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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