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RIP 2016


                     Air Cdre Bob Barcelon (60B)  

                     AVM Grahame Jones (99)

                     Gp Capt John Maitland (60B)

                     Gp Capt Allan Wright (4-38)

                     Gp Capt Gordon Kerrigan (62B)

                     Sqn Ldr Eric Steenson (94C)

                     Air Cdre David Loveridge (75C)

                     Gp Capt Ron Robertson (70B)



Gp Capt Alastair Christie (54A)

Breaking his back in a glider accident as an ATC cadet did not diminish Alastair Christie's zest for flying, the RAF and rugby;  indeed, he played rugby for the RAF.   After Cranwell he flew Vampires in the Middle East with No. 6 Squadron, and it was at Habbaniyah he met Joan, then in the PMRAFNS, who later became his wife.   

He flew Meteors with No. 77 Squadron RAAF in the Korean War and then followed some years as  a test pilot at Farnborough and Boscombe Down.   

His subsequent career included tours in the MOD and as PSO to C-in-C Bomber Command.  Converting to Vulcans, he commanded No 9 Squadron.   

His flying earned him an AFC and a Queen's Commendation.  At the end of his RAF service Alastair continued as a senior intelligence officer in the MOD.  


Alastair  died suddenly while in the company of four friends from his Entry.                                                                    Fred Hoskins

RIP 24 March  2016

Sqn Ldr Michael Dark (54 & 55A)

Mike's flying career was concentrated on the coastal role. He flew Sunderland flying boats in the Far East, including on sorties in the Korean War and the Malayan Emergency and later he flew Shackletons.  That took him to Northern Ireland, where he met and married Ann.    At Cranwell Mike had been prominent in sporting activities, gaining colours in Cricket, Rugby and Athletics, so it was appropriate that after his RAF service and settling in Northern Ireland he worked in the area of leisure and sports administration. 

He died at home with his family near him.                                                                                                                          Fred Hoskins

RIP 2 Feb  2016

Sqn Ldr Iain Tite (73C)  

Sqn Ldr Andy Whitson (60B)  

Sqn Ldr Norman Glass (54C)

That Norman Glass had great talent as a pilot was recognised when, from his Advanced Flying School course after graduating from Cranwell, he was "creamed off" to be a flying instructor.   The rest of his flying career in the RAF was spent mainly on Meteors and Javelins and he was probably the first, or among the first and the few, to recover a Javelin from a spin.   This was after the ejection of his navigator, who landed safely - as did Norman and the Javelin.   After leaving the service Norman flew first with British European Airways and then was a captain with British Airways.      In retirement Norman was very active in supporting his local church, including as a trustee  of a charity administering some cottages.   His support was practical in other ways as he was a keen and skilled woodworker who made items for the church as well as Windsor chairs for family and friends and willing purchasers.   He was also an enthusiastic Old Cranwellian, attending reunions regularly until recently."                                                                                                                     Fred Hoskins

Air Commodore 'Jeff' Jeffrey

With great sadness  Jeff Jeffery was laid to rest on 10 October 2016.  The burial service took place at St Mary’s Church, Manby, followed by interment at St Edith’s Churchyard, presided over by the Reverend Chris Turner.  The service was attended by his family and many friends and colleagues, including the Area Director and the Area President of RAFA, accompanied by RAFA Standard Bearers. A salute was taken at the graveside by Group Captain Paul McClurg and The Last Post was played at both St Mary’s and at the graveside by Cpl Jones of the RAF College Band.

Jeff joined the RAF in 1946 as a pilot, flying fighter planes such as Lightnings and Javelins, (amongst others), and received the Queens Commendation for Services in the Air in 1959. He retired in 1981 having served his last tour as Assistant Commandant at Cranwell. After his retirement from the RAF, Jeff devoted his time to serving as a member of the local Parish Council and as Church Treasurer. He was a staunch supporter of RAFA, serving as Chairman for the Eastern Area and of the Royal British Legion.  For many years he worked with Sir Peter Tapsell in his capacity as MP for Louth and Horncastle.

