Tributes paid to Hastings former RAF group captain

Peter is pictured second from left. Standing between him and the Mayor, Judy Rogers, is Joe O'Neil, Peter's friend, for whom Peter organised the ceremony for presentation of Chevalier de Ordre National de Legion d'Honneur in September last year. Picture by Roberts Photographic
Peter is pictured second from left. Standing between him and the Mayor, Judy Rogers, is Joe O'Neil, Peter's friend, for whom Peter organised the ceremony for presentation of Chevalier de Ordre National de Legion d'Honneur in September last year. Picture by Roberts Photographic
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An RAF veteran, who played an integral part in the town’s veterans’ association, has died.

Peter Holland, MBE passed away suddenly, just two days before his 82nd birthday, following a short illness.

Richard Butcher, from Hastings and St Leonards Veterans Association (HSVA), paid tribute to him. He said: “Peter filled the ceremonial position of Senior Member (Air).

“He was a regular participant at most of the commemorations, ceremonies and parades that HSVA organises.

“Speaking personally, Peter was a great friend and mentor to me in my position of chairman of HSVA.

“He was one upon whom I relied greatly when dealing with sensitive issues besetting HSVA.

“He was looking forward to the many air-orientated HSVA events this year, starting with RAF Formation Day on April 1. And of course, next year, being RAF100, was never far from his future plans. He will be sorely missed.

“He spent time at TS Hastings, something he always took pride in telling ranking RAF officers at career interviews.

“Peter rose in the RAF Regiment and the RAF proper, even to the rank of Group Captain.”

In his early career, Peter was stationed in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Cyprus. He retired in 1990 as Group Captain.

Peter then undertook more than 10 years of voluntary social work in north-west London, establishing an urban village from the married quarters sites of the former RAF Hendon.

He worked closely on a variety of issues with housing associations, local councils and the Metropolitan Police and edited a community newspaper.

In 2012, Peter and his Swedish wife, Kerstin, celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary. They met in summer 1961 on Hastings Pier and married six months later in January 1962.

Peter published a book, called Salute He Moves, which is a personal reflection on his four decades with the Royal Air Force from 1952~90.

Peter’s funeral service was held on Friday (March 24) at St Mary Star of the Sea Church in the Old Town.

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