AQUILA MANAGER REPRESENTS RAF ASSOCIATION AT CENOTAPH
Aquila’s Service Delivery Manager for the Falkland Islands is to represent his former Royal Air Force trade training association at this year’s National Service of Remembrance Day Parade at the Cenotaph in London.
Patrick Fitz-Gerald trained as an Airfield Electronics Technician at No.1 Radio School at the former RAF Locking. He will represent the newly formed RAF Locking TG3 Association at the Remembrance Day Parade on Sunday 13 November.
The annual Remembrance Day Parade commemorates all those who have served and sacrificed including British and Commonwealth soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, members of the emergency services and civilians.
Patrick explains his involvement:
What is the RAF Locking TG3 Association?
It is an association for RAF Trade Group 3 tradespeople who trained at No.1 Radio School RAF Locking near Weston-super-Mare. Trade Group 3 was made up of three ground electronics trades: Air Defence Electronics Technicians, Airfield Electronics Technicians and Telecomms Technicians. This Trade Group then merged in the late 1990s to become Trade Group 4. Many Aquila engineers who served in the RAF come from either TG3 or TG4.
What’s your history with RAF Locking?
I trained to become an Airfield Electronics Technician at RAF Locking between 1989-1990. I returned there for many equipment courses before No.1 Radio School moved to its present site at RAF Cosford. Most former TG3 personnel have great memories of RAF Locking. The 18-month training was long for direct entry technicians, but it was close to Weston-super-Mare and there was always fun to be had.
How were RAF Locking and TG3s affected during armed conflicts?
RAF Locking had a long history of technical training and turned out highly qualified, skilled and motivated technicians. The RAF’s ability to project airpower relies heavily on its communications. Having highly skilled technicians to operate and maintain its airfield, air defence and tele-communications during peacetime and during conflict is essential.
Did you serve on active duty during times of conflict?
Not long after completion of my trade training at RAF Locking, I was detached to the Middle East and took part in the First Gulf War. I also served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Sierra Leone. I completed six tours of Iraq and seven tours of Afghanistan. Much of my career in the RAF was spent as a Navigational Aids Specialist on Tactical Communications Wing and 90 Signals Unit and we were involved in all conflicts that took place during my service.
What will you be thinking about during the Remembrance Day Parade?
I will be thinking of all the former colleagues no longer with us – some were lost during conflict, some through illness and others unfortunately were unable to cope with the aftermath of conflict. All played a huge part in my life and I will be thinking of them, along with all those who have served, died or continue to struggle.
Do you expect to meet up with other ex-TG3s on the day?
There will be at least 30 members of the association at the parade and there will be lots of catching up to do – reminiscing about the fun times at RAF Locking and in Weston-super-Mare. I am really looking forward to it. Being in the company of former colleagues and friends whilst we remember is important to me and will make the day very special.