Tony Criddle joined a British naval engineering school at age fifteen, and graduated five years later as an Air Electrical Artificer Engineer. A few years later he further educated and trained as a helicopter pilot, and later still a flying instructor.
He reached Central Flying School â€˜Aâ€™ category status eventually, and was able to examine both student pilots and instructors. He taught both basic students and operational tactics on larger helicopters over several tours, as well as search and rescue techniques on the Australian Navyâ€™s SAR Squadron when seconded on exchange to the RAN Fleet Air Arm at Nowra.
On his return to UK Tony taught basic flying on the RNâ€™s helicopter training squadron, and also flew for two years with the â€˜Sharkâ€™s, the Fleet Air Arm helicopter display team, performing at the various UK air displays. He transferred to the RAN after and conducted another twelve years with them. In his time with the RAN he was a safety practitioner, XO and CO of a Fleet Support Organization at Jervis Bay and a Project Officer in Canberra. In Mid 1991 he suffered a serious injury that was service related, and was discharged six months later in a wheel chair. He did get reasonably mobile again eventually, but completed a Graduate Diploma in Psychology and Counseling while he recovered.
After thirty six years of service he retired to a Sheep and Cattle farm heâ€™d built up at Bungarby on the Snowy River. More recently he moved to the Southern NSW Coast to write down some experiences based on fact, before, to quote him, â€˜heâ€™s too bloody old to remember it.â€™
In the Lap of the Gods
Ex Fleet Air Arm helicopter pilot Nick Evans didn’t enjoy his childhood much, and service in the sectarian madness of Ulster brought it all back. Nick chose to take his chances in a burgeoning exploratory business instead, and ends up in Iran flying for an American company not long after the sha...