Back To 1961 - 70









Michael Reece
1. Name Michael John REECE
2. Date Enlisted 14th July 1953
3. Date Commissioned 1st January 1959
4. Date Retired 28th February 1987
5. Rank Colonel
6. Awarded Wings 25th January 1963
7. Flying Schools No 1 FTS, RAF Linton on Ouse
No 104 Helicopter Specialist Pilots Course, 705 Squadron, RNAS Culdrose
No 86A Helicopter Instructors course, Central Flying School, RAF Ternhill
8. Types Flown Chipmunk
Hiller HT1
Whirlwind Mk 3
Whirlwind Mk 7
Whirlwind Mk 10
Wessex Mk 1
Wessex Mk 5
Wasp HAS 1
9. Squadrons

705 NAS
707 NAS
845 NAS
848 NAS

10. Aircraft Carriers HMS ALBION
11. Decorations And Medals OBE
Naval GSM (Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Northern Ireland)
12. General

Mick joined 616 Squad at the ITCRM (later CTCRM) on Bastille Day 1953. After recruit training he served at sea in ALBION and KENYA before being commissioned in January 1959. As a Young Officer he joined 42 Commando embarked in BULWARK during its first commission as a Commando Ship. On completion of officer training he was awarded the Sword of Honour. Inspired by his tour in BULWARK, he immediately volunteered to specialise as a helicopter pilot.

In 1962 he commenced flying training in Chipmunks at RAF Linton-on-Ouse where, typical 'bootie', he had the ignominy of being invited to wear plimsolls and thus avoid damage to the rudder pedals and his instructor's nerves. He then progressed to RNAS Culdrose for basic helicopter training before joining 848 Naval Air Squadron in January 1963, also at Culdrose, flying Whirlwind Mk 7s. Later that year, following a Wessex Mk 1 conversion course, he joined 706B Flight for a frenetic work up before embarking in BULWARK for a fast passage to the Far East and to reinforce 845 Naval Air Squadron, which, by then, had already been committed to operations in Borneo. In late March 1964, 706B Flight was integrated into 845 and immediately joined the disembarked half of the squadron deployed to Simanggang, Sibu and Nanga Gaat for a rewarding year of intensive flying.

Mick returned to UK in June 1965 for a QHI course at RAF, Ternhill after which he was presented with the Westland and Bristol Siddeley Trophies for the best overall results. He was appointed back to Culdrose as an instructor and subsequently as Senior Pilot of 707 Squadron, qualifying as an A2 instructor and IRE with a Master Green instrument rating. In December 1967 he returned to the Far East and ALBION to rejoin 848 Naval Air Squadron as Senior Pilot and later as Commanding Officer; the first Royal Marines Officer to command a Naval Helicopter Squadron. During his period in command 848 returned to the UK in ALBION for a short period before embarking in BULWARK for yet another deployment to the Far East. Finally, back in Culdrose, Mick relinquished command of 848 Naval Air Squadron in October 1970.

Having 'hung up his bone dome' so to speak, Mick's return to the Corps was a rude shock when he joined the Commando Training Wing as a Training Officer at CTCRM. In 1972 he was promoted Major and joined 42 Commando as a Rifle Company Commander - another even ruder shock - completing two operational tours in Belfast. Following a staff appointment in Portsmouth he was then posted to the National Defence College, first as a student and then on the directing staff. During this appointment he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel before assuming command of 41 Commando in January 1980. Under his command, the commando deployed to South Armagh and for his services in Northern Ireland (but, in truth, in recognition of the hard work and professionalism displayed by all the marines in the unit) he was appointed OBE. Early in 1981 the decision was made to disband 41 Commando as part of a defence review. The subsequent disbandment ceremonies included Trooping the Colour before the Cap!
tain General, HRH The Prince Philip.

In September 1981 Mick was promoted Colonel and joined the British Defence Staff in Washington as Chief of Staff, Joint Warfare Representative, Assistant Defence Attache and one of the UK representatives on the United Nations Military Staff Committee. In other words, Uncle Tom Cobleigh. This was a busy tour and far more involved in the support of OP CORPORATE than was generally reaised or could be disclosed at the time. He returned to the UK in late 1983 to attend the Royal College of Defence Studies after which he assumed his final appointment as Commandant, CTCRM where it had all began. His final trick, fittingly, was to fly himself out of Lympstone in a Wessex Mk 5 kindly and bravely provided by 848 Naval Air Squadron.