Signing off after rich career on RAF bases

Dave Chappell, with Group Captain Mark Coleman and Wing Commander Rich Sharp and colleagues from RAF Boulmer.
Dave Chappell, with Group Captain Mark Coleman and Wing Commander Rich Sharp and colleagues from RAF Boulmer.
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An Alnwick man has retired from RAF Boulmer having spent 52 years serving the MoD first as an RAF officer and then as a civil servant.

The north Northumberland station’s health and safety officer, Dave Chappell, is hanging up his hard hat after a Ministry of Defence career of more than half-a-century.

Dave was 17 when he joined the RAF in 1963 and, after a three-year apprenticeship at RAF Locking, he left as a junior technician in the trade of Electronic Technician (Ground Radar).

He gained his commission in 1976 and worked as an engineer on Air Defence Systems.

Throughout his 41-year RAF career he served on tours of duty at RAF West Drayton, RAF Boulmer, RAF Wattisham, RAF Staxton Wold, Headquarters Strike Command, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Belgium, the Falkland Islands, MOD Harrogate, RAF Brampton and RAF Fylingdales.

Dave retired from the RAF in 2004 in the rank of Squadron Leader and later that year took up the civilian post of the station health and safety officer at RAF Boulmer.

During his time there, he has proactively managed health and safety for the Air Surveillance and Control System (ASACS) Forces’s northern sites stretching from Northumberland to the Outer Hebrides and the Shetland Islands.

In 2006, the Safety Health & Environmental Protection office were awarded an Air Officer Commanding Team Commendation and in 2012, Dave was awarded an Air Officer Commanding individual commendation.

Following a farewell presentation last week, Dave said: “I’ve been lucky to have had a long, happy and rewarding career both in the Royal Air Force and as a civil servant.

“Of all my periods at RAF Boulmer, totalling more than 21 years, this one has been the best and most rewarding, mainly because of the fantastic support I have been pleased to receive from many of you over the past 11 years.

“I wish RAF Boulmer and all of you all the best for the future.”

Dave is married to Sheila, has two sons, Andrew and Christopher, and four (soon to be six) grandchildren.