Fiona Warton, widow of Flight Lieutenant Keith Warton (seconded to SOAF 1966-
68 and an enthusiastic early member of the SAF Association), died peacefully in hospital on Friday 13th May 2022 after a very short illness.
Fiona’s lasting legacy is the audio-visual recording project which she started after
completing Keith’s own family history project by recording interviews with his
former colleagues. That was the beginning of an audio-visual history project that
Fiona pursued with characteristic determination for five years. She had no clear
aim at the beginning of what was to become an enormously time consuming
project, but with financial support from the Anglo Omani Society and from
individual SAF veterans, the scope of her work evolved into recording for posterity,
an audio-visual history of the Dhofar campaign through the voices of surviving
members of SAF and of the Special Air Service, who participated before they and
their memories faded away. Her individual style was such that many veterans
found the recording experience cathartic.
Professor Eugene Rogan, Director of The Middle East Centre at St. Antony's
College, Oxford gave the project his personal endorsement, when presented with
"I am so impressed by all you have achieved, and so grateful to you. Clearly, your
own links to the veterans is encouraging a degree of candour that no one else could match.”
"The Dhofar Campaign Oral History Project is a remarkable achievement,
preserving the first hand experiences of those who served in the Sultan of Oman’s
Armed Forces in a crucial moment in the country’s history. Filling the gap between
the private papers held in Oxford’s Middle East Centre Archive, the Imperial War Museum, and the public record held in the U.K. National Archive in Kew, these unique interviews form an historic collection and will stand as an essential reference for researchers for generations to come.”
A former Trooper of 22 SAS said: “Sad to hear that Fiona has died, but she has left behind through her efforts a unique collection of interviews on the Dhofar War which otherwise would never have been recorded”.
Daughter of a wartime RAF pilot, Fiona MacDougall was born in Boscombe,
Hampshire in 1949. Fiona followed a secretarial career which culminated in serving
as the Personal Assistant to Professor RV Jones at Aberdeen University. Jones was
a scientific colleague of Prime Minister Winston Churchill during WWII and
foremost in the development of radar guidance systems for RAF’s bomber
Command and disrupting the Luftwaffe’s own radar guidance systems. Fiona had
developed an interest in all things and people aviation at an early age. This
included several seasons as an 18-19 year old “wing-walker" standing on the upper
wing of a Tiger Moth biplane as it swooped around at summer air shows. Soon
afterwards, Fiona met young RAF pilot Keith Warton and they were married in
1969. Based mainly in Aberdeen, they brought up two daughters and Fiona served
on several local councils. When Keith retired from the RAF after twenty two years
service, they settled in Storrington, West Sussex. With characteristic gusto, Fiona
and Keith established a flourishing B & B business and achieved a “Best in South
of England” award on more than one occasion, whilst at the same time raising in
excess of £30,000 for RAF charities.
Although not formally a member of the association, in 1985 she set up the SAF Association Scottish Dinner at Douneside House, near Aberdeen and subsequently attended almost all annual dinners including that held in 2021. When Keith died in 2010, a cherry tree was planted in his memory at Douneside. SAF veterans will plant a second tree in Fiona’s memory on the same day, 20th May, as her funeral is being held in Storrington.
Fiona is survived by two daughters and five grandchildren.
Details of her funeral arrangements have been published separately. See Fiona Warton Funeral Details