Alan was born in Portsmouth in 1938 and watched the men and machines of Operation Overlord assemble within the South Hampshire countryside towards the end of the war. He found great interest in aircraft as a result of reading aviation magazines at school and attending nearby air-shows. At age sixteen Alan joined British European Airways as an engineering apprentice in September 1954.
His school art lessons had taught him to see in life, but as an engineer Alan also learned how to read engineering situations with great discipline. At the same time, he was developing his own way of seeing and quickly excelled at photography. Within sixteen years he won twenty seven major national and international photographic awards and had thousands of photographs published, including several photographic scoops.
Preferring the security of the airline, Alan declined an invitation to become a Fleet Street photographer. Instead he pursued a career in aircraft maintenance whilst his photography became a profitable hobby. However, whilst employed as a Non-Destructive Test Engineer for the airline, he developed the first continuous film processing machine in the country, before Kodak. This was in order to speed up processing times for the many of sheets of X-Ray films which the newly formed NDT Unit exposed weekly.
With the change in BA management style in 1984 he was offered the position of joint editor of the new British Airways Engineering Magazine. Alan worked on every edition of this monthly magazine, which ran for ten years, and with the closure of the Photographic Unit was the only full-time professional photographer in the airline. Now appointed Photographic Editor, Alan’s brief widened to include safety, security, technical, press and publicity.
In retirement Alan wrote the book It’s Plane Magic (ISBN 0-9535794-0-9) which is available from the author (address below) for £15.00 + postage. It contains 250 of his photographs (in black and white) and shows many of the highs and the lows of aviation history as seen from his unique vantage point in an era when film was king.