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John Whale
1. Name
2. Date Commissioned 1 February 1965
3. Date retired
30th November 1967
4. Rank
Lieutenant RM
5. Awarded wings
June 1966
6. Flying schools

RAF Linton-on-Ouse
HMS Seahawk
RNAS Culdrose 705 and 707 Sqdn

7. Aircraft types flown

Tiger Moth
Hiller 12E
Whirlwing Series 3 and 7
Wessex 5

Wessex 60

8. Squadrons

848 Sqdn

9. Aircraft Carriers

HMS Albion

10. General

John was on the first ever course of RM pilots to specifically fly with the Navy at the beginning of 1965 - YO125. Basic training was carried out at Deal, the Commando Course at Lympstone, where they were awarded their green berets and a short technical course at Deal whilst waiting for their Naval counterparts to finish their course at Dartmouth.

They were then posted to No 1 FTS at Linton-on-Ouse where they met and flew basic FW training on Chipmunks alongside the RN pilots. After that, in 1966, it was down to Culdrose for rotary training. As a Cornishman, it was home to home for John. 705 Sqdn on Hillers and Whirlwinds and 707 Sqdn on Wessex 5's before he was posted to 848 Sqdn and HMS Albion. The Squadron was involved in the Biafra crisis (standing by to go in the Doldrums) and the pull out in Aden.

John then joined Bristow's as the youngest captain they had on 18th June 1968 and was sent to Morocco flying the Ws55s3 (Whirlwind Mk9 civvi version) and the Hiller12E..

In 1969 he was posted to Iran flying the AB206A, Ws55s3 and AB204B. He spent 18 months in the Persian Gulf flying out of Bahregan and Lavan Island. He then spent 6 months flying the AB204B out of Zagross Mountains. The Base Camp was 8500' high and the highest rig he flew to was 12,000' high.

On return from Iran in 1971, John was appointed to North Denes Airfield, Gt Yarmouth flying the Wessex 60 (civvi version of the Wessex 5) until 1973 when he was transferred to Aberdeen flying the S61N where he was a Line Check Captain and Chief Pilot of the BP/Bristow SAR Unit. In 1981, John converted on to the AS332L Super Puma. During his time on the AS332L, he converted on to the S76A then back on to the AS332L Super Puma where he rose to the position of Senior Chief Pilot. In 1988, he was refamiliarised on the S61N and posted to Lee-on-the-Solent as Deputy Chief Pilot of the BHL/CG Search & Rescue Unit being awarded the Chief Coastguard Commendation for one of the rescues he was involved in. He was detached to Ireland to help set up the Irish SAR Unit before returning to Aberdeen in 1994 and back on to the Super Puma's.

John took early retirement (the lure of the FS Pension was too much) in 2004 but after 1 month of retirement, he contracted to CHC Scotia for a year before returning to Bristow's as a Contract Pilot in 2005. In 2009, the recession bit and as a Contract Captain John's services were no longer required so hge hung up his flying gloves for good having accumulated a life time flight time of 22,000 flying hours. John is now retired in Pembrokeshire

John Whale Wings