208 Squadron Crest
Flying Officer Royal Air Force
Service No 607832
Died 11 July 1961 in Kuwait aged 24
Flavian was commissioned in the Royal Air Force as a pilot on 3 Feb 1959 after passing out from the Royal Air Force College Cranwell, where he was awarded the Sword of Honour. After advanced flying training he was posted to 208 Squadron RAF based at RAF Eastleigh, Kenya. In June 1961 the Squadron was detached to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Vantage, a substantial multi service operation to counter the Iraqi threat to the newly independent Kuwait. He died when his Hunter FGA.9 aircraft, XG134, hit the ground during a simulated ground attack on Mutla Ridge (306m), the highest point in Kuwait. An account states,
‘Whilst flying in poor visibility, the aircraft hit the ground when recovering from a dummy rocket attack in hazy conditions. The pilot, Flying Officer F. Hennessy, did not eject and was killed’.
Flavian is buried in grave 179 of the Kuwait Oil Company Cemetery and is commemorated on the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire.
208 Squadron Hunter FGA9
Flavian’s parents were Jossleyn Hennessy and Lora Frances both of whom were authors. They lived at Braemou overlooking Hopeman harbour and after 1956 at 95 Linden Gardens, London W2. Flavian arrived at Gordonstoun in September 1951, and left in December 1955; he was in Gordonstoun House. He was a keen sportsman being part of the Junior Hockey Team and excelling at high jump. He was a member of the rugby 1st XV, and was awarded his rugby colours in 1954.
He was also a Platoon Sergeant in the ACF, the helper of guests & district in 1955, and Guardian in his final term. There is an amusing account of an expedition on page 48 of the Summer 1953 Gordonstoun Record in which he forgot his ‘wonderful waterproof ex-army’ sleeping bag, and cooked bacon on his ex-RAF stove. He had a brother Armyn, who also attended Gordonstoun, and a sister Arminta who works in civil aviation in Australia.
Flavian's close friend Martin Nicholls joined the RAF at the same time and he was also killed flying an RAF Hunter in similar circumstances (see memorial page 28). Their careers ran in parallel and they were killed within months of each other although on different squadrons.