A FORMER Boscombe Down aircraft engineer has died at the age of 93.

Despite his age, Alan Grinter was still regularly called on for his extensive knowledge and advice about aircraft including Tiger Moths and de Hallivands until his death on March 13.

Born in Winterbourne Gunner, Mr Grinter went to school in Idmiston before leaving at the age of 14 to work on a farm at High Post.

Mr Grinter was interested in aviation from a young age and before the Second World War he began working at Cunliffe-Owen in Southampton.

He was 19 when war broke out and wanted to sign up as an engineer for the RAF, but his mother was against the move, so he joined the army instead.

He served in the Salisbury and Amesbury branch of the Royal Air Service Corps and he fought with the Italian campaign in the battle of Monte Cassino.

In 1946 he moved back to the Salisbury area and it was while he was working as a mechanic fixing farm machinery that he met his wife Patricia. The couple had a son, Robert, and daughter, Sally.

He then worked in an engine shop in Thruxton and became shop manager, gaining licences for working on various aircraft.

Following a move to Boscombe Down, he tested aeroplanes all over the world, in Canada, Libya, Norway and America.

Mr Grinter retired in 1983 at the age of 63 but still undertook work as a volunteer aircraft engineer for people who owned aeroplanes.

His family and friends say he will be remembered for his dry sense of humour, thoughtful personality and hard working ethos.

A funeral service is being held at St Peter & St Paul Church in Kimpton on Friday at 1pm, where there will be a bugle and a flypast.

There will be a wake at The White Horse in Thruxton, which friends are welcome to attend.