Stan W., 85, from Wilmington, North Carolina, was born and raised in Liverpool, England. During WWII there was a variety of good and bad air activity in and around Liverpool, including air raids in 1940 and 1941. At this time, Stan and his brother had a bedroom full of WWII airplane models and posters. Although Stan’s brother didn’t continue this passion for WWII aircraft, Stan did. Ever since Stan was a child he has dreamed of flying in a WWII aircraft.
Stan was in the British Army for 6 years before immigrating to the United States. He spent 2 years full-time in the Army, and 4 years in the Army reserve. Stan was drafted and served in Egypt in the Suez Canal zone and in Saudi Arabia. In 1957, Stan and his wife immigrated to the United States. After retiring, Stan and his wife volunteered for Meals on Wheels and continued to do so for 13 years. Stan worked in the kitchen to create and pack the meals. Afterwards, he would deliver the food. Stan and his wife not only had their own route one day per week, but would also fill in when they were needed.
When Stan and his wife were not volunteering, they could be found traveling. While they visited various cities, they would often took the opportunity to visit aeronautical museums and ground displays so Stan could watch his favorite WWII aircraft. When they weren’t traveling, Stan and his wife attended air shows in the area where they lived. Eventually, Stan decided he wanted to learn how to fly. After about 6 lessons, Stan decided that piloting wasn’t for him; he would rather read about and create paintings of WWII aircraft. As an amateur painter, Stan has made different aircraft the subject of many of his paintings.
With the help of pilot Bobby Jonte, Wish of a Lifetime sent Stan up in the air in an AT-6 on February 11, 2017. Stan said “I could bore people cross-eyed with all of the information I know about WWII aircraft. I’ve been reading about them most of my life and attending air shows when I could.” Stan was excited to finally fly in a WWII aircraft that he has read about for years, saying he had a “superlative flight.” Stan’s wife, son and daughter-in-law also came out to watch the event, making the day even more special.
Photo credit: Summer Lambert Photography