Another 34 years experience for RNR Air Branch
A Warrant Officer from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose is retiring from the Navy after 34 years service as an Aircraft Handler.
WO 1 Aircraft Handler Andy Lewis joined the Royal Navy in 1981 as a 16 year old and trained at RNAS Culdrose on the Schoolof Aircraft Handling, now called the Royal Navy School of Flight Deck Operations (RNSFDO). Although too young to take part in the Falklands War in 1982, Andy soon sailed south as he passed his 18th birthday and served on the TEV Rangatira, aNew Zealand ferry which was taken up from trade and converted as an accommodation ship inPort Stanley. More importantly she was fitted with a Flight Deck and Andy worked the deck as part of the Ship’s crew.
Andy’s career saw him serve on several Culdrose based helicopter squadron and returned to the South Atlantic a further three times, between drafts back toCornwall. He also served on two of the Invincible class aircraft carriers and HMS Bulwark. In 2005 whilst setting up the Quality Assurance of training within the RNSFDO he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM), and on promotion to Warrant Officer 1 moved to Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) at Devonport in 2010. Andy’s last job away from RNAS Culdrose saw him as a “Sea rider” on the FOST staff.
“It’s been a wonderful career and I’ve enjoyed every single moment of it,” said Andy. “It been a brilliant adventure and my son is carrying on the family tradition in the Fleet Air Arm. Scott isn’t a Aircraft Handler, but I can forgive for that!”
Presenting WO 1 Lewis with a brass fire coupling and blanking cap, symbolic of his Career with the Aircraft Handlers branch was Commander John Lea, Executive Commander for RNAS Culdrose.
His final appointment in the Royal Navy has seen Andy as the Warrant Officer overseeing Phase 2 Trainees at Culdrose and his very last job as the WO Specialist Training Officer at RNSFDO has ensured that his experience is passed on and his knowledge remains as a lasting legacy for his Branch. Leaving the Navy, Andy is looking forward to a new adventure inScotlandliving close to Loch Ness and seeing what comes his way. Andy has already joined the RNR Air Branch to continue passing on over 34 years of Aircraft Handling knowhow.
WO Andy Lewis added: “It’s quite satisfying to come full circle, joining up as a Junior Naval Airman 2 and leaving as the Top Man at the Flight Deck School; not many people can claim that!”