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Where it all started

January 1971 was the start of my adventures in Aviation and the Royal Air Force. Recruit training was of six weeks duration, with a weekend break at the half way point and unknown to me at the time would see me complete 22 years in the military. I have a comprehensive story of these 22 years in a pdf file for those that would like to find out more, click here to read or download the file.

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Shackleton AEW

This was the first aircraft I worked on at 8 Squadron RAF Lossiemouth from 1974-1976. Straight out of fitter training at RAF Halton. It was a good aircraft to start learning my trade, and with a great bunch of lads. I had my first trip abroad whilst on the squadron, and as part of a NATO exercise, went for a few weeks to RAF Luqa in Malta.

My thoughts then moved on to apply for an overseas tour and hopefully find myself working on a modern jet.   

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RAF Laarbruch

1976 Saw a move to RAF Laarbruch on a three year tour working in the large ASF Hangar on Buccaneers. I can honestly say it was the best overseas tour could have hoped for. At last a jet, it seemed my dreams had come true.

 A lovely aircraft to work on and although we worked hard, we also had a family life that was second to none.

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RAF Binbrook 1979

Back home in the UK after a lovely 3 year tour in Germany, posted to 5 Squadron who were one of the last Lightning squadrons. At last a fast jet albeit an ageing one. Quite a difficult aircraft to keep serviceable and very hard work.

This was to be the best squadron I would on, both for the jet itself, and the excellent squadron members. Many squadron detachments were part of a fighter squadrons task, with QRA duties thrown in for good measure. After 3 years on 5, I was promoted to Sgt. and had another 3 years on the LightningTraining Flight. I had applied for a posting to the new project, the Nimrod AEW program, the project was scrapped and I was posted from the unit in 1985.

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CSDE Swanton Morley

Alas my squadron life was to come to an end, with firstly a post to RAF Sealand and 30MU, where I was a supervisor on the Rotary and Linear actuator line, doing deep servicing on these items. 

My last posting in the RAF was to CSDE Swanton Morley where I was employed as a spares forecasting officer, assigned to provisioning spares for various aircraft including Boeing AEW Sentry, Gazelle, Lynx and other helicopters. Monthly visits to Westlands helicopters at Yeovil (photo above). I retired from the RAF in 1993, a sad day in December, I drove out of the station gates a civilian. 

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Cold War Jets

2009,  My work on aircraft had been revived at Bruntingthorpe Airfield in Leicestershire. I was invited along by an ex 5 squadron pal, to see if I could help keep two English Electric Lightnings in full working condition.

I thoroughly enjoyed working on the jets, taking part in many an open day, as ground crew as well as sorting out the many small servicing tasks required to keep the jets in top condition. Sadly as time has gone on, I no longer had the enthusiasm to travel to the airfield on my own and my last open day event was in November 2019 where we also dedicated the event in memory of the pal who introduced me to the Lightning Preservation Group.