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Obituary: Charles Francis Oates
A former Bradford Grammar School and Scout master has died at the age of 94.
Charles Francis Oates, known as Francis, died while out on a morning walk in Guiseley on May 1.
A former president of Aireborough Probus, he had also served in the RAF and had been awarded the Burma Star. Francis was born on March 4, 1916, in Broadgate Lane, Horsforth and later moved to Rawdon, where he attended Little London Infants School and Littlemoor Council school.
In 1926 he gained a governors’ scholarship to Bradford Grammar School. He won a county major scholarship to Leeds University, graduating in 1938, and went on to complete a diploma in education.
In July 1939, he was appointed as an education officer in the RAF to teach recruits and later became an armament officer. After the war, he was posted to the Far East, serving in India, Burma, Singapore and Malaya, and was awarded the Burma Star.
He taught at Hartlington Hall in Burnsall, before returning to Bradford Grammar School, where he taught chemistry until his retirement in 1976. In 1930, he had joined the 14th Airedale Scout Troop, only weeks after its formation, and went on to be a King’s Scout, Cub instructor and assistant Cub master.
He was awarded a Medal of Merit and a Silver Acorn award for his service to the Scout movement of more than 50 years. On returning to civilian life he married Gladys, née Simpson, and their family grew with John, Mary, Charles and Edward, who died in 1961. Gladys died in 1974.
Before his retirement, he married Margaret, née Womersley, who died last year. Francis was a Probus member for more than 25 years and helped deliver books to the housebound.
After a lifetime in pursuit of knowledge, he kept up with technological advances, using a laptop computer to correspond with friends and family overseas while in his 90s. He moved with Margaret into sheltered accommodation at Primrose Court in 2005, where his hobby of gardening was replaced by daily walks around Guiseley.