Bob Evans was commissioned into the Royal Marines in May 1968 as an SE(F) Officer. This was an experiment where officers were commissioned to go straight to flying duties without the usual Commando Service first.
After flying training and the award of his Wings in 1967, Bob joined 845 NACS flying the Wessex V, taking part in the first Exercise Arctic Express in Norway in 1968. He later joined 72 Sqn RAF on exchange flying the Wessex 2 and was part of the first deployment to Northern Ireland in support of the troubles in December 1969, his first of many trips 'across the water.'
He again flew with the RN on the Wasp HAS 1 on HMS Arethusa and HMS Ashanti during the 'Cod War', before transferring to a General List Commission with the Corps. The SE(F) was a one off experiment which was deemed unsuccessful as Bob was the only officer to transfer to a GL Commission, with most others transferring to the RN to continue their flying careers.
On transfer, Bob joined 42 Commando RM where he was to see several more tours of Northern Ireland. However, in 1975, after an interview with the Military Secretary and the dreary
prospect of staff courses and staff jobs, with no prospect of ever flying again, and little chance of serving in a Commando again, except in an administrative role, he decided to pursue a career in civil aviation.
He first joined Bristow Helicopters flying the S58T in the UK and Portugal and then Bell 212 in Iran.
After the revolution he went to Nigeria flying the Wessex 60, then back to the UK running Bristow's S58Ts.
Bob joined B Cal Helicopters as one of the 6 founder pilots in 1979, flying the Bolkow 105 for the Met Police Air Support Unit and the Bell 206. He was the Chinook project pilot and converted to the S61.
1980 saw Bob return to Bristow flying the S61 on the North Sea and then the Bell 212 in Egypt.He then returned to the UK and was Chief Pilot of the Brent offshore operation for some years, also flying SAR for them, before going to the Bristow training school as an instructor, flying the Bell 47, Bell 206, Bell 212, R22 and freelancing on the AS355 for McAlpine. He joined McAlpine as Chief Training Captain in 1989, flying AS350, AS355 and SA365, and then rejoined Bristow (again!) in 1990 as an instructor at Redhill.
He was returned to the Dutch sector of the North Sea for a Bell 212 SAR contract in 1991 and then back to Nigeria later that year to bring the AS355 into service with Bristow. He was the TRE at the Warri Texaco operation, whence he departed Bristow yet again to join Schreiner as a trainer in Nigeria on the AS355 and SA365. He later converted to S76B and then became the Chief Training Captain and brought the first S76C+ to Africa.
He left in 2002 to join Abu Dhabi Aviation flying the Bell 212 and 412, but later that year rejoined Schreiner in Cameroun and Tchad as their trainer on the Dauphin for the trans-Cameroun pipeline project. Whilst there he went on Schreiner's first Dauphin simulator instructor course and spent some of his leave time running simulator courses for AeroContractors Nigeria and visiting Indonesia doing standards visits on the dauphin for Indonesia Air Transport. He left because he was too old to fly there any more and was due to go to Sierra Leone to fly the President's Mil 35, but it all fell through when he discovered that the pilots hadn't been paid for some months, so joined Caverton Helicopters in Nigeria as their DO. He left them in 2005 and joined CHC in Nigeria as a trainer on the S76 and Dauphin and then in 2006 finally rejoined Bristow as trainer on the S76 at Port Harcourt.
Bob is still in contact with several ex-RM aviators out in Nigeria. He spends is annual leave back at his house in Wales with his Nigerian wife of 12 years who doesn't really quite understand his past, but still thinks he is a young