Sunday, 28 December 2008

Where are we now?

A page about where we are and/or what we are doing 29? years after leaving Halton.

I have heard (through email) some great stories of where we all ended up. Below is a voluntary update, please send me yours!


I'll split this page into classes once we have enough.
Almost there already!

Roy Leftly
After about 4 years at RAF Lossiemouth working on Avro Shackletons (am I that old?) I was posted to RAF Finningley near Donny, which is now an airport with the longest name ever: something like Doncaster Sheffield Robin Hood International Airport, I'm surprised they even have Donny in the name!

Anyway, I met my wife Lisa at Finningley who worked in the Med Centre, although we actually met in the Theatre Club, Lisa was Snow White and I was a dwarf....

After a year at Finningley I went to RMCS Shrivenham to do a degree in electrical engineering. My old room mate Dave Dawes from Class 2 was also at Shriv' doing a degree in mechanical engineering. From here I was posted back to RAF Lossiemouth as OC Eng on the Rapier Squadron. Following this I did the MSc course in Aerosystems Engineering at RAFC Cranwell and left the RAF at age 38.

After reading Andy May's short write-up, I'm still married, and have 2 kids, a boy and a girl, who are growing up fast! A reunion sounds a great idea, let's hope it comes off.

John Phillips
I left the mob in 1995 having spent the last 5 years of it as an instructor initially training apprentices (entries 149 until the end 155 - I taught T42 propellers after being posted to Phantoms and Tornado F3's I never really worked the RAF thinking out), and was the only 139 on the final graduation parade which had the support flights made up of serving ex-appo's (I have a photo of me being inspected by the Duke of Kent in the front row of a flight made up of other Corporals, Wing Commanders, Squadron Leaders, WO's and flight Sergeants etc!).

I finished training sooty fitters courses on Gas Turbines and actually re wrote the whole gas turbine course for the new training syllabus and taught in the Propulsion Simulator. I ended up at Cosford after No1 S of TT moved there in 1991.

It was at Halton that I met up with Lee and later Nige Porter again and we had some right old times (you can imagine being posted to a station with a Hospital!).

Since 1995 I've done a number of training management jobs and was at one point a board director of a big recruitment consultancy. Without going into the CV here (I'll right the story for the site), I'm currently setting up my own consultancy business which sounds grand but is really just me at the moment.

Dan (Mick) Carroll
As we left Halton, I managed to remove for preservation purposes (nick?) all 4 of the old b&w class photos that were taken during our first few days at Halton. We all look very young and shiny and smart - although some of the faces of those that "escaped" early are crossed out. The photos are currently in my attic - I'll scan them at the first opportunity and hopefully, they can be put on the site and enjoyed by a few more of us!

I'm now know as "Dan" - soon after leaving Halton, I joined the Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team where nicknames were prolific - I was soon named Dan (apparently due to a similarity with Desperate Dan the comic book character). Kids can be so cruel!

Ged Sidnell
Here's a brief resume of what's happened to me since leaving the RAF. I left the RAF, taking voluntary redundancy, in August 1996 and started work at Lotus Cars as a Test Cell Technician. After 9 months in that role I progressed to Powertrain Development Engineer and then Project Engineer on Client projects. Unfortunately I was made redundant from there in May 2002 and after a 6 month spell of "semi-retirement" I started work at a company called Windboats Marine as Production Manager, building Oyster Yachts.

After 3 years there it was time to move on and eventually I ended up at a sheet metal fabrication company in Salhouse near Norwich as Workshop Manager. Unfortunately, in March last year they went belly up and I was made redundant from there as well! Fortunately, I had kept in touch with some of the guys at Lotus and they were recruiting for Project Engineers and I came full circle back to Lotus last April. I am currently working as Project Engineer on the new Lotus Evora which we are launching in the near future - first customers will get their cars this summer.

In 1997 I split from my first wife, to whom I had been married since 1985 and with whom I had my eldest daughter Abby in 1993. In 2000 my youngest daughter Emily was born to my now second wife Vicki, we married in May 2007.

We live very close to what was RAF Coltishall - I still miss the Jags flying over our place when in circuit and that "Jet Noise - the sound of Freedom!"

