Tony joined the Navy as an air cadet in 1959. This gave him fixed wing training with the RAF on a Piston Provost and helicopter training in the Fleet Air Arm. He signed on with the Fleet Air Arm for a 5 year commission but enjoyed it so much stayed 16 years! Front line service in the Navy was in helicopters and within his 16 years’ service he was involved in only two operations. Firstly when Iraq was about to invade Kuwait in 1951 , secondly the Indonesian confrontation of 1963 – 66 when he was flight commander of a wasp flight on HMS Ajax. After several reconnaissance flights into Indonesian waters in the Malacca Straights, Tony and his crew found and intercepted an invasion fleet, taking the soldiers prisoner on Christmas Eve. He was mentioned in despatches for his role in preventing the Indonesian colonisation of Malaya.
1978-81 brought the fabulous experience for Tony, his wife and 2 young children, of 3 years flying for Shell Brunei in Borneo. Back to Aberdeen in 1981 brought a move to the outskirts where the family was based while Tony flew for Bristows again, first flying to oil rigs and latterly for the Search & Rescue team, based in Shetland & Stornoway, as well as spending 3 months in the Falkland Islands where he had been for a stint in the Navy.
Not long before retiring, in Jan 1993 he carried out the well-known Braer rescue - a daring rescue for which he received an award in Los Angeles. In November of the same year, the Lunokhods Russian Factory ship was sinking in very rough seas and a force 10 gale, Tony flew helicopter ‘Oscar Charlie’ to rescue the whole crew of 156 – the helicopter only had space for 18 at a time, but the ship was breaking up so for the final flight they crammed all 32 in, exceeding the maximum weight for an S 61! This time he received an award in Washington.
Tony retired in 1995 and moved to Devon where he joined the Exe Sailing club and enjoyed his retirement years racing Comet Trios.
Tony was much loved and leaves behind a son, daughter and 2 granddaughters.
His daughter was with him when he passed away peacefully on 19 August 2018 at home after a 5 year battle with cancer.