Jeff’s first wife, Phyllis and son Chris predeceased him, but is survived by his wife, Pamela, and his daughter, Penny.

Asst Commandant


RIP 8 Sept  2016

RIP 10 Oct 2016

RIP 28 Jan 2016

Gp Capt Mike Williamson

Mike Wiiliamson, who passed away earlier this year, was educated at Solihull School where he was Head of School, Head of House and Captain of Swimming and Water Polo.  He became a Cranwell cadet with 75C at the age of 19 and graduated as a pilot in 1959.  After six years flying Shackletons with Coastal Command he became a flying instructor for the next seven years culminating in Command of Birmingham University Air Squadron.  While there he was involved in a mid-air collision and bail out leading to his parachute becoming entangled in the Chipmunk's tailplane before accomplishing a late but safe descent.  Following Staff College he became a squadron commander at the School of Recruit Training, RAF Swinderby and then Air Staff Officer HQ University Air Squadrons at Cranwell.  A sharp change of direction followed when Mike took up the duties of British Naval, Military and Air Attache in Baghdad, Iraq from 1978 - 1981.  With the civil unrest in Iraq then this became a challenging and dangerous post and Mike was awarded the OBE for his services there.  Returning to the UK he became OC Administrative Wing and Deputy Station Commander at RAF Coningsby.  While there he flew the BBMF Lancaster.  Mike returned to diplomatic duties in 1984 as Naval, Military and Air Attache in the British Embassy in Oman.   His final tour of RAF duty was as Group Captain Organisation at HQ RAF Germany.

On leaving the Service Mike became the Show Ground Administrator for the Oswestry Agricultural Show.  He also worked with the Ellesmere Branch of RAFA for over 20 years, being Chairman for nearly all of that time before being elected President in 2011, a position he held until his death.

Mike was married to Helen and was father to two sons and a daughter.

                                                                                                                                                                             Tony Woodford

RIP 15 March 2016

RIP 3 Jan 2016

Mike Sparrow 91/2 B

1969 – 72 No 617 Squadron, RAF Scampton – Vulcan

1972 – 73 No 2 School of Trade Training, RAF Cosford.

1974 – 76 RAF College Cranwell, Staff Pilot – HS 125 Dominie.

1976 – 80 No 8 Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth – Shackleton.

1981 – 89 RAF College Cranwell, OC 3 Sqn, OC Standards FTS – Jet Provost QFI . (Personal Instructor to Prince Faisel bin Hussein).

1989 - 91 Chief Instructor. Air Cadet Central Gliding School, RAF Syerston

1991 - 94 DCI, CFS, RAF Scampton

1994 - 96 FT Staff HQPTC Innsworth

1996 - 00 HQ STC liaison CDAOA Taverny France (super bon!)

2000 - 03 ISS Tutor Shrivenham.

2003 Retired from RAF.

Married to Diana, Mike  retired in 2003 to live in the Cotswolds.

RIP 29 Nov 2016

Sqn Ldr R P J King (54B)

Paddy joined the RAF as a Cadet Pilot and survived crashing a Tiger Moth before entering Cranwell.  He spent most of his RAF career flying fighters, including the notorious Swift, but when he was found to be too tall to fit into a Gnat, instead of his intended tour instructing at Valley he converted to the Beverley and commanded No 30 Squadron in the Middle East during the very troublesome times at the end of British rule in Aden.    Flying was not without more excitements as when an exchange pilot with the USAF flying the RF84F and the F101Vodoo, he flew the Atlantic in a formation of 24 F84Fs.    The dry tanks range of the F84F being 35 Nautical miles less that the length of the first leg, to the Azores, a good tail wind was necessary.    Such was also needed for the second leg to Chateauroux, near Paris, but unfortunately it changed to a nasty headwind, and radio failure caused Paddy to take over the lead.    The situation was very serious and his distress call was answered by a US Navy ship offering to pick them up if they could eject nearby.      A section of four landed in fog at Bordeaux and the remaining 20 made it to the destination, running out of fuel taxying in, on the runway and in several cases on short finals.    Failure of an oil system, and thus the melting of a bearing, caused Paddy's engine to seize up as he entered dispersal.

