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RAF Wittering aircraft engineer Ian Coates retires after 40 years' service

Forty years of unbroken service to queen and country came to an end when Warrant Officer Ian Coates retired from regular Royal Air Force duties.

An aircraft engineer, Ian joined the RAF in 1980 at the age of 17 and since then he has seen service at home and abroad, notably in the former Yugoslavia and at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, as well as working on the iconic Harrier, Jaguar and Tornado aircraft.

Ian, who lives just outside Oakham, said: “It’s odd to think that the Royal Air Force has been around for a hundred years, and that my career has amounted to nearly 40 per cent of that time. I’ve been really fortunate to have worked with some wonderful people and been to amazing places; hopefully I’ve made a difference too.”

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