The BBMF Annual Members’ Day was a resounding success this year, but the day was also tinged with an element of sadness as it marked the final flight both with BBMF and in the RAF for Station Commander Group Captain Matthew “Petley” Peterson, and the final flight with the BBMF for Bomber Pilot Flight Lieutenant Neil “Faz” Farrell.
Upon departing their respective aircraft for the final time, both Gp Cpt Peterson and Flt Lt Farrell were greeted by their families, OC BBMF, fellow BBMF Aircrew and a team of engineers who led a round of applause and offered their congratulations and thanks for everything they have done during their time flying for the Flight.
Faz joined BBMF as a Bomber Pilot in 2014 and has completed 9 seasons with The Flight. He provided invaluable support to BBMF as a Dakota and Lancaster QFI, playing a huge part in training the new generations of Bomber Pilots through the years, and Faz served as Bomber Leader from 2018 to 2021. Faz is a larger-than-life character whose infectious laugh, cheeky chappy nature and unwavering support to The Flight will be sorely missed. Following the exit of the E3 Sentry from RAF service, Faz is moving north to fly the P8 Poseidon aircraft stationed at RAF Lossiemouth.
Earlier this year, the Flight also said a sad farewell to Flt Lt Dave “Kingy” King, and Flt Lt Dan Eaton. Kingy became a BBMF Bomber Navigator in 2021. An experienced Navigator with a wealth of experience from operational service on the Tornado F3, GR4 and Hercules C-130K (plus experience as Non-Commissioned Aircrew on the Nimrod), Kingy rapidly became a BBMF Navigator who was renowned for his professionalism and capability in the role. With an unflappable nature and thoroughly amiable character, Kingy is another sad loss to The Flight. Dave is leaving the RAF to experience life lived out of a blue suit for the first time in more years than he would care to remember.
Dan joined The Flight as a Bomber Navigator for the second time in 2021. His previous experience operating in this role meant that he was rapidly on-speed, providing invaluable support to BBMF operations in his inimitable way. Taking into account his cumulative service to BBMF as an old hand, Dan will be missed by all the aircrew and operations team. Dan leaves BBMF to concentrate on being one of the last flying Navigators based in England in his new front-line role as Flight Deck Navigator on the RC-135 Rivet Joint based at RAF Waddington. He is currently training in the US.
Everyone at the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight wish Petley, Faz, Kingy and Dan all the very best in their next ventures!