These adventures merely whetted Paddy's appetite for flying and he continued his association with the Middle East for a number of years after leaving the service, as Chief Flying Instructor with the air forces of Jordan and then Saudi Arabia, before moving to Lesotho to command that country's Air Wing.     In the meantime, he had settled his family in Wimborne and when he finally returned to the UK he became an examiner with the CAA, rising to be Chairman of the Board of Examiners, until he failed a medical and was condemned (in his words) to taking rat poison (Warfarin) for the rest of  his life.   He then instructed on aviation on the ground, when not fishing or involving himself in local activities and the Minster church. .

Sadly, Paddy experienced several strokes in recent years but bore the ensuing frustrations with fortitude and patience.    He enjoyed meeting old friends for lunch and a reminder of what he had most enjoyed for so long – aviation.   Paddy was regarded with admiration and affection, helped greatly by his Irish charm and a fund of stories.   His final moments were passed with his dog on his knees, a glass of wine at hand and his wife, Veronica, by his side.

Fred Hoskins

RIP 10 Nov 2016

Flt Lt Michael Jones 94B

Lord Michael Jones, judge

The sudden and untimely death of Scottish judge Lord Jones (Michael Jones, known as Mike) has shocked and deeply saddened all who knew him,a grievous blow to his family and a major loss to the Scottish legal system.

His path to the Bench was a highly unusual one in that before studying law he spent seven years in the RAF, latterly as a fighter pilot with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. In the early ‘70s he was deployed in Germany as an operational pilot in a F4 Phantom jet fighter squadron. During the era of the Cold War, their duties included responsibility for a tactical nuclear strike on Soviet Russia.

This entailed training in low flying at speeds of up to 600mph. As Mike described it in 2013 in a talk to leavers at his old school, The Royal High School, “flying at about the height of the Scott Monument at a speed that would take you from one end of Princes Street to the other in three seconds”. He continued how they were instructed,while on this prospective mission, to look to the right when a nuclear explosion occurred on their left and to put an eyepatch on their left eye to protect them from flash blindness. This was at a time when Phantoms were flown on manual controls using maps and vision was crucial. With typical wry humour and understatement,Mike remarked that “I can’t say I was happy”about turning his head away from the flight path with one eye covered as his jet hurtled along at about 600mph scarcely above ground level.

He thoroughly enjoyed his time in the RAF and though relieved at not having to undertake a nuclear strike,acknowledged he was prepared for it and,if necessary,would have done so. It was no role for the faint hearted.

While in Germany he met his first wife Linda. A routine medical examination disclosed an irregular heartbeat rendering him unfit for flying duties and after a year in a desk job he left to study law,his interest kindled by participation in two courts martial.

He graduated with distinction from Dundee University winning several prizes,appreciative of this “second chance” at education. Mike and his wife partly financed his course through the purchase and refurbishment of flats with Mike doing much of the work himself, guided by Readers’ Digest DIY manuals. His attitude was that he could master a skill if it were explained in a book,a challenge relished.

Admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1977 following a period of ‘devilling’[training] to Ranald MacLean, later Lord MacLean, he soon built up a busy practice and was much in demand by solicitors seeking to instruct him in both civil and criminal cases. Appointed Advocate Depute in 1984, he prosecuted serious crime in the High Court for three years, including many high profile cases,onerous and taxing work.’Taking silk’ in 1989, becoming a QC, his practice focussed principally though not exclusively on weighty civil litigation.

