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Air Chief Marshall Sir Brian Burnett

Readers may recall in Banner No 7 the promotion of the autobiography of this highly successful and respected Burnett. Sadly he died very recently at the age of 98. In addition to filling very senior appointments in the RAF, he was also Chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis Club presiding over the Wimbledon Tennis Championships for 10 years. There is much to add to that article but the book is also available to read. However, there are some matters of interest which I have gleaned from the very lengthy obituary in the Daily Telegraph from which I am grateful for this accompanying photograph which was taken at the time of his record breaking flight from Egypt to Darwin in Australia. One is that he is credited with taming somewhat the young emerging tennis champion, John McEnroe. He was also an outstanding sportsman and questioned the wisdom of the escalating prize money in the sport but reluctantly had to accept this trend.


I also noted that he played a significant role in bombing the Scharnhorst which was sunk in 1943 by a cruiser squadron commanded by his kinsman Admiral Sir Robert Burnett (Banner No 8). There was also an occasion at Wimbledon that there was an IRA scare during the championships when there was a warning given that a bomb would explode at 3.00 p.m. A search found nothing so Burnett remained in situ with some of his guests and, with one minute to go to the hour, he calmly suggested that they should remove their spectacles to avoid flying glass.