John Peters (RAF officer)

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Squadron Leader John Peters (born 1961) is a former pilot of the Royal Air Force.

Early life[edit]

He attended the independent Churcher's College in east Hampshire, leaving in 1980.

By the age of 17, he had his pilot's licence. He attended the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (commonly known as UMIST, now part of the University of Manchester since 2004), gaining a BSc in Building Technology in 1983. He was an RAF university cadet, joining the RAF in 1980, training at RAF Woodvale with the Manchester and Salford University Air Squadron. He later graduated with an MBA from the University of Leicester.


After his RAF training, he was based at RAF Chivenor and RAF Lossiemouth.

He became a staff pilot in 1987 at the Air Navigation School (ANS) of No. 6 Flying Training School at RAF Finningley. In 1988, he moved to XV Squadron at RAF Laarbruch after converting to the Tornado GR1 when a Flight Lieutenant.

Gulf War[edit]

On his first mission during Operation Desert Storm, when aged 29, an ultra-low level daylight mission on Ar Rumaylah airfield, while acting as number two to Squadron Leader Paul "Pablo" Mason, his Panavia Tornado ZD 791 of XV Squadron was hit at fifty feet by a shoulder-launched SAM SA-14, and he was captured by the military of Iraq.[1] After capture he was shown, bruised and apparently beaten, on television.[2]

He received around 25,000 letters from well-wishers following the appearance. He said that he was "treated very specially" as a result of his experiences and found it difficult to live up to the image the public had of him.[3] At the end of the war, he was released and returned to the RAF for a further ten years.


Having been at RAF Brüggen, he moved to RAF Cottesmore (then in Leicestershire) in 1993, becoming an instructor on the TTTE. He graduated with an MBA from the University of Leicester Management Centre, with his dissertation being The Challenge of Change in the Royal Air Force[citation needed].

He became a Squadron Leader in 1997, moving to Turkey, and left the RAF after 18 years.


Following repatriation by the Red Cross, Peters co-authored a book, Tornado Down, with his navigator, John Nichol. As of 2009 he works as a motivational speaker, often at university management schools.[citation needed]He is a practitioner of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). He has also worked as a representative of the Association of MBAs.

Since 1999, he has been a partner of UPH Ltd.

Personal life[edit]

He married Helen and has two children. His son Guy, who is to be commissioned into the Royal Tank Regiment, won the Queen's Medal (awarded to the Officer Cadet gaining the highest score in military, practical and academic subjects) at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2014.[4] The family live in Worcestershire near Bromsgrove. When at Cottesmore, and studying at the University of Leicester, Peters lived in Rutland.[5]


External links[edit]

News items[edit]