During this time, he and Linda had four daughters, but subsequently parted company. As with his RAF duties, Mike was enthusiastic about advocacy and threw himself wholeheartedly into it.

Extremely dedicated and assiduous, he spent long hours mastering briefs,becoming an exceptionally able counsel who was highly acclaimed,admired and respected. Through his commitment and skills, he developed a varied practice,involving him in many complex cases, always providing an exceptional service to his clients. A glance at only a few examples of cases in which he acted gives a flavour – the Piper Alpha Inquiry,the Dunblane Inquiry, the Chinook Helicopter Inquiry,the McTear v Imperial Tobacco litigation,the successful defence of Mohammed Sarwar MP.

Mike was especially proud of saving Lanark Blue Cheese for the nation. Environmental Health Officers wanted to declare the unpasteurised cheese as unfit for human consumption and Mike acted successfully for the owner, Humphrey Errington.

In 2005, Mike became a judge in the Court of Appeal in Jersey and Guernsey, a post he held for seven years. He left the Scots Bar in 2008 to become senior partner at Simpson & Marwick, before becoming a judge in Scotland in 2012.

At a specially convened sitting of the Court of Session to commemorate him three days after his death,Scotland’s senior judge, Lord President Carloway paid tribute to Mike’s contribution to the Bench and the application of his meticulous analytical skills to a wide range of subjects,particularly as commercial judge. Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, James Wolffe, QC, described him as “one of the outstanding advocates of his generation,and of any generation,” adding that he had a ‘quality of grace’.

As well as being a singularly successful practitioner, Mike also contributed significantly to and was a pioneer of the Faculty’s course in advocacy skills, a subject about which he was passionate. He tutored and lectured on it not only here but in the US, Northern Ireland, South Africa and elsewhere. A technological enthusiast, he was instrumental in the introduction of systems of electronic presentation of evidence in court.

His achievements are particularly meritorious given that his early days were not auspicious. In the course of his parents’ divorce, his custody was contested,which,unusually then,was awarded to his father, Norman, a civil servant. His grandmother, who died when Mike was 15, was responsible for much of his upbringing. Doubtless this contributed to his account of being ‘a dreadful pupil doing the minimum’ but after graduating from Cranwell RAF College, success replaced dormant potential.

He married Fiona Craddock whom he had first met while she was ‘devilling’ as advocate. They enjoyed a very happy and fulfilled marriage,their sons being born in 1993 and 1996. Mike was a loving father adored by his children for whom he always had time, humour and wise counsel. His family and home in Roslin with its views to the Pentlands were very dear to him. He loved being surrounded by his children and grandchildren there. Mike had wide interests,was witty, charming and congenial company and not averse to a party.

Music was one of his main interests,played on his sophisticated sound systems,particularly the Beatles but also opera. Another was travel,especially to the US where he had a condominium in Colorado and enjoyed skiing in the winter and hillwalking in the summer.

To excel in life in one area is an achievement,to do so in more than one is remarkable. To be blessed also with exceptional personal qualities is only given to very few and Mike truly was one of those.

He is survived by Fiona, daughters Sophie, Katie, Jenny, Felicity,sons Richard and Christopher and grandchildren Liam, Caelan, Maisie and Amelie.

RIP 13 March 2016

Vernon  Harding  graduated  from  Cranwell  in 1962  as  a  navigator.  Apart  from  a  brief  initial tour  on  a  Vulcan  Blue Steel  squadron,  all  of  his flying, which embraced three squadron tours and

one  as  OC  Ops  at  Wyton,  was  on  the  Canberra PR9. His ground appointments, all recce-related, included   stints   with   HQ   NEAF   (during   the Turkish  invasion  of  Cyprus  in  1974),  at  the MOD,   as   OC   JARIC   from   1989   to   1991 (embracing  the  first  Gulf  War)  and,  finally,  the  MOD  again,  looking after the interests of JARIC.

  Gp Capt Vernon Harding (81B)