201 says goodye to humble Herbie

THE Vale Church was almost full for yesterday's funeral of Jurat Herbert Machon, who died last week.

THE Vale Church was almost full for yesterday's funeral of Jurat Herbert Machon, who died last week. Members of Guernsey's Own 201 Squadron acted as pall-bearers for the service for the wartime pilot.

Mourners included Lt-Governor Sir John Foley, Bailiff Sir de Vic Carey, Lady Carey and Deputy Bailiff Geoffrey Rowland and his wife.

Standard bearers from the various ex-service associations led the funeral procession.

Parade commander for the Royal British Legion Mike de Carteret said that Jurat Machon had done a lot for the island's ex-servicemen.

'He will be heartily missed by us all,' he said.

A total of 12 RAF personnel, including Air Vice-Marshal George Chesworth, came over for the funeral.

201 Squadron commanding officer Wing Commander J. J. Johnston said that all had been keen to come.

'Every one of them was a volunteer and we would have brought more had operations not precluded,' he said.

'The thing the guys like most about Guernsey is its people and Herbie personified the type of welcome we would love to see throughout the UK.'

Wing Commander Johnston said he met Herbie and his wife, Jean, at a Royal Air Forces' Association dinner in Guernsey in 1997.

'The thing that was delightful about him was how easy he was to talk to and his evident joy of life. He was an incredibly humble and passionate man.'

The 'Guernsey's Reply' warbird nose art that Jurat Machon displayed on his Spitfire is depicted on a mural at 201's RAF Kinloss base.

It sits alongside the modern-day equivalent of a Guernsey girl, as displayed on one of the squadron's Nimrods currently in Iraq.

Group Captain Andy Fryer was commanding officer of 201 Squadron for two-and-a-half years until last December.

He, too, recalled Jurat Machon with affection.

'He was such a character and as he was a former Spitfire pilot we shared a love of flying and the RAF,' he said.

'Even though he was getting on in years he had a youthful quality, which meant the younger people could relate to him as well.

'He had a devilish sense of humour and when you saw that glint in his eye you knew he was teasing you again.'

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