Thirty years ago this week, coalition forces began an air bombardment of Iraq that continued without respite until an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait had been forced 43 days later. Coalition losses amounted to 166 lives. Today, we are remembering those from all nations who took part, and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
More than thirty RAF Squadrons with hundreds of personnel were involved in Operation GRANBY; one of those was Air Commodore (Retired) Dave Waddington.
Air Commodore Waddington joined the RAF in 1985 and completed his officer and flying training at RAF College Cranwell, RAF Valley and RAF Brawdy. In 1988, after the completion of his conversion training on the Tornado GR1, he was posted to Number 27 Squadron based at RAF Marham. During this tour he was deployed on Operation GRANBY as part of the coalition campaign to liberate Kuwait.
Flight Lieutenant Waddington (as he was then) was the RAF’s youngest Tornado pilot; at just 24 years old he was shot down on 19 January 1991, when his aircraft was hit by a surface-to-air missile while carrying out an attack on an Iraqi airfield. He was forced to eject, subsequently captured and was then held as a Prisoner of War for over six weeks.
On his return to the UK, he completed further tours with XV(R) Squadron, French Air Force, Inspectorate of Flight Safety, 31 Squadron, Air Warfare Centre, Ministry of Defence and IX (Bomber) Squadron before taking command of RAF Cranwell in February 2010. He was promoted to Air Commodore in February 2013 and returned to the Tornado as Force Commander.
Air Commodore Waddington retired from the RAF in September 2015.