Gabriel Lancaster obituary

·2-min read

My father, Gabriel Lancaster, who has died aged 99, was an aeronautical engineer who worked for Rolls Royce, Avro and Elliott Brothers, mainly helping to design aircraft engines and associated instrumentation.

Born in Islington, north London, he was the son of Millie (nee Schwarz) and Maurice Lancaster, who were both shop workers. The family moved around, and Gabriel attended Scunthorpe technical school before settling in Nottingham, where he met and in 1943 married Pearl Lipman.

Four years previously he had won an apprenticeship at Rolls Royce, where he began working on the Merlin engine that powered Spitfire and Hurricane fighter planes during the second world war. When it came to an end in 1945 he moved to AV Roe in Manchester, better known as Avro, leading the team that designed a fuel flow system for the Vulcan bomber.

In 1955 he and his young family relocated to Rochester, Kent, where he worked for Elliott Brothers on the fuel system for the TSR2 multi-role combat aircraft. A decade later he transferred to Fisher Controls, designing an innovative mobile quayside fuel blending unit and helping to install it in various places around the world. He retired from that company in 1967 but continued working as a consultant, notably for Shell and Esso, until 2002.

The family’s move to the Medway towns had boosted Gabriel’s commitment to the small Jewish community there. For Chatham Memorial Synagogue he was secretary, chairman and, latterly, life president, and into his 80s he represented the synagogue on the Board of Deputies of British Jews, where he served on the education committee.

He also became chairman of governors for two schools in the Medway area, chairman of the Medway Racial Equality Council, served on the British Association of Racial Equality Councils, and on committees for the Commission for Racial Equality, the Kent Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (Sacre) and Nasacre (the national Sacre). In 2009 he was appointedMBE.

Pearl died in 2005. Gabriel is survived by their children, Joy, Leslie and me, his grandchildren Kalela, Esther and Amelia, great-grandchildren Alma and Eitan, and his brother Percy.

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