It is with great sadness that the Royal Air Force has learned of the death of Squadron Leader Rimon Than following an avalanche in the Cairngorms on Thursday (14 Feb).
Squadron Leader Rimon Than
Sqn Ldr Rimon Than was born in Burma in 1979. He initially joined the Royal Air Force as a Medical Cadet in 2001 and attended his Specialist Entrant and Re-entrant Officer Training in 2004 at the RAF College at Cranwell. Prior to his assignment to RAF Valley in Jun 2011, he had served at RAF High Wycombe and RAF Lyneham.
Group Captain Adrian Hill, the Station Commander at Royal Air Force Valley, said:
“Sqn Ldr Rimon Than was the Senior Medical Officer at RAF Valley and was a fine, dedicated officer and doctor. He was passionate about mountaineering and his death is a tragedy. He was well respected and popular and will be sorely missed by all personnel at RAF Valley. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”
Wg Cdr Ian Richardson, Chairman of the RAF Mountaineering Association, said:
“Squadron Leader Rimon Than was a unique and talented individual: a fine doctor and a passionate mountaineer. A long time member of the RAF Mountaineering Association, Rimon was a hugely capable climber with extensive experience of the demands of mountaineering at high altitudes. He was dedicated to providing the opportunities to those who wished to further their mountaineering skills, developing novel opportunities with various international bodies. He had only recently returned from a highly successful expedition to the Sichuan Province of China, where his team summited the virgin peak Wupingfen. Seemingly a quiet individual, Rimon had a wry sense of humour and an emphatically pragmatic outlook on all aspects of life. Devoted to his partner Claire, they lived a life of adventure together, as his holiday photos would testify. He will be sorely missed.”
Sgt Stuart Hague, Practice Manager at RAF Valley Station Medical Centre:
"I had the honour of working with Sqn Ldr Rimon Than. He was an approachable and lovable character always willing to listen and offer advice when needed, always promoting the team ethos. Through his relaxed, intelligent and calming influence he commanded the respect of his section and led through example, enjoying every opportunity the service has to offer. An inspirational and dedicated Medical Officer to his patients and colleagues he will continue to face challenges in death as he did in life, always with a smile.”
Sqn Ldr Andy Grieve, Deputy Senior Medical Officer, RAF Valley:
"Rimon was a dear friend. We were passionate about the same things- adventure, the hills, prehospital care, the RAF and Medicine. He was a very supportive SMO - always steering me down the appropriate path but also giving me the necessary freedom to develop myself both as an Officer and a Doctor. He gave and took so much from his career in the Royal Air Force and certainly lived his life to the full. No doubt he will be smiling down on us all. I will miss him terribly."
Dr Nigel Hargreaves, Civilian Medical Practitioner, RAF Valley:
"I had the pleasure of working with Rimon as a Doctor colleague at RAF Valley for nearly two years. He was a very valued member of the team and a leader of the practice. He led the team from the front and was very popular with peers and subordinates, patients and colleagues from his varied interests. He lived life to the full and his obvious passion was the mountains and hills around the world. He will be very sadly missed and I will remember him fore most as a valued colleague. My condolences go out to his partner and family at this very sad time."
Cpl Jenna Machin, Paramedic, RAF Valley:
"It has been my privilege to have served under Sqn Ldr Than on two occasions. Both times Sqn Ldr Than encouraged me to be the best medic I possibly could and always strive for clinical excellence. His enthusiasm to grasp every opportunity and to achieve the most from the Royal Air Force was contagious. Sqn Ldr Than was an inspirational Senior Medical Officer; who was well liked and well respected within the Station Medical Centre, RAF Valley and the wider Defence Medical Services. I will remember his grace and wicked humour always. He will be sadly missed, but happily remembered."
Cpl Stephen Griffiths:
"I had the honour and pleasure to have worked with Sqn Ldr Than over the last two years. During his time as SMO he was always approachable, willing to offer advice and help out with any circumstances that occurred. He was respected by all members of staff and will be sadly missed."
Sgt Bart Munns, Practice Nurse:
"Having only worked with Sqn Ldr Than for a few short months, I found him to be approachable, supportive, professional and always had a smile. A keen mountaineer whose eyes lit up when talking about something he truly loved. One of his biggest assets was the respect he showed to everybody no matter of rank. He will be truly missed by all at RAF Valley medical centre and the Defence Medical Services. I am sure he will look down and smile on us all."
Mrs Terri Lucas, Pharmacy Technician:
"Sqn Ldr Than, a pleasure to have worked for you. Rest in peace and know that you inspired many people."
Cpl Emma Horsman, Station Environmental Health Technician:
"My Boss was unbelievably clever and an extremely likeable young Officer who welcomed myself and my post wholeheartedly into the Station Medical Centre (SMC) at RAF Valley. In the all too brief time that I have known him, he was always cheerful, polite and full of energy - a real pleasure to have as my reporting Officer. His passion and humour with regards to him encouraging my climbing efforts will remain with me always. The SMC will be a poorer place without him. His tragic loss has stunned me, as I try to come to terms with this awful event my thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved one."
Collated from all the SACs in the RAF Valley medical centre:
"Sqn Ldr Than lit up every room, for not only his kindness and warmth but for his contagious smile. He commanded such respect and love in his short life... a young man, of great distinction, courage, charm and compassion will be missed as our leader, SMO and friend. We all feel privileged to have known and worked alongside Sqn Ldr Than, whose dedication, enthusiasm and inspirations shone, touched us all allowing us to be the best we can be. He was a man who lived life to the full and never let anyone get in the way of his aspirations. We have comfort knowing that he died doing something that he had so much passion for. For a quietly spoken man he will always leave a massive hole in our hearts. Sir, you will always be remembered, climbing the clouds in the sky."