A helicopter hero who won a Queen’s commendation for a rescue has had a bench named in his memory at a Blackpool Park.
Brian Hennerley, who died aged 79 earlier this year, served in the RAF all over the world, but his favourite spot was the rose gardens in Stanley Park.
Now a bench has been put there by his family.
Brian’s wife Evelyn said after serving in the RAF for many years he joined BAE as part of the company’s air sea rescue team and came to live in Blackpool where he had been born. She said: “He was a Master Air Loadmaster in RAF 24 Squadron and was involved in many rescue operations.
“He was in a helicopter called in when the liner Queen Elizabeth caught fire in 1972 in Hong Kong. He saved many lives. In 1971 he got a Queen’s commendation for rescuing two seriously sick crew members of a cargo ship.”
She said he trained in the USA and was in the RAF from the 1950s until the 1970s.
She too was in the RAF serving as a fighter plotter in Malta where her family originated when she met Brian.
“I was sent to Libya and it was on his aeroplane that we met in 1955. I was actually born in Egypt, my mother was French and my father Maltese and after the war we left to return to Malta where I joined the RAF.
“We went all over the world, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malta and then back to England, and we have lived in Blackpool for 42 years.
“We had a wonderful life, but out of all the places Brian had been to in the world he always said the rose gardens at Stanley Park was his favourite place.” Brian, who latterly had dementia, died on February 26, leaving Evelyn and grown up children Kathy, Peter, Richard and Stephanie, and his funeral service complete with RAF standard and brass band took place at St Kentigern’s RC Church.
The Queen Elizabeth was in Hong Kong after being bought by a Chinese businessman CY Tung to be converted into Seawise University.
On January 9, 1972 fire took hold of the ship with workmen on board and she sank three days later. All the men on board were rescued safely. Its wreck was broken up and dumped in the foundations of Hong Kong’s airport.