A.R. Gleadow (52-54)
Lt. Cdr. Andrew Gleadow RN (52-54) died on 22nd October 2017 after a painful illness bravely borne – he was ten days short of his 79th birthday. He leaves a widow Marion. His friend Peter King wrote the following obituary in Fly Navy, the journal of the Fleet Air Arm Officers’ Association:
“Andrew left Pangbourne and joined the Royal Navy as a 16-year old ‘Dart Entry’ in 1955 and joined St. Vincent House. He specialized in Engineering and moved on to the Navy’s Engineering College at Manadon in the late-1950s. In those days steam was the source of all power in the RN and to gain his charge certificate, he joined a BAY class sloop in Hong Kong. After his boiler bricks fell down when the ship hit the jetty rather hard, it is believed that Andrew decided that Air Engineering was a safer (and probably cleaner) option. So after selection for Maintenance Test Pilot Training, it was necessary for him to complete an operational tour on the4 aircraft on which he would be mainly employed. He was appointed to RNAS Lossiemouth for the Naval Air Strike School in 1963.
Successful completion of Operational Flying Training on the Buccaneer, led to an appointment to 800 NAS (Naval Air Squadron) in HMS Eagle, then deployed in the Far East. 800 NAS won the coveted Australia Shield in 1965 for ‘Achievement of the Highest Operational Readiness and for the development of the aircraft’s Ground Attack System.’ Andrew and I were crewed up in NAS 800 and we were to fly together for the next few months, ending with a spectacular ditching in the South China Sea when XN958 was recovering to Eagle after the ship and Air Group were scrambled from the depths of an AMP in Singapore for the first Beira Patrol (off Mozambqiue, following Rhodesia’s unliateral declaration of independence in 1965). Several sets of golf clubs and a load of aircrew baggage entered the water with this aircraft which did nothing for our popularity within the Squadron! Andrew went on to enjoy a very successful appointment at Lossiemouth as the Station Maintenance Test Pilot. After the CVA-01 decision sent the fixed wing Fleet Air Arm into near-terminal decline, he took early retirement.
[A spectacular ditching in the South China Sea seen from HMS Eagle]
Securing his Civil Pilot’s Licences, he joined several other ‘refugees’ from Lossiemouth and spent many happy years flying for Peregrine Air Services out of Inverness Airport. Settling in Nairn with his new wife Marion, they raised three children and maintained a legendary level of hospitality. When Andrew’s time with Peregrine was over, the family moved south to Chawton and he enjoyed a very successful career with Air Claims, an aviation underwriting company, until he retired in 2005 to tend his very productive garden. The word ‘enjoy’ is, appropriately, repeated many times in this story of Andrew’s life.”
[The same issue, Vol 45 No. 1, of Fly Navy also carries the reprint of an article by Andrew Gleadow, Flight Deck Yarns, first published in Marine Quarterly in 2015]