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Register > Register > Anthony (Tony) Sollars (1974-1991)

Anthony (Tony) Sollars (1974-1991)

RGS shall always remember his friendship, his quiet unruffled super efficiency, his commitment to the department and his huge contribution to the CCF and the wide range of out-of-classroom activities.
21 Mar 2024
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A loyal and hard working officer in the RAF Section.
A loyal and hard working officer in the RAF Section.

Tony Sollars joined the school in September 1974, and from then on was a great strength as No.2 in the Chemistry Department. In addition to his science qualifications he was in charge of a school hockey team each season, and so partnered Peter Smaje on school excursions to the USA and Turkey.

He became OC RAF Section and second in Command of the contingent in 1987. From the start he was not only a loyal and hard working officer in the RAF Section in all spheres, but also a valued supervisor and helper in Adventure Training in Snowdonia, Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons, Cader Idris and Dartmoor.

RGS shall always remember his friendship, his quiet unruffled super efficiency, his commitment to the department and his huge contribution to the CCF and the wide range of out-of-classroom activities.

Anthony (Tony) Sollars was born on 31 May 1943. He died on 6 February 2024, aged 80.

Royal visits to RGS do not occur over frequently. There had been three between 1961 and 1991, any traces of earlier visits are lost in the mists of time. On 6 June 1991 Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales came to RGS to open the new library and IT centre. It was with a great sense of pride that the superbly turned out CCF provided a Guard of Honour.

The Princess had also asked to meet OWs who had been serving in the Gulf, some of whom included; Peter Felon-Smith, Adrian Jarvis, Jonathan Preece, Rupert Swinhoe-Standen, Timothy Watts, Nicholas Wilkes, Jonathan Coups, Kevin Haugh, Peter Smith and Bruce Martin.

R.A.F Section 1982

The RGS has a long history of association with the armed forces, dating back to 1909 when the School’s Officers’ Training Corps (OTC) was founded. The CCF educational partnership between schools and the Ministry of Defence enables boys to develop a range of life skills, significantly those of personal responsibility, leadership and self-discipline.

Peter Smaje (1972-1988) came to RGS after a successful career as Navigator in the RAF and had been in the Merchant Navy before that.

The RAF Section was his special concern and he did not mind who knew it. The team which was built up of Squadron Leader Sollars , Captain Grundy and Mr Chamberlain became one of the largest in the country. With a fine record, whether measured by successes in competitions at Central camps, or in the number of Flying Scholarships gained, or, as many suspected he might of valued most of all, by the number and affection of those who attached themselves to it.

He was a special strength and comfort to the parents of Christopher Gaunt and the affection between the families is shown by the fact that the building in memory of their son is now by mutual consent to be known by Peter Smaje’s name as well.

Chris Gaunt (1974-1980) was killed instantly when his Puma helicopter crashed during a training exercise near Aberdeen.

He worked for Bristow Helicopters Ltd. at their Aberdeen base, from where he flew regularly to off-shore oil rigs. He was always determined to take up flying as a career, but British Airways had no vacancies so he started a B.Sc. Physics course at Chelsea College. After two terms he applied for a job at Bristow's to be trained as a commercial helicopter pilot. Out of the hundreds that applied, Chris was one of the nine chosen. He obtained his Commercial Pilots' licence in December 1981 and had just been selected to go to Miri, North Borneo, where Bristow's have an oil support base.

His father, Mr. Eric Gaunt, said, 'He lived for flying and died doing the job he so enjoyed.’

The Chris Gaunt Memorial Fund was set up in 1982 to assist in funding the use of a building for the RAF section of the Combined Cadet Force.

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