What are you doing now?
I am a commissioned officer in the Royal Air Force currently holding the rank of Group Captain.
What route did you take up to this point?
I joined the Royal Air Force in 1999 after completing my bachelor’s degree. The last 20 years have been hugely varied and exciting. I have had the pleasure of serving in command roles (in the operations, plans and intelligence environments), as a foreign exchange officer, and as aircrew.
During this time, I have completed multiple operational tours which have taken me all over the world, and I have been honoured to command at every rank. Academically, I hold two master’s degrees in Defence and Intelligence and Security. I now find myself a Fellow at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge undertaking a Master of Philosophy in Politics and International Relations.
Any significant crossroads?
Becoming an officer in the Royal Air Force was always my ambition, so it was a rather straight road. That said, attending DHSB was a significant stepping stone.
What have you learnt most about yourself?
A military career, and the various challenges it has placed before me, has made me realise that we are all capable of much more than perhaps we once thought.
What words of wisdom would you give to a student joining DHSB in Year 7?
Fly the aircraft by looking out of the window – don’t keep your head down in the cockpit fixated on the instrument panel. Enjoy the five or seven year ‘flight’ that is DHSB by making sure you lift your head up once in a while to enjoy the view.
And for a Sixth Former leaving DHSB?
Be confident in your own ability and chase down your dreams. Be sure to find your passion, something you love, before you dedicate your life to it. As Oscar Wilde said ‘To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist that is all’.
Any fond memories of school you can share?
Lots. English Literature with Clive Burrows (who was a dear family friend) was magical, and Chemistry lessons were always rather unpredictable!
Studies aside, I was fortunate enough to represent the school and county in a couple of sports and stocked up some wonderful memories wearing DHSB colours. My brother was also a DHSB pupil and we often reminisce.
Do you have a message for any of your teachers?
For those that inspired me I thank you. You have such a terrifically important job and do it exceptionally well.