Cliff Spink

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Clifford Rodney Spink
Born (1946-05-17) 17 May 1946 (age 70)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Air Force
Rank Air Marshal
Commands held No. 11/18 Group
Royal Observer Corps
RAF Mount Pleasant
RAF Coningsby
No. 74 Squadron
Battles/wars Gulf War
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Other work President Historic Aircraft Association
Honorary President Royal Observer Corps Association
Vice-Patron RAF Halton Apprentices Association (Old Haltonians)

Air Marshal Clifford Rodney Spink, CB, CBE, FCMI, FRAeS (born 17 May 1946) is a retired senior Royal Air Force officer, who is now a Spitfire display pilot on the national air display circuit. The first Spitfire he ever flew belonged to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, during his tenure as Station Commander of RAF Coningsby. He also served as the 23rd Commandant of the Royal Observer Corps, the last but one officer to hold the post.

Royal Air Force career[edit]

Spink joined the Royal Air Force in the spring of 1963 as an aircraft apprentice of 104th entry, No. 1 School of Technical Training at RAF Halton. On passing out of Halton, in the spring of 1966, in the rank of Sgt Aircraft Apprentice, he was granted a flying commission at the RAF College Cranwell, and initially learned to fly on the Jet Provost.[1] Later training took place on the Gnat and the Hunter, before Spink was posted to his first productive tour on No. 111 Squadron flying the Lightning.[1] Spink was later posted to No. 56 Squadron in Cyprus before returning to No. 111 Squadron.[1] Spink served as the Commanding Officer of No. 74 Squadron before being posted to the South Atlantic in 1989 as the Officer Commanding RAF Mount Pleasant on the British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands.[1] In 1990 Spink underwent conversion training to the Tornado before becoming Station Commander at RAF Coningsby.[1] In 1991 Spink served as the RAF's Tornado Detachment Commander during the first Gulf War.[1] After attending the Royal College of Defence Studies, he became Senior Air Staff Officer of No. 11 Group in March 1993, Chief of Staff of No. 18 Group in 1995[2] and Air Officer Commanding No. 11/18 Group in 1996.[3]

Spink also served as the last but one Commandant of the Royal Observer Corps, from 1993 until 1995.[4] Spink remains the honorary President of the Royal Observer Corps Association.[2] He is a Vice-Patron of the Royal Air Force Halton Apprentices Association Old Haltonians.[5]

Since the RAF[edit]

He currently flies a restored Spitfire XVIe TD248. This is a former "gate guardian" from RAF Sealand which was rebuilt by Historic Flying Ltd. about 15 years ago. It initially appeared in a post war No. 41 Squadron colour scheme but it has recently been repainted in wartime colours with the personal markings 'CR-S'.[2] Since retiring from the RAF he has formed his own Company ("Spitfire Limited" dealing in a range of Aviation interests.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Cliff Spink CBE". Boult bee flight academy. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Profile of the new master=Air Marshal Chris Spink" (PDF). Air Pilots. p. 9. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Groups 10–19". Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "Units directly responsible to Ministry level". Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "Triennial Registration Form" (PDF). Royal Air Force Halton Apprentices Association. Retrieved 23 November 2016. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Michael Donaldson
Commandant Royal Observer Corps
Succeeded by
Martin Widdowson
New title
Group formed on merger of No. 11 Group and No. 18 Group
Air Officer Commanding No. 11/18 Group
Succeeded by
Brian Burridge
Other offices
Preceded by
Owen Epton
Master of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators
Succeeded by
Tudor Owen