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Squadron Leader Alan H Frew enthralled members of the St Andrews Rotary Club with a resumé of his 26 years in the RAF. Born in the West of Scotland, north of Ayrshire, Alan decided instantly to make his career in the RAF, inspired by a visit to Leuchars Air Base organised one afternoon by his school’s Geography teacher -his mother was ‘not so happy!’ Training first in England, Alan was happy each time he was returned to Scotland. Over the following years he was promoted to Flight Sergeant, then Warrant Officer, ending as Squadron Leader. The many and varied jobs he undertook included training with simulators, coaching at Cranwell where he was the first Air Traffic Controller, coaching flying trainees, engineers, other Air Traffic Controllers. In the course of his career he and his family lived in 16 different houses as he was moved around the country. He was also abroad, notably in Afghanistan, where he took part in the evacuation of the RAF, leaving behind ‘the best’ Control Tower and airfield built by the Americans. He also described a more primitive control tower in which the crew used bottle tops to simulate aircraft movements! At Brize Norton, near Oxford, Alan was involved in ‘Repatriation’, that is, the bringing home of those killed in action, each of whom is considered murdered. The coroner decides from the evidence of the accompanying equipment how a serviceman died, before releasing the coffin to family members. Before closing, Alan said that Leuchars has become a ‘Diversion Airfield’, meaning that it is on permanent standby to receive aircraft diverted from Lossiemouth for whatever reason. He believes that more aircraft, such as Typhoons, and helicopters will use Leuchars in future. It was indeed a truly fascinating talk. Jill Craig gave the vote of thanks.
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