We regret to announce that Bill Jago of 73 Entry (B Sqn) passed away on 6 December 2022 following a long illness. After Chivenor in 1958, Bill was posted to 66 Sqn (Hunters) and then 111 Sqn (Lightnings). A Ground Tour on the Simulator at Leconfield was followed by a tour in Borneo, CFS and then RAFC Cranwell as OC 1 Sqn where he also led the Poachers Aerobatic Display Team (Jet Provosts).
After a secondment with the Kenyan Air Force and a Schools Liaison post, he left the RAF in 1974.
Bill then worked in Saudi Arabia and Jordan before joining McAlpine Aviation in Luton where he continued flying until retirement.
Chris Granville-White recalls:
One morning long ago in 1961, we flight cadets at Cranwell were on yet another morning parade outside the front of the college.
Suddenly there was tremendous roar and two almost simultaneous bangs from the reheat igniting in two Avon engines, as a Lightning came straight at the front of the parade at low level, then climbed vertically above us. This was certainly an impressive and exciting start to the day.
Later that morning we heard that the pilot was a young former flight cadet who had graduated a few years earlier. This was Flying Officer Jago who had been paying a dramatic flying visit to his old college. He was an immediate hero!
We never heard whether he was in trouble afterwards!
Some eight years later, after two overseas Hunter tours, I was posted back to Cranwell as a Jet Provost QFI. Having just escaped from the grind of the CFS instructors course, my arrival interview at Cranwell with
my new squadron commander Bill Jago was a wonderful breath of fresh air.
Bill’s greeting was “As you have a fighter background, I look to you to put some spirit into the flying of the students.” With this short arrival interview over, Bill then said “We need to fly your arrival dual - how are your formation aerobatics?!”
It was such a relief not to have to demonstrate some tedious basic flying exercise such as flying ‘straight and level’ or ‘climbing and descending’. As leader of The Poachers, Bill had one of the team (Geoff Timms) in readiness to lead.
And so, away we went for some formation “aeros”, and, after a couple of circuits to follow this was my Arrival Check completed!
During that first year as a flying instructor, before Bill was posted onwards at the end of his tour, he gave me the freedom to encourage spirited and enjoyable safe flying amongst the last of the flight cadet entries. I was so grateful to him.
It was only a few years ago that I met Bill again for the first time since those far-off days, at a reunion dinner. By then we were both retired from the RAF, and it was good to be able to thank him for such encouragement all those years ago.
With happy memories of a good man, who had the right ideas.
And from the CA Chairman:
Bill was a great supporter of our Association, attending virtually every Reunion Dinner and engaging in the banter in the bar afterwards.
I flew with him as a cadet and it was a memorable experience – although I confess to being slightly dizzy and exhausted afterwards!
A real gentleman and a true fighter pilot.