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News > OP updates > Obituaries > Roger Frederick Bourton - Portsmouth Grammar School 1954 - 1964

Roger Frederick Bourton - Portsmouth Grammar School 1954 - 1964

27 Oct 2021
Written by John Mcilwaine
Roger Bourton
Roger Bourton

8 July 1946 – 20 December 2020

OP 1954-1964

Roger was born in Southsea, the only child of Molly and Fred. He joined PGS in 1954 and like most of us enjoyed his years there, making life-long friendships.

He excelled in athletics, becoming Portsmouth Junior 100m hurdles champion and he also enjoyed  sailing. Graduating from the CCF Army Section to the RAF, he entered the world of aviation by soaring in the school’s famed glider to an altitude of almost two feet. RAF camps provided the opportunity to fly in helicopters, Chipmunks etc. His love of flight, as a hobby, was born.

Away from school he hitch-hiked and camped with his schoolmates, owned two motor bikes and drove the family’s 1932 Austin 7 (in the garden) aged eight.

After school, Roger gained qualifications in Civil Engineering, joining the Devon River Authority. His two daughters were born in Exmouth but in 1975 he and his family took a big leap, accepting a role in Sabah as a sewer and drainage engineer. From conventional Devon to the drains of Borneo!

Sabah was his first posting in the Far East, followed by time in Manila and Hong Kong. During those thirteen years overseas Roger played squash, sailed and was a regular in the weekly Hash run; he probably found time for work as well.

Returning to England in 1988 he was employed primarily in Surrey with international Civil Engineering companies.

Retirement presented more opportunity to fly. He gained a pilot’s licence and flew helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft earning the nickname Biggles from his old schoolmates.

Roger was generally a very cautious man, so, why did he relish motor bikes, planes and the Borneo jungle so much? He was an astute and relaxed conversationalist, with a very fine wit and he was totally reliable.

He died peacefully in his sleep in December. He will be sadly missed by his family and many others.

One of his best friends from school days suggested a fitting epitaph:  “Roger was a great chap.”

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