Back to 1961 - 70



Back To Biographies



1. Name
2. Date Commissioned
November 1955
3. Date retired
4. Rank
Captain RM
5. Awarded wings
October 1961
6. Flying schools
RAF Linton-on-Ouse
RNAS Culdrose
RNAS Portland
7. Aircraft types flown
Provost T1
Hiller HT1
Whirlwind 7
Wessex 5
8. Squadrons

848 NAS
846 NAS
845 NAS

9. Aircraft Carriers

HMS Bulwark

11. General

Mark Langford joined the Royal Marines at Lympstone in November 1955 as a probationary Second Lieutenant in the YO 12 Batch. It was here that he soon gained the affectionate nickname of 'Perky' Langford because of his lively nature and cheerfulness. Five years later in 1960, he began his flying career, which, apart from spells of regimental duties, he followed until he took voluntary retirement in 1970.

With the advent of the then new Commando Ships, the Admiralty agreed that a portion of the helicopter pilots for the Naval Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm would come from the Royal Marines, and in 1961 the first Royal MArines helicopter pilots joined 848 NAS on board the Commando Carrier HMS BULWARK in the Far East.

After completing his basic fixed wing flying training course at RAF Linton-On-Ouse, Yorkshire, he proceeded to helicopter flying training at RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall, and then to Commando Helicopter flying training at RNAS Portland, Dorset. Having qualified as a Commando Helicopter pilot in 1962, he joined 848 NAS in HMS BULWARK flying Whirlwind 7s and in 1963 he served in Borneo during the Indonesian Confrontation campaign with 846 NAS.

Mark Langford joined 846 NAS when the squadron was heavily involved in operation against the Indonesian Confrontation in Borneo. Helicopters were invaluable to general Sir Walter Walker, the Theatre Commander, who was able to triple the strength of his 'teeth arms' by the skilful use of helicopters. A study of Mark's logbook shows the intensity of 846's activities, whether flying in troops or reinforcing the forward bases.

From 1966 to 1968 Mark served in 845 NAS in HMS BULWARK flying Wessex 5s, during which time the ship sailed for the Far East, visiting Aden, Singapore, Borneo and Hong Kong.

After retiring from the Royal Marines Mark, like a number of his fellow naval pilots, joined Bristow Helicopters Ltd and was with them for 5 years. He then joined Alan Mann Aviation at Chobham. During this period he was instrumental in securing the Augusta helicopter dealership for the company. He then left to join Westlands in Yeovil, returning to Alan Mann a few years later. In 2002 he formed his own company, MCL Aviation where he was successful selling helicopters to the rich and famous.

Mark died in 2007 and this biography is taken from his obituary in the November-December issue of the Globe and Laurel.