helped him to prepare his notes for publication. I had to shorten a paragraph by a few words to get it onto the page, and told him about it with fear and trepidation. All was just about OK – although he did make a few alterations to my alterations. He was deeply involved and a valued contributor to the LLHG exhibitions at the Lemsford Fête, from the planning, research and setting up of the displays to selling booklets on the day. Stan was a complete Luddite where computers were concerned. Still it is thanks to him, or rather his son Richard, that the LLHG has a website, as Richard first developed the group’s website. The Lemsford LHG will miss him enormously.

Andy Chapman, current chairman of LLHG, has written the following

My memories of Stan are of a man who had lived an interesting life but was modest about his achievements. To visit him to research various history group projects was almost therapeutic. I would ask if he knew about a certain subject and he would answer in a manner that made it interesting as well as informative. The relaxing afternoons were always helped by the obligatory beer (or two). I only knew Stan for his last four years but I know his memory will last me for a lot longer. Stan’s memories were invaluable to me was when I was researching the brave pilots of WWII who went on to be test pilots at De Havillands – and who drank in the Crooked Chimney It was a popular venue for the De Havilland pilots from Hatfield during the late 1030s through to the 1960s. (Geoffrey de Havilland junior and John (Cats Eyes) Cunningham met up there after parachuting into fields nearby following baling out from a Moth Minor aircraft which refused to recover from a spinning test!) He told me a story of the test pilots having a merry time in the Crooked Chimney, when one pilot accused another of being drunk. The pilot’s reaction was to get in his Jag (this was before drink driving laws!), drive to De Havillands, get in a test jet, fly over the Crooked Chimney and do a loop-the-loop, fly back to base and drive back to the Crooked Chimney. Stan Borrie’s own wedding at St Johns, Lemsford, was celebrated by his comrades with another loop-the-loop over the church in a Viper jet as Stan left the church with his new wife Maureen. Later Stan was part of the team that helped to investigate a series of Comet crashes, eventually attributed to metal fatigue. Stan helped me compile a list of great men who served in WWII and went on to be test pilots – and this was not from books or the internet, but from his own life. When I asked him about John Cunningham’s round-the-world trip in a Comet in 1955, he told me the places they went and how long it took, and at the end of a fascinating afternoon I realised that Stan was part of that team but had not thought to mention it -- a great and modest man, who will be missed.