As a teenager I aspired to join the British armed forces. In 1973, when I was 16 years old, I went to Royal Air Force Biggin Hill to do what was then called a ‘Test in Advance’. After several days of mental and physical tests I was told that I had the potential to be a commissioned officer, but that I would benefit from completing an Outward Bound course. My parents arranged for me to do just that at the Outward Bound School at Ashburton, Devon, on the edge of Dartmoor. I attended the course in 1974. Here is my report from that course:

His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was Chairman and then Patron of Outward Bound from 1953 until his retirement in 2019.

Following my Outward Bound course, I returned to RAF Biggin Hill to the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC) and was fortunate enough to be selected for a commission in the Royal Air Force. From 1975, I served for 20 years as a commissioned officer in the RAF Regiment and loved every minute of my service which included active duty in Northern Ireland (during ‘The Troubles’), the Falklands War and the Gulf War (1991).

In 1994 I settled in Moray and sent my children to Prince Philip’s old school, Gordonstoun. For a time I was a governor of Gordonstoun’s Preparatory School, Aberlour House. My children made the most of their time at Gordonstoun which was then, and is to this day a marvellous educational institution.

Through Outward Bound, my military career and my connection to Gordonstoun, I’m pleased and proud to have a very modest relationship to HRH Prince Philip. God rest his soul.

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  1. Alison Schwetlick · ·

    Dear Moraymint

    Thank you for this particular post about Prince Philip below. I fear you may be being hounded but am writing to say that I cannot cope with the volume of ‘Notalotofpeopleknowthis’ WordPress articles sent (presumably) by you, though I doubt it. (I have deleted them). No one has time to read them as they are neither relevant nor redolent of your emails. I do hope you are well otherwise. With very best wishes Alison Schwetlick


  2. I’ve just come across this video of the missing man formation in honour of Prince Philip:

    With your RAF background, Mark, you’ll no doubt appreciate it. It’s not actually the RAF; it’s a CGI video of spitfires over the white cliffs, but it’s clearly been put together by talented enthusiasts with great respect for the man and the RAF. Set to a haunting version of “I Vow To Thee, My Country”, it’s one to savour.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. moraymint · ·

      Thanks for that David, it’s charming …


      1. My son now tells me that it’s footage from the video game War Thunder – but apt nonetheless.


  3. Thank you for marking Prince Philip’s death. Her Majesty will soldier on; she knows no other way. However, like other commenters here, I have something of a concern about the direction of the monarchy once she dies. There is much good in Prince Charles, but he has not the mettle to command the same respect of the British people, and is poorly and narrowly advised on key matters such as so-called climate change. Perhaps he will learn from his mother and maintain a discreet silence once he accedes to the throne; one can hope.

    I was privileged to be presented to Her Majesty and Prince Philip during their tour of Malaysia in 1972. When visiting Kelantan, in the north-east of the country, the royal party had asked specifically to meet the volunteers stationed there, rather to the chagrin of the long-term expatriates. There were just four of us: three VSOs and one CUSO, the nationality of the latter clearly delighting Prince Philip, who had an animated conversation with him. Princess Anne was also there but kept a demure and reserved distance, no doubt making mental notes of how her parents managed to make civil small talk with yet more complete strangers.


  4. Donna · ·

    One more thing I will never forgive this disgraceful Government for was the sight of the Queen wearing a black mask and sitting on her own as she laid her husband of 73 years to rest. The service she have given is astounding but that fat oaf in Downing Street denied her and her Prince the funeral he deserved.

    The sight of Harry walking behind the coffin was one I could have done without. I hope he scuttles back to Montecito and stays there with his evil, manipulative wife.

    And the only other thought I had was that in a just world, our next Monarch would be Princess Anne; an obvious chip off the old block. I dread the thought of petulant, weak Charles and his lefty-green obsessions.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Hi Mark, thank your for this, well written as ever. For many years I have not been a monarchist but it was impossible not to be moved by the passing of Prince Philip. As Harry and Meghan (mostly Meghan I suspect) do their best to destroy our monarchy and our present government does ever more to undermine our freedoms, I find myself in the strange position of sympathising strongly with the royal family. Strange times.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mel Cornwell · ·

    It is not so much the loss of Philip and the (eventual) passing of Her Majesty that is an issue – they have carried out their duties impeccably over many decades in a highly commendable manner, and have always understood the dangers of direct intervention in matters, especially political. My concern will be the arrival of Charles to the throne, having already shown himself to be in thrall to the Davos set and their wokery. Unlike his parents, I suspect we will be subjected to his earnest bleatings far too often in the years ahead…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. moraymint · ·

      I fear you may be right …

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Chris · ·

    A sombre yet stirring (of the emotions) ceremony, on a glorious day, on one of the most moving and saddest days of my lifetime.
    Sadness for Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth.
    Sadness for the loss of her ‘soulmate’ in life, and sadness that this surely marks the beginning of the end of an era never to be seen again.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. deejaym · ·

    Thank you for this.

    Another door closed for me today.

    Philip gone

    Once the Queen passes on, there will be very little left of this country with which I can identify.

    Liked by 2 people

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