David J. Rhodes AFM


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David Rhodes joined the RAF in 1943, did his pilot training in South Africa and was discharged as F/Lt in January 1947 to take up a post in the city. This did not suit so a few months later he rejoined the service; at a time when thousands were still being discharged; he couldn’t get recommissioned so served in the long- gone rank of Pilot 2 then Pilot 1 with 245 Squadron at Horsham St Faith in Norfolk. Though the process is now standard, he was one of a very few selected at that time to take part in the original flight refuelling trials and was awarded an Air Force Medal (AFM).
He was recommissioned as F/Lt in 1952, serving at West Raynham in Norfolk, taking acceptance of fighter planes from the manufacturers to test them before they went into general service. In passing, his flying classification throughout his career was “exceptional”. He then did two tours as ADC to Lord Mountbatten in the MoD. On promotion to S/Ldr he went to Bahrein, and subsequently did two tours is Saudi Arabia, training their pilots. As wing/Co he was OC at Gutersloh in Germany and his final posting was as Gp/Capt and OC at RAF Bawdsey in Suffolk, from 1970 – 74. He then left the service to take up the post of Director of Operations, Singapore Air Force – I well recall a letter he wrote in 1975 saying that having seen the RAF go from 60 operational squadrons to 8, he now had the great satisfaction of building up his own Air Force! Sadly, he crashed off Singapore in August 1976 and is buried in Kranji Military Cemetery there.
He had always wanted to fly, still passed the medics every year and was still flying at the top level when he died at the age of 51 – we feel he died a very happy man after long and honourable service.

Added by: F.A. Rhodes on 2nd March 2010.

 

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Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund
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Registered Charity No. 1081009