1926 – 2013
Frederick Caryll Philip Cavendish, 7th Baron Waterpark, British aviator ‘sans pareil’, and one of the last two surviving Founding Members of The Air Squadron, died on 16th October, 2013, aged 87. Son of Brigadier-General Frederick Cavendish, CMG, DSO, and Enid Lindeman of the Australian wine family, considered to have been the most beautiful Australian ever to have been presented at court, Caryll inherited his title from his uncle, the 6th Baron, in 1948.
Flying became the central part of Caryll’s life from early boyhood. Born in 1926, his first flights as a passenger were to Africa in the Handley Page 42 Hannibal. He started learning to fly aeroplanes in the early 1930s, as a very young boy, piloting a DH Puss Moth, Dragon, Rapide and Lockheed Electra under the supervision of the great British racing pilot, Tom Campbell Black, who was at the time the family pilot and who, on one occasion, looped the Rapide with the eight year old Caryll sitting in the cockpit.
Caryll was educated at Eton and commissioned into the Grenadier Guards in 1944, serving in the 4th and 1st battalions in Germany between 1944 and 1946, where one of his duties was to guard Grand Admiral Doenitz, commander-in-chief of the German Navy, after his surrender.
Following the war Caryll settled in Kenya where, in 1949, he bought his first aircraft, a Piper Cruiser. He and Danielle were married in Paris in 1951 and together they farmed on the Kinankop, high in the Aberdares of central Kenya. When the Emergency was declared Caryll became an Assistant District Commandant of the Kenya Police Reserve, flying with the Kenya Police Air Wing between 1952 and 1955. Subsequently he became a director of Spartan Air Services during which time he carried out many high level survey flights and other special operations for the British Government which included mapping the Seychelles.
Returning to England in 1959, Caryll joined CSE Aviation Ltd at Biggin Hill and later at Oxford where he became Sales Director, selling Bell, Piper, Lear, Cessna and Embraer aircraft, all of which he flew, and many of which he himself delivered to his overseas customers. He became a director of Handley Page Ltd. from 1968 to 1970. Between 1984 and 1990 he was Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of CSE International Ltd., and was then appointed Chief Executive of CSE Aviation Ltd. in 1990, only retiring when the company was sold. During his time at Oxford he did much to develop the airfield into the thriving general aviation airport that it is today. From 1994 to 2000 he was a Trustee of the RAF Museum.
When The Air Squadron was formed in 1966, Caryll was one of its Founding Members, participating in all the overseas visits, at that time limited to nearby French destinations. Determined to extend the Squadron’s flying activities from mere jaunts to France he set about transforming the Squadron into a flying organisation with world-wide capability. To achieve this, he introduced members with long range aircraft and the ambition to fly them anywhere in the world. Having taken a Squadron team to Brazil in 1979 to visit Embraer, whose aircraft he persuaded CSE to sell, he flew members to various overseas RAF stations, often by Learjet. Following his retirement from CSE in 1990, he used his network of high level military, industrial, political, royal and diplomatic contacts to pioneer all the early long distance flying of the Squadron. His network of aviation contacts and friends always assured the Squadron of intriguing adventures, a warm welcome and the participation of a wide range of aircraft wherever it ventured in the world. He himself master-minded and led the Air Squadron tours of Brazil (1979), Russia (1993), Jordan (1994), Tanzania (1995), Pakistan (1997) and the USA (2000). He was also a strong supporter of the Squadron’s many initiatives to encourage young air force cadets both in Britain and abroad. In recognition of his giant contribution to The Air Squadron he was elected Honorary Life Member in 2003.
Caryll’s flying career was unique. In over 60 years as pilot he amassed 11,500 hours in command. He flew 158 types of aircraft, ranging from single to multi-engined piston, turboprop to jet, gliders and helicopters to seaplanes and flying boats. He flew 23 different types of Piper aircraft alone. He calculated that he spent over 20,000 hours ‘airborne’ and flew over 5,000 different registered aircraft. Having gained his Private Pilot’s Licence in England in 1948, he extended his qualifications to include East African Commercial and CFI ratings, UK Commercial and helicopter ratings, FAA Commercial and sea-plane ratings, Oman Commercial Licence number 1, as well as Australian, Canadian, Swiss, French (including Alpine), Italian, Brazilian and Bermudian ratings. From 1961 to 1990, in order to allow him to flight test CSE’s aircraft, he flew under an exemption to the Air Navigation Order for the purpose of ‘Test and Demonstration’ .
Tall and elegant, with his inherited good looks and dry sense of humour, Caryll retained the bearing of an officer of the Brigade of Guards throughout his life. He served on the Committee of the Squadron for many years and, although never Chairman – a position that he himself strongly advocated – was its ’eminence grise’ throughout all his years of membership. In recent years he spent much of his time abroad – his summers in Le Touquet and his winters in South Africa, where he stayed with his sister Patricia (O’Neill) on her stud farm and animal sanctuary near Somerset West in the Cape Province. In both places Air Squadron members were frequent and welcome visitors.
He is survived by Danielle, by his children Caroline, Juliet and Rory (himself a pilot with British Airways) and by his sister Pat.