18 October 2017

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Thirty eight years of service came to an end on 18th October at RAF Wittering when Warrant Officer Mark Thorogood retired from the Royal Air Force.

A lifetime of service began when the young Mark Thorogood, aged just sixteen, began his basic training at RAF Swinderby in Lincolnshire. Basic training complete, Mark was posted to RAF St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan for his technical training.

A young Mark Thorogood graduates from RAF Swinderby in 1980

Warrant Officer Thorogood was the Squadron Warrant Officer on 5001 Squadron, a unit which specialises in expeditionary engineering. It is a job which requires experience and expertise. 5001’s engineers are highly skilled; from portable hangars and air conditioning to providing electrical power and even manufacturing bespoke components, there is almost no limit to their usefulness.

Ensuring the diligent repair and manufacture of ground equipment components is Mr Thorogood’s trade; it has taken him to Royal Air Force engineering workshops around the world and most of the major flying stations in the UK. A successful career is not built on expertise alone however, attaining the rank of Warrant Officer does not come without understanding people.

Taking a flight in 1997

5001 Squadron Flight Sergeant Martin Kenworthy said: “You would think that an engineer with a reputation for being as meticulous as Mr Thorogood would be a nightmare to work for, but honestly you couldn’t work for a nicer bloke.”

From left to right: Wing Commander Craig Watson, Warrant Officer Mark Thorogood and Squadron Leader Colin Green

A lifelong keep-fit fanatic, Mark has also enjoyed his fair share of success at running. He represented the RAF in track, road, cross country and marathon. Among his numerous successes, Mr Thorogood won the 1991 Lincolnshire Services Cross-Country and came 4th in the 1988 RAF Marathon Championships.

Squadron Leader Colin Green is Officer Commanding 5001 Squadron. He said: “Thirty eight years in the service of your country is a rare achievement, but it is not just a question of longevity; it is also a question of how well you have served your country. In this regard, Mr Thorogood can look back and feel justifiably proud.”

At a few minutes past ten o’clock, dressed in the bowler hat traditionally worn by retiring RAF Warrant Officers, Mr Thorogood was driven from the main gate at RAF Wittering to begin his life as a civilian.

Leaving the Station

Mr Thorogood met his wife, Bev, at RAF Wittering in 1992 and they married in 1994. The Thorogoods have two grown up children and became grandparents in 2015. Mrs Thorogood maintains that the love of her husband’s life is his pair of rescued Jack Russell terriers.

Wing Commander Craig Watson, Principal Engineer at Royal Air Force Wittering, said: “Mr Thorogood’s retirement is well deserved and he leaves the Royal Air Force knowing that he has earned the respect of his peers, the chain of command and this Station. For some, thirty eight years is a lifetime. It is my view that thirty eight years of productivity and professionalism is an outstanding achievement.”

Editor: Ed Palmer

Photographer: Cpl Paul Robertshaw & Supplied Images

RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2017

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