`

Group Captain speaks of his RAF Boulmer pride

Flight Lieutenant Mike Petley (left of cheque), Group Captain Cowieson (right of cheque), alongside members of the RAF Boulmer Charities Committee and representatives from Real Deal Plus and Tyneside and Northumberland Mind. Picture by Simon Moore
Flight Lieutenant Mike Petley (left of cheque), Group Captain Cowieson (right of cheque), alongside members of the RAF Boulmer Charities Committee and representatives from Real Deal Plus and Tyneside and Northumberland Mind. Picture by Simon Moore

Pride. That’s the word used by RAF Boulmer’s former Station Commander, who recently left the base after a two-year stint in Northumberland.

Group Captain Rich Jacob has been replaced by Group Captain ‘Chesh’ Cowieson, who returns for his sixth tour at Boulmer.

RAF Boulmer's former Station Commander Group Captain Rich Jacob (left) with the new man at the helm, Group Captain 'Chesh' Cowieson. Picture by Corporal Alex Scott

RAF Boulmer's former Station Commander Group Captain Rich Jacob (left) with the new man at the helm, Group Captain 'Chesh' Cowieson. Picture by Corporal Alex Scott

When Group Captain Jacob took command of Boulmer in July 2016, he became the first Air Traffic Controller to do so in the base’s 65-year history.

He had the privilege of overseeing operational output and contributing to the celebrations of the Royal Air Force’s centenary this year.

Reflecting on his time in Northumberland, he said: “It has been an honour and privilege to be in command of RAF Boulmer. If I had to choose one word to sum up my time here, it would be pride – pride in the operational output that RAF Boulmer achieves 24/7, 365 days a year, pride in the personnel who work here and the way they represent both themselves and the Service, pride in the fact that we are the epitome of whole force and are a close team of regulars, reservists, civil servants and contractors, and pride in the exceptionally close relationship that exists between RAF Boulmer and the local community.”

Station personnel turned out in numbers to wave Group Captain Jacob off the station. He has been posted to Air Command, in High Wycombe.

Group Captain Cowieson is now tasked with commanding RAF Boulmer and its operational output of compiling a Recognised Air Picture, with radars monitoring the airspace around the UK, and providing tactical control of the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Force.

Speaking about his return to Boulmer, Group Captain Cowieson said: “In this very special centenary year for the RAF, I am delighted to return to Northumberland again to be given the privilege of commanding RAF Boulmer.”

○ Last month, Group Captain Cowieson invited representatives from RAF Boulmer’s nominated charities to present them with the money raised during the last 12 months.

Each year, personnel from RAF Boulmer nominate three charities to raise funds for; this year was Real Deal Plus, Tyneside and Northumberland Mind and Bloodwise.

Between June 2017 and May 2018, the RAF Boulmer Charities Committee raised £3,461.24.

Read Deal Plus received £1,384.50 to continue its hard work in support of vulnerable people in the Ashington area.

Tyneside and Northumberland Mind received £1,384.50 to support its mental-health work.

Bloodwise was given £692.25. The charity supports people with blood cancer, to make patients’ lives better.

The funding was raised through a variety of events and initiatives over the year, the most successful being the Christmas raffle and beer festival.