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High flying aid for forces’ task
WHEN most people think of the armed forces their first thoughts turn towards frontline soldiers.
However, the work they do is only possible due to the heroics of pilots in the RAF who bravely fly into dangerous combat zones with supplies, as well as taking troops in and out.
One such pilot is Phil Nobbs, 59, who in a 40-year career flew in every combat theatre British forces were involved in, from the Falkland Islands to Sierra Leone.
During his time he flew a variety of missions, ranging from dropping off vital supplies to piloting VIPs around the globe.
First starting in 1970, he retired from full service in 2011 and now spends much of his time helping the Royal British Legion Appeal.
The former Air Crew Warrant Officer said: “I would not change anything about what I’ve done.
“It has been an incredibly rewarding career that has given me the opportunity to go all over the world.
“The missions I and others have been involved in are vital in all of the operations the British Armed forces have been involved in.”
He spent the early years of his career based as ground crew before spending nine years flying Hercules while based at Lyneham.
From 1988 until 2011 he flew VC10s before spending several years working with commercial airlines.
During his career Phil, of Eastleaze, has been involved many theatres of war including Afghanistan, both Gulf Wars and Kosovo.
“Probably Sierra Leone was the most hostile environment I flew in,” he said.
“We didn’t leave the airport but outside those boundaries it was very dangerous. I was flying in troops, freight and even some passengers.
“During Kosovo I probably flew about 60 air-to-air refuelling missions, so was quite heavily involved.
“There were three VIP crews and for some years I was among them flying cabinet ministers and Prime Ministers. I flew with Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair.”
“It has been a very varied career that has allowed me to do so much.”
While he has spent much of his time flying, Phil has also been allowed to pursue a hobby of his.
“I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve been able to get involved in diving with the RAF. I’ve was involved with teaching the younger ones on expedition and leadership training which has meant I was often posted all over the world, sometimes for four months at a time.
“If I wasn’t in the air then I was usually under the water.”
As a member of the Royal British Legion, he has urging people to show their support for the 2013 Poppy Appeal.
“I have come down to help these guys because they do such a fantastic job,” said Phil.
“The money raised through the Poppy Appeal does so much good work to people who really need it as well as their families.”
A concert is being held to raise money on Sunday at the Wyvern Theatre, which will include performances from the Military Wives Choir and Swindon Brass.
To buy a ticket, visit www.wyverntheatre.org.uk.
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