Former Doncaster RAF pilot pens life story with debut book at age of 88
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Doncaster’s Peter Pascoe has spent the past two years writing his book 25 Years Flying in The Royal Air Force: National Service and Beyond, chronicling his life in the skies.
At the age of 88, he simply wants to leave a legacy of his life of over 25 years serving in the RAF.
Mr Pascoe said: “It’s a legacy of what one person did out of the ordinary in the Royal Air Force.
"I served in the air force for a very interesting period of its existence really, the beginning of the Cold War until they gave up using helicopters for helicopter rescue.”
Mr Pascoe had many different roles throughout his time in the RAF as he was a guided weapons specialist, flew all over the world working on search and rescue helicopters and ran a station in Northumberland, adding up to be an interesting read.
He said: “I took part in 120 rescue missions in helicopters and a lot of that look place in Yorkshire. I also did a huge amount of rescue work in the Far East, so it includes details from logbooks of every operation. The more interesting operations I have written stories about.”
Although the book is full of factual information about planes including how to fly the Tiger Moth and the first jet fighters, it is also his life story and has details about his time off riding motorbikes and going to village dances.
Mr Pascoe said: “It starts off before the Air Force days and my experience living through World War II as a child. I can remember back to when I was about three years old. Then I
was conscripted into the Air Force aged eighteen to do national service.
“I was sort of like a boy from the countryside who knew nothing whatsoever about flying or the Air Force, so it explains all about that.”
When it came to writing the book, Peter said that he did it because, “I knew I’d had an interesting life. There were friends and family who said to me, look, you ought to write this
down as a legacy. So that’s what I have done.”
The book tells various tales from supporting the army during the Indonesian war against Malaysia to being awarded with both the Air Force Cross and a Queen’s Commendation for
valuable service in the Air.
It includes a humorous anecdote of meeting Her Majesty the Queen for the second time: “It just came out my mouth and I said, ‘We have met before, but I don’t suppose you
remember’. She laughed and said, ‘One might you know’. It broke the ice and we chatted for ten minutes.
“She was ever so knowledgeable about helicopter rescue. We talked about what she was doing as she had been to Canada. We had a really amazing conversation just me and her.”
Mr Pascoe classes himself as a Doncaster man as his family’s home was in the city the entire time he was working away, and he has lived in Doncaster since 1960.
Therefore, the book also has local points of interest such as a photograph of a helicopter coming into land at the Doncaster Royal Infirmary prior to the landing site being built on.
It is being stocked locally at the South Yorkshire Air Museum, Doncaster Library, Doncaster Tourist Information and Walker’s Nurseries. However, Mr Pascoe aims to get it in major air museums across the country.
Peter said: “The reaction I am getting from local people who have read it say they found it very interesting and very readable.”
This upcoming weekend, the South Yorkshire Air Museum are putting on a combined book signing with two authors of a book about the history of the Battle of Cambrai and Mr Pascoe himself.
Mr Pascoe is excited about the book signing and shared his interest in South Yorkshire Air Museum: “They have two Whirlwind HAR10 helicopters in the air museum in Doncaster, one of them I have flown in countless times including doing a huge rescue operation picking up around fifty people out of snow drifts.”