Airman praises force’s huge contribution
THE RAF has made an “astonishing contribution” in the last century of conflict, a former Tornado navigator and Gulf War airman has said.
Flight Lieutenant John Nichol joined the RAF in 1981, serving in the Falklands, the Gulf War and Bosnia during more than 16 years of active service before retiring in 1996.
The 54-year-old, who was shot down, captured and tortured by the Iraqis in 1991, said the RAF has had an “amazing history” and one he is proud to have been a part of.
“Although the Air Force is the junior service, it hasn’t had a junior contribution to the last 100 years of conflict,” he said. “It has had an astonishing contribution.”
Mr Nichol said for him the centenary of the RAF marks “transformation”, adding that when the service was first formed “flight was still something that was regarded as almost mystical”.
“People had been flying for maybe only 15 years or so when the RAF was formed,” he added.
“If you think about those young men getting airborne in aircraft that were basically string and a bit of wood and canvas, what they did was astonishing.”
Mr Nichol said the RAF was key during the Second World War, the Battle of Britain, and the Cold War, where the service was “at the absolute forefront of the nuclear deterrence”.