While RAF Lossiemouth bids its official farewell to two of its most famous squadrons today the Moray base is also saying a final farewell to one of its most stalwart individuals.
Squadron Leader Carl ‘Wiz’ Wilson has this week made his final flight as a Tornado navigator and bids farewell to the Moray base and the RAF after a 37-year career.
Carl’s association with RAF Lossiemouth started when he moved over from flying on Vulcan’s at RAF Waddington to crew Buccaneer’s at the Moray base in 1984.
Apart from a couple of brief sojourns in the 1990’s it was Lossie all the way for Carl, who moved on to crew Tornado’s with XV(R) Squadron and 12(B) Squadron.
“Wiz has had a long and illustrious flying career,” his boss Wing Commander Simon Grapes said, adding: “He finishes with 4000 hours in Tornados and nearly 7500 overall – and that is quite a record.
“During his 37 years in the service he has given his all, particularly with his desire to impart his knowledge and wisdom to many junior aircrew.”
Squadron Leader Wilson was involved in one of the first operational missions of the 1991 Gulf War. He was in the back seat of one of two Lossiemouth Buccaneers that successfully attacked the As Suwaira road bridge in Iraq.
Carl’s pilot that day was Wing Commander (later Group Captain) Bill Cope, who recalled that the Buccaneer crews went to war in style, accommodated in a five-star hotel with en-suite facilities.
In a recent article for the RAF’s own website Group Captain Cope recalled how TV viewers in the UK were treated to the results of one mission in Iraq against Russian-built Cub transport aircraft: “The second Buccaneer – under the guidance of navigator Flt Lt Carl Wilson – also scored direct hits and TV viewers back in the UK were treated that night to the spectacle of the fully fuelled aircraft exploding in a ball of fire.”
Carl’s career also saw him in action over Afghanistan and Libya while he became an MBE in 2004.
The disbandment parade for 12(B) and 617 Squadron’s takes place at Lossiemouth today with the Duke of York taking the salute. The parade will include a flypast featuring various RAF and Royal Navy aircraft.