‘MY RAF career set me up for life’, says a former Detective Inspector.
Martin Shuker served in the air force for 12 years before joining Hampshire Constabulary.
The 70-year-old spent five years based at Thorney Island with 242 Operational Conversion Unit as an airframe technician.
Working on the C-130 Hercules, Martin said it was one of the best times of his life.
He said: ‘It was like being in Butlins, especially on Thorney Island. We were young lads all together. It was fantastic.’
Time on camp forged friendships that endure today, with the squadmates still meeting up for regular reunions.
Martin said: ‘Looking back on it I realise what a great impact it had on me. My time in the RAF set me up for life.
‘It was a fantastic time. I was doing a job I really enjoyed. We travelled and we were all in it together.
‘There was a band of camaraderie and friendship you couldn’t get anywhere else – I have still got friends today that I had in 1968 on Thorney Island.’
Martin retired from the air force as a Sergeant having worked on Harriers and Lightning fighter jets. He joined Hampshire Police aged 30, where he stayed for 25 years.
‘I went from aircraft engineering to chasing criminals all day – I loved it,’ he said. ‘Being in the police was very similar to the RAF. It was a very closely-knit community.’
Soon he joined CID, becoming a Detective Constable and later a Detective Sergeant before finishing as a DI based at Fratton CID.
His career saw him cracking murders and working with the regional crime squad and major crime team before retiring in 2002.
He now volunteers at Tangmere Military Aviation Museum and lives in Ferring, near Worthing.