The History of the Air Engineer
by Flt Lt Derek Stringman
I first met Derek, a fellow Sergeant when I joined 30 Squadron at RAF Lyneham in January 1975. I remember a very intense slim young man with a somewhat introverted manner and some serious eyebrows! He was of course a couple of years ahead and experienced, as in those days all the squadrons did Tactical Support as well as route flying.
Derek left 30 shortly afterwards in pursuit of a Commission. We met again when I joined 6FTS, Applied Flight in 1982 where, if I recall correctly, Flying Officer Derek Stringman was Fran Hopkins’ deputy. This book was well in hand by then and I believe it was around this time Derek was unfortunately diagnosed with his terminal illness. He wanted his legacy to be shared and he gave each of us a copy, my original sits proudly in my main bookcase.
In 2013, within the FEAEA, the subject of the book re-emerged and as I was working with BAE Systems Technical Publications and since there is no concern over copyright, I had the book digitised by a friend who had access to some quite sophisticated equipment. The result is this digital copy you have access to.
Irony of ironies on page 96 is Hercules XV179 . . . . On 30 January 2005, this frame was destroyed in Iraq and we lost M. Eng Gary Nicholson, a larger than life character. Particularly sad as I’d trained him at Finningley and served on 47 Squadron with him.
This unique volume is a tribute to a first class aircrew trade forged of necessity and an author who had the fortitude and dedication to plough through the detail contained within.
Thank you Derek, RIP chum.
MEng Brian W May
Clicking on the image below will open the file in .pdf format which can be transferred to a Kindle using the Send to Kindle software.
The book is also available in a number of common e-book formats here:
A month after producing this page the association was contacted by Derek’s daughter Louise Skelley. She remembers clearly her father working on the book and was delighted that it lives on with a wider audience. She also passed on the following photos of her father.