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Tributes paid to Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Kennedy

Battle of Britain tribute unveiled on Oakham bypass by Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Kennedy.  From left, Rutland Willows', John Shone, RAF Cottesmore station RAFALO Chief Technician, David Craven, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Kennedy, and, Oakham in Bloom's, Derek Bilby. Photo: SM170610-010ow.jpg

Battle of Britain tribute unveiled on Oakham bypass by Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Kennedy. From left, Rutland Willows', John Shone, RAF Cottesmore station RAFALO Chief Technician, David Craven, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Kennedy, and, Oakham in Bloom's, Derek Bilby. Photo: SM170610-010ow.jpg

 

Tributes have been paid to former Lord Lieutenant of Rutland, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Kennedy, who has died aged 85.

Sir Jock lived in Manton and held the position of Lord Lieutenant of Rutland between 1997 to 2003.

He served in the RAF during the Cold War where he rose to the rank of Air Chief Marshal.

Since retiring in 1986, Sir Jock launched an appeal, called Reach For the Sky, which raised more than £20m for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Sir Jock married his wife Margaret, known as Lady Kennedy, in 1959. He also leaves a son and two daughters.

Sir Jock died on Monday, November 18. Close friends and family attended his funeral held on Tuesday at the Church of St Mary in Manton.

The Lord Lieutenant of Rutland Dr Laurence Howard, who took over the role from Sir Jock in 2003, has described him as the “finest of men”.

He said: “Our small community has been enormously fortunate to have a man of Sir Jock’s calibre in our presence. In almost every conceivable way the people of Rutland have been touched by his work.

“Whether in military or civilian life, in town or village, his life has improved us all. And for those of us fortunate to know him he was, indeed, the finest of men.

“He took his duties as Lord Lieutenant very seriously but always performed them with dignity and great humanity.”

Sir Jock did a great deal of work in the voluntary sector in Rutland.

He was appointed as the first president of Voluntary Action Rutland, a group which supports and promotes voluntary sector groups in the county, in 1999. He retired from the role in October this year.

Voluntary Action Rutland chief executive Lindsay Henshaw-Dann said: “Sir Jock was a stalwart supporter of Voluntary Action Rutland and formed a close relationship with chairman for the period, Peter Gover, to support the ongoing work of the group as it grew in size and influence.

“He was a kind and generous man who was passionate about Rutland and always took time out to represent and support the group. His passing will mean that he will be very sadly missed by the trustees, staff and volunteers at Voluntary Action Rutland.”

Rutland County Council leader Roger Begy (Con) said: “Sir Jock can best be described as a gentleman.

“Whether acting as Lord Lieutenant when Rutland regained its independence or as president of Voluntary Action Rutland or as a friend of the museum and castle he always had time to talk, advise or comment.

“My lasting image of him will be standing in the High Street to honour Armistice Day not long before he died.

“He served Rutland and the country all his life and we were better for it.”

Sir Jock was born in Hawick, Scotland, on May 19, 1928. In 1946 he did his National Service in the RAF as an airman and then attended Cranwell College. Sir Jock proved a most talented pupil and was awarded the Philip Sassoon Memorial Prize for best all-round cadet.

During the Cold War Sir Jock played a crucial role in transporting vital materials to several distressed areas.

Soon after graduating as a pilot Sir Jock flew Hastings aircraft on the hazardous Berlin Air Lift in 1948/49. The event was one of the first major crises of the Cold War.

Fifteen years later Sir Jock was again involved in a mercy mission, this time flying supplies into Zambia following Prime Minister Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Southern Rhodesia in 1965.

Sir Jock was appointed CB in 1978 and KCB in 1980. He served as Air ADC to the Queen from 1983 to 1986.

His final appointment was with the Air Force Board as the Air Member for Personnel. He retired in 1986 and became an active controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund.

 

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