Renowned Denmead press photographer and RAF veteran Geoff White dies aged 97

Geoff White at home in Denmead. Picture: Bob Aylott
Geoff White at home in Denmead. Picture: Bob Aylott
Isle of Wight Distillery launched their HMS Victory Rum on board HMS Victory for Black Tot Day. From left: Millie Bennison, Martin Jakeman, Xavier Baker from the Isle of Wight Distillery, Daniel McCrohon and John Faulkner     Picture: Sarah Standing (180583-302)

Historic dockyard stops to ‘rum-ember’ a top Royal Navy tipple    top navy tipple 

0
Have your say

FROM taking reconnaissance pictures of Nazis in his Spitfire to snapping shots of royalty and even a terrorist hostage-taker, Geoff White captured moments of global history.

But after 97 years, the well-respected press photographer has died, leaving a hole in his family’s life that ‘will be hard to fill’, his widow said.

Geoff White photographs Prince Charles in 1951. Picture: Bob Aylott

Geoff White photographs Prince Charles in 1951. Picture: Bob Aylott

The funeral of Mr White, of Mead End, Denmead, is due to be held on tomorrow.

Now his second wife, June, has paid tribute to a man who ‘lived life to the full’.

The 82-year-old widow, who met Geoff 15 years ago and married him four years later, said: ‘I can’t put into words how much of an impact his death has had on me.

‘He was so full of life and never saw himself as a old man. He was young at heart.

Geoff White photographs the Henley Regatta in 1950. Picture: Bob Aylott

Geoff White photographs the Henley Regatta in 1950. Picture: Bob Aylott

‘I miss him terribly. He taught me how to live my life again.’

Geoff was born on August 16, 1920.

From a young age he showed signs of a passion for photography, buying his first camera from ‘Woolworths for six pence’ when he was 14.

When war broke out, Geoff joined the RAF becoming a rear gunner by the time he was 20.

Geoff White in the 1980s. Picture Bob Aylott

Geoff White in the 1980s. Picture Bob Aylott

Then he moved on to flying in a specially-equipped Spitfire, armed not with guns but with a high-powered camera.

He would regularly take daring trips into Nazi-held Europe to snap reconnaissance photos that were analysed by military command in the UK.

After the war, Geoff carried on as a photographer, first working with The Daily Graphic, where he won the title of Press Photographer of the Year.

Later, he joined Fleet Street, working on The Daily Mail for more than 32 years, where he was affectionately known as ‘Wing Co’ for his time in the RAF – and his distinctive handlebar moustache.

Geoff White photographs the death of oil rig Ocean Prince in 1968. Picture: Bob Aylott

Geoff White photographs the death of oil rig Ocean Prince in 1968. Picture: Bob Aylott

After taking countless memorable shots of Hollywood A-listers, royalty and international breaking news, Geoff retired from the role on August 18, 1985 – two days after his 65th birthday.

‘He never wanted to retire, he loved what he did,’ said Mrs White. ‘He still carried on taking photos.’

Geoff suffered a stroke in November last year. He died on February 27 at his home.

His funeral is 12.30pm at All Saints Church, in Hambledon Road, Denmead. All welcome.

He leaves daughter Jenny, three grandsons and seven great-grandchildren, as well as two step children and two step grandchildren from Mrs White’s previous marriage.