Luciano Ercolani, a Vice President of the Club, died on the 13th February [2008] aged 92 years. For many years he headed up the family furniture firm Ercol. He represented the Club rowing at Henley in 1937, 1939 and 1946.

His distinguished career in the RAF was rewarded with the DSO and a DFO. The DFO was awarded in recognition of saving his crew when the Wellington bomber he was piloting came had to be ditched in the Channel on returning from a bombing raid in Berlin.

Under fire as they headed for the Channel, flak set their incendiaries alight. They fought the fire for three hours before the incendiaries could be jettisoned. Struggling across the French coast, he ditched his plane in the Channel. Injured, he got his crew safely into a life-raft. They spent the next three days drifting. Finally, they landed on the Isle of Wight coast where they were rescued.

For more about Mr Ercolani, you can read his obituary on The Times website (subscription only).