If any others from the East Anglia region - well anyone actually fancy meeting up some time just let me know - it would be great to see people again.

The full blown reunion in 2010 sounds like a great idea - definitely up for that!

Andy May
After Halton I got posted to Chivenor along with my old 138 entry mate Ken Switzer. We carried on terrorising the locals with our American car antics together for a couple of years until my heart condition meant the mob gave me a choice of either staying in at current rank until my time was up, or saying farewell.

I left at the end of 1986 and joined British Aerospace at Kingston building Harriers. Got married and moved to BAE Warton in search of affordable housing where we stayed for a good 5 years and I ventured into Project Management of Goshawk (Hawk for the US Navy).

Eventually we moved back south and I had management jobs in MBDA (missiles), AMS (more missiles) and Astrium (Spacecraft & Satellites). During that time I had got divorced and married to wife number 2. For the last 3 years I've been in Kent and have re-joined BAE Systems now running their Bid Centre. Wife number 2 has gone but I'm determined not to make this a habit as it's getting expensive!

Plans for the future include not moving again for quite a while and climbing the Inca trail to Machu Pichu. I'm still in regular contact with Ken Switzer, but have lost touch with everyone else along the way.

Kevin Higgins
Left the RAF in May 2005 as CT. Spent time at Lossiemouth (first posting) then mainly Kinloss with a brief interlude to 33 Sqn for three long years! Bumped into "Dingus" at Westlands on a Puma course. Was Nimrod Crew-chief with Dave Ball for a while then moved into the Nimrod Ground School (NiMS) as an instructor. (Them that can't and them that teach etc!!).

When I left I took a job with Rolls-Royce as a Project Manager in the Oil & Gas sector of the company, working from Aberdeen. 10 months of travelling 120 miles every day at stupid hours left me looking for something else and looking considerably older! BAE stepped up and gave me a Lesson Design & Developement job on the MRA4 (new Nimrod) working at Warton.

After a few months was back home in Scotland doing the same job at Kinloss which was great. Soon after, the opportunity arose for a Training Manager in NiMS where I used to work in the RAF so that's where I am now. Back to what I left 4 years earlier but as a civvy and running the place instead of a WO.

Now employed as the MR2 - MRA4 Groundcrew Training Transition Manager which sounds clever but isn't really! First marriage broke up as I left the RAF (18 years and no kids) and I subsequently met a lovely Geordie lass who I married last year. Previous family from her means that I'm now a dad and grandad by proxy. Strange things happen in life.

Still enjoy mountaineering, cycling and Canadian canoing when the weather's ok. Life is great!

Tony H

Quit the RAF in 89 after 4 years on 7 Sqn at Odiham. Went into sales repping for a few years. Moved to Hong kong in 1992. After 15 years in IT management in HK, I quit the 'expat corporate high life'. I'm now living in Melbourne, Aus and consulting for businesses and other organisations in sustainability with a speciality in 'Green IT'. Trying to save the world from climate change! Have two children, girl 8 and boy 5 and two budgies (oh, and a wife!).

Martin Wells
Left RAF as a Chief Tech in 2005 when I took redundancy from Marham. Bought a house in a village near Thetford, where my wife comes from. Spent 3.5 years driving an artic for a removal company, mostly round London and UK but also all over Europe. Then the housing market collapsed and no-one was moving so work dried up...no good when you're paid hourly. So, got in touch with BaeSystems who've taken over the 'Depth' maintenance of tornado, centralised at Marham and, as a result, am now back doing the job I handed over to them when I left, planning the maintenance cycles for all the Tornado GR4 fleet.

Jim Boyle
I live in Sleaford Lincs, married with 2 children. I’m a project accountant for the Woodland Trust but haven’t got a permanent contract so will be looking to move on before I get the boot. I was an accountant in the construction industry until July 2008 when I was an early casualty of the recession. Unemployment wasn’t on the plan.

Mike Inder
I'm currently a Chief Tech and the Mechanical Trade Manager on IX(B) Sqn at RAF Marham (I still can't get over the multi-skilling fuss, a chock will never be truely multi-skilled!) I've still got the desire to go all the way to WO all things permitting (God knows they've made it as hard as possible with the various manning and post reductions etc!) Operations are a large part of Sqn life with Tornado doing Afghanistan as well as OP TELIC from 01 Apr 09 but still enjoying sqn life. I've been married for 23 years to Val and have 2 children (Steven 21 and Jenny 16) I've spent my career to and fro'ing from Germany until they pulled the plug! we've kind of settled in West Norfolk.

