By Tom Group Captain Eeles
Group Captain Tom Eeles served in the RAF for 44 years and totalled over 8000 hours of flying in twenty-eight different aircraft types. Tom entered RAF College Cranwell in 1961, he gained his RAF wings in 1963. His first posting was to No 16 squadron flying the Canberra.
Its role as a light bomber squadron was primarily nuclear strike, with a secondary role of conventional ground attack by day and night. 16 Squadron was deployed to Kuantan, Malaya. In July 1966 and on loan to the Senior Service, Tom reported to RNAS Lossiemouth for a swept wing conversion course on the Hunter before starting the Buccaneer Operational Flying Course.
After 65 hours in the Buccaneer he was posted to 801 NAS, HMS Victorious. In 1969 he joined 736 Naval Air Squadron which was responsible for training courses for RAF aircrew converting to the Buccaneer. He moved to 12 Squadron based at RAF Honington.
Their task was to provide a maritime strike/attack capability and a nuclear strike capability in support of the UK National Plan. 1975 saw a move to 79 Squadron flying the Hunter. After a spell at the RAF Staff College, Tom became staff officer responsible for all aspects of fast jet advanced flying training on the Hawk at Valley and multi engine advanced flying training at Finningley. In 1983, selected to command 237 OCU, again flying the Buccaneer at Lossiemouth.