Alan Rayner was born on the 29th December 1927 in Gosport, Hants, second son to Charles & Maud Rayner & brother to Philip Rayner – dec’d, (also an Arborfield Old Boy). Maud later married Alan & Philip’s stepfather, Philip Downer after Charles sadly died.
Alan attended Leesland School & then The Central School in Gosport before being evacuated to Hedge End during WW2. He was only there a short time before enlisting in 1942 at Portsmouth for The Royal Signals. In 1944 he joined REME where he remained until 1953 initially learning his trade (motor vehicle engineering) at Arborfield. He served at home & also in Egypt, Palestine, Korea & Japan.
He was mentioned in despatches & remained extremely proud of that throughout his life.
After his military service Alan ran various workshops for The War Department (at Turweston/Whitfield, Northants & Bicester, Oxon), the MOD at Old Dalby, Leics & Cardington, Beds & later became a lecturer for the DOE at Cardington before retiring.
Alan married Marjorie Dell at Westbury, Bucks in 1957, having met her at Whitfield. They lived at Westbury, Bucks initially, moving to Melton Mowbray, Leics, then, to Great Barford, Beds and to Little Paxton, Cambs in 1976 where they have lived ever since.
Geraldine, their daughter was born in 1960 & Kevin, their son in 1963. Their son in law is Andrew, daughter in law, Lorraine & grandson, Michael, born in 1998.
In Alan’s discharge papers he was described thus: “S/sgt Rayner is a man of upright character, trustworthy, conscientious & technically capable.” His military conduct was described as “exemplary”. In many respects that also sums up his life, but I need to add his dry sense of humour, his patience, intelligence, kindness, love of nature, love of travel, interest in history, patriotism, wisdom and above all his love & support to Marjorie & his family, friends, colleagues & neighbours.
Alan died at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon on 23rd August 2015 after a short illness though he had become frail over the last few years.
His ashes were interred at Little Paxton.
He is greatly missed.