Toronto. I received an email recently from Alf’s daughter, Marilyn. She sadly informed me that Alf had passed away a few weeks ago.
Her father, Alfred William Pyner was born in Barking, Essex, England on November 12 1917. He joined the RAF during the second world war flying Spitfire aircraft and performing aerial photography. Late in November 1944, Alf married his wife Emily. After the war, Alf joined the famous British firm of Ilford, noted for its films, papers and photographic chemicals. At Ilford, Alf became an industrial and scientific photographer. He was involved with Ilford as the company evolved its colour processes.
In his spare time, Alf enjoyed working with his hands and in 1952, he built his own home. A decade later this was topped when he built his own yacht! Both a yachtsman and photographer, Alf loved to travel throughout the UK.
In the late 1990s Alfred and his small family emigrated to the GTA where he promptly joined the PHSC. At our January 1998 meeting, Alf did a presentation on aerial photography emphasizing British cameras. His talk ultimately became a self published book “Air Cameras 1915-1945 RAF and USAAF” which earned one of the earliest publishing grants from the PHSC.
In June of 2003 Alf spoke once again at our Toronto meeting, this time telling about his experiences with Ilford as it worked to develop a viable colour process after cementing its strength in black and white photography. Personally, I used Ilford B&W films, papers, and chemistry for many years.
Here in Canada, Alf stayed active in aircraft as well as photography helping out at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. He is mentioned in High Flight, A Story of World War II, the book written by Linda Granfield . It is fitting that the poem High Flight by Spitfire pilot John Magee, as quoted in Linda Granfield’s book, appears on Alfred’s memorial card.
He will be missed by wife Emily, daughter Marilyn Rickard, and his many grand and great-grand children.