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In respect to the men I had the Privilege to work with








It is with great sadness that we have to announce the
loss of one of our aircraft


Sunday 30th January 2005


A Hercules aircraft, based at Royal Air Force Lyneham, is believed to have crashed some 30 kilometres north-west of Baghdad at approximately 1635hrs local (Iraqi) time. The Hercules was on a flight between Baghdad International Airport and Balad airbase.


Monday 31st January 2005


It is with great sadness that we have to announce the loss of one of our aircraft. The aircraft crashed in Northern Iraq at 1635hrs Iraqi time on Sunday. Our thoughts are with the families of those involved and we will offer all support available to them. St Michael's Church, situated in Lyneham Village, has opened its doors to anyone who wishes to spend some time in quiet reflection at this demanding time.


It is too early to speculate on the cause of the crash but an investigation will take place in the near future. We would like to thank everyone who has offered messages of sympathy and support and will publish more information as we receive it.


Tuesday 1st February 2005 - Press Briefing


At midday, the Station Commander, Group Captain Paul Oborn RAF, released the following statement to the press...


It is with great sadness that I am here to announce the names of the personnel who are missing, believed killed, in the recent C130 incident in Iraq. The whole of Royal Air Force Lyneham feels this loss intensely and our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with the families, friends and colleagues of those involved. The crew, support personnel and passengers on board were playing a vital role in helping to deliver democracy to the Iraqi people. They will be sorely missed.


A crew on a Hercules C130K consists of a captain, co-pilot, navigator, air engineer and loadmaster, as well as specialist technical support personnel. They work closely as a team, often in severely demanding conditions, in order to complete the mission, and this team was one of our best. Team spirit, self-discipline, professionalism in the air and a sense of humour were characteristics of this crew and we could all certainly learn a lot from them.


The names are as follows:


The Captain - Flight Lieutenant David Stead

The Co-pilot - Flight Lieutenant Andrew Smith

The Navigator - Flight Lieutenant Paul Pardoel

The Flight Engineer - Master Aircrew Gary Nicholson

The Air Load Master - Flight Sergeant Mark Gibson


There were two Ground Engineers on board:


Chief Technician Richard Brown

Sergeant Robert O'Connor


There was also a Survival Equipment Fitter:


Corporal David Williams


In addition there were two passengers transiting to Balad:


Squadron Leader Patrick Marshall (Strike Command)

Lance Corporal Steven Jones (Royal Signals)


Royal Air Force Lyneham and the Royal Air Force family as a whole are offering all the support and welfare that we can to the families of those I have just mentioned. It would be wrong for us to speculate on the cause of the crash at this early stage and we do not have any comment on the reports that the aircraft was shot down. We would, however, like to thank everyone who has expressed their condolences and given messages of support.


I am afraid that I am unable to answer questions at this time, as I am sure that you can appreciate that my priorities lie with the families of our personnel. Thank you


End of Message

Tuesday 1st February 2005 - Royal Visit

RAF Lyneham feels very priviliged to have received a private visit from our Honorary Air Commodore Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. The Station Commander, Group Captain Paul Oborn, said " All the Station > personnel greatly appreciate the close relationship we have with our Honorary Air Commodore and value the time that she spends with us".

The Princess Royal expressed her condolences to members of 47 Squadron and thier engineering support personnel. In addition she spoke to personnel who are assisting the bereaved families at this very difficult time.



Latest information can also be found on the Ministry of Defence website


High Flight

Let us remember them, and their families, as we read a poem, written by Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee, No 412 squadron, RCAF, Killed 11 December 1941, 'High Flight'...

~ High Flight ~
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.