Today marks 12 years since Hercules C130K flight XV179 was shot down over Iraq killing all ten crew. In this blog Group Captain Mike Neville pays tribute to the families left behind.
It’s difficult to believe that 12 years have passed since the tragic events of Sunday 30 January 2005 when Iraqi insurgents shot down an RAF Hercules, killing all ten crew on board. The news still haunts me to this day.
At the time I was the Squadron Boss of 47 Squadron and with the Station Commander away I was acting Station Commander of RAF Lyneham.
I met many of the families and children in the days following the crash and as a father myself I was acutely aware of how difficult this period was for them and I remain in awe of how they all coped in the most awful of circumstances.
Years have passed and the children of these brave, young men have grown and flourished into accomplished adults, some supported through school or university by the RAF Benevolent Fund.
The RAF Benevolent Fund stood committed to supporting these families then and remains so to this day and in the future and though twelve years have passed we will never forget the sacrifice made by these ten young men:
- Flight Lieutenant Dave 'Steady' Stead (Captain)
- Flying Officer Andy 'Smudge' Smith (Co-Pilot)
- Flight Lieutenant Paul Pardoel (Navigator)
- Master Engineer Gary Nicholson – 'Gary Nick' (Flight Engineer)
- Master Aircrew Mark 'Gibbo' Gibson (Air Loadmaster)
- Chief Technician Richie 'Delia' Brown (Ground Engineer)
- Sergeant Bob 'Logical' O'Connor (Ground Engineer)
- Corporal David Williams (Safety Equipper)
- Lance Corporal Steven 'Jonah' Jones (Signaller)
- And Squadron Leader Patrick 'Paddy' Marshall who was on his first day in theatre
By Mike Neville