Iain Mortimer
Still in the Mob at Sunny Lyneham, Currently employed as C130K Ground Eng/Crew Chief and work in Eng Ops when not away. Got married to Katrina in 1988 and we have two children Trina 19 and Connor 16. Have been lucky enough to travel a lot around the world with current job as well as postings to Germany and Canada whilst we still had overseas bases, which didn't involve tents and sand.

Have split the Bungee to Mike Inder I seemed to follow him around till 1994 :) Then went back on AFT course at Halton and met Kev Hudson for the year. Also did a Puma Course at Westland's with Kev Higgins. Had a laugh other year when I had to be assimilated to Multi skilling as Ground Eng we are qualified all four aircraft trades, but we still had to do a 30 question Multi guess to be qualified as heavy splitters.

Speak with Si Rowden a bit as he is Godfather to my daughter and still see Rich Martin nee Turner he would be different on occasions. Very Active with the Ssangyong Owners Club big Korean 4x4 that uses Merc engines and runs on Veg oil cheap as chips :)

Plans for the future getting out of mob and running own Gite and campsite in France.

Richard Martin (Turner)
On my part a brief catch-up is as follows: From Halton posted to Binbrook on 5 Sqn. Lightnings (with Brian Rowley and Col Barlow). This was probably my most enjoyable (social!!) period involving trips to Europe and Cyprus for APC (Armament Practice Camp or A Pissed Corporal). I 'worked' exclusively as a sumpy whilst there on the opposite shift to Brian. Posted with the demise of Lightnings in Nov '87 to St Athan (Oh what joy!). Once at St. Athan I switched to rigger and worked on 4 Sqn. (majors on Phantoms). Dave Boothroyd was also working there and Iain Mortimer (when he took that photo of me scoffing a sausage buttie!). It was round about this time I realised I didn't want to be an engineer and started looking for a proper job. I applied for PVR and left 12 month later as Gulf 1 started (war dodger!)

I couldn't find a proper job so I followed my father into the police back home in Nottingham where 18 years later I still work as a trainer. I married in '03 and acquired a step-son now 21. Had a daughter '98, separated/divorced '05 and now live with partner Suzanne and her daughter.

Mark Freemantle
Still working away, life sentence I think. Currently working as a gas engineer in the Wolverhampton area, but probably in line for a new direction soon.

Colin Browning
Living in Norwich working as a social science and public service studies lecturer at Easton College. This is an FE college just outside Norwich. Left the RAF in 1989 and went to the University of East Anglia. Studied for a degree in politics, an MA in International Relations and then worked as a researcher and tutor at the uni. Then worked as a freelance business writer before a spell at Norwich Union. Started at Easton College Sep 08. Married for 3 yrs and have a 10 yr old daughter from a previous relationship. Keen runner and triathlete which is odd considering how much I hated PE. Did a solo John O Groats - Lands End cycle ride in May 08. Raised a few quid for local charity. I think that's enough to be going on with. Don't want to bore you all.

Kevin Hudson
I'm currently a Chief Tech on 33 Sqn at Benson on Pumas. I was previously at brize on VC10's and am currently trying to get back there for my last tour of duty. Incidently Mal Griggs has just been posted there on promotion to Chief.

Dave Boothroyd
I Left last April and am currently working as a maintenance engineer. It's not particularly exciting or challenging! However I get to see my family every day, which was one of the main influencing factors. If the reunion thing comes off I'll make every effort to be there.

Dave Ingolotti
The power of the internet . . . Dave's daughter found our site and was pleased to be able to show her dad. They are now in Malta. I have his email address if anyone wants to contact him.

1 comment:

  1. Well slightly suprised, I've been offered promotion to FS wef 1st Sep and best of all I get to stay at Marham in what used to be ASF (now a BAE run empire that took the contract for Depth Servicing etc from St Athan. So looks like I'm in for the long hall!

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