Francis Anthony Rabagliati, of Charlcutt, near Calne, died at home on August 30. He was born in Durban, South Africa on May 21, 1920, being the third and youngest child of Andrea Rabagliati, a surgeon, and Julia Rabagliati nee Bright.

They moved to Kenya, but his father died of cancer in 1929, when Mr Rabagliati was only nine years old. His mother then brought Francis, his older brother Sandy and his elder sister Helen to England.

He followed his Uncle Euan (who shot down the first plane in the First World War) and his brother Sandy into the RAF in 1940.

He joined Coastal Command, doing coastal reconnaissance and defence.

After a navigation course in Squires Gate, Blackpool, he moved to Coastal Command 235 Squadron based at Dyce, Aberdeen, with half the squadron in the Shetlands.

He was shot down over the Shetlands and lost the navigator and his right eye. Despite his injury he landed the plane and remaining crew safely home with the guidance of the wireless operator.

In 1942 he was based with 278 Squadron Air Sea Rescue at RAF Coltishall, Norwich, and was in the unfortunate position of having to search for his brother Sandy, who had been shot down on a solo flight but was never found. He then moved to Air Sea Rescue in North Africa, where he flew Walruses.

After that he was judged not medically fit, and moved to 4 Ferry Unit, in Catania, Sicily. He moved up through Italy as the Germans retreated, and was in charge of the flying programme from various bases.

He flew all the planes in service with the RAF and after a training course on American planes and their engines, he ferried those planes too.

After VE day, he transferred to Cairo, where he moved Mosquitoes and Mustangs to India, then transferred to Kenya, flying army personnel to North Africa, and on one occasion he flew Emperor Haille Selassie from Kenya to Ethiopia.

In the autumn of 1948 he re-entered Edinburgh University and took a degree in agriculture, after being denied entry to resume medical school to be a surgeon, given his injury.

After graduating he moved back to Kenya and worked for the Agriculture Department advising white settlers on how best to farm the land. On one of his visits he met Anne Marshall, a farm manager and married her in 1954.

As an entrepreneurial team they owned three farms. They successfully met the extraordinary challenges of managing crops, labour, cattle, weather, pests, machinery, local and international markets and the whole process of Kenyan independence and post-independence that were often politically, financially, personally, and racially fraught.

From 1968 to 1972 the family moved ‘home’ to the UK.

Once again he created a business by studying the opportunities, and settled on a new method for growing apples.

Their house in Charlcutt was the first house with solar panels in the village and he enjoyed heat and the hot water, both of which he kept at higher temperatures than the norm. Comfort mattered after years of “bumping around”.

He leaves his wife Anne, four children and four grandchildren.

There will be a memorial service at St Martin’s, Bremhill, on October 11 at 11am.

No flowers please but donations to RAF Benevolent Fund or Bremhill Church via www.