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My granddad inspired my love of flying

RAF Benevolent Fund Regional Director (Central/North England and Wales) Mark Quinn served in the Royal Air Force for 25 years following in the footsteps of his granddad who also served. Mark shares with us his most memorable moment which led him to discover a lot more about his grandfather's RAF service.

Mark QuinnMark Quinn

Throughout my 25 years of service I have had many memorable experiences and worked alongside some very remarkable colleagues. However, one of my proudest moments occurred while I was a very junior officer having just graduated from Initial Officer Training.

My granddad had served as an RAF Air Gunner in Bomber Command during WWII and he was the inspiration for my love of flying and always encouraged my ambition to become an RAF pilot.

I never understood why there were no medals within his collection of WWII memorabilia and he always played down the subject when I brought it up.

As a very junior holding officer waiting for my first flying training course and working for (a then Sqn Ldr) Carl Dixon in MOD London, I enquired about my granddad's records with the Medals department within the building.

The MOD officer kindly researched my granddad's service records and I was surprised and delighted to find out that he was entitled to 5 WWII medals that were yet to be applied for. He also explained that the majority of servicemen left their respective services at the end of the war having never claimed their medals earned.

The medals of Arthur QuinnThe medals of Flight Sergeant Arthur Quinn, Mark's grandfather

After gaining advice about the application process I drafted the necessary letter and presented it for my granddad's signature. I did not allow him to read the letter and got it in the post to London that same day.

Less than four weeks later I had an amazing phone call from my Grandma telling me how proud and emotional granddad was, holding his medals for the first time.

My granddad passed away in 2004 at the age of 84 and while I was disappointed that he did not survive to see the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in 2012, I was extremely privileged that he was able to attend my Wings Graduation Ceremony in 1995.

His medals now have a pride of place, mounted and boxed on my wall at home.

By Mark Quinn

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