Almost 39 years of unbroken service to the RAF came to an end when Warrant Officer Steve Poulton set off for retirement.
RAF Wittering is headquarters to the specialist engineering and logistics squadrons of the RAF A4 Force. Mr Poulton retires from the post of A4 Force and Force Headquarters (FHQ) Warrant Officer - the most senior position in the A4 Force a non-commissioned officer can reach.
After basic training at RAF Swinderby, Steve trained as a logistics supplier and his career has taken him to many of the RAF’s most famous stations, including Brampton, Wyton, Aldegrove, Leeming and Leuchars. But it is RAF Wittering for which he has the most affection.
He said: “It’s like being at home. Wittering is the most welcoming station in the Royal Air Force that I’ve ever been posted to.”
Mr Poulton served as Station Warrant Officer at Royal Air Force Wittering for five years and was responsible for the maintenance of discipline and standards, effectively the Station Commander’s eyes and ears.
In 2014 he returned to take up the post of A4 Force and FHQ Warrant Officer. Mr Poulton has been a vital contributor to the welfare of junior ranks and, as a STEM Ambassador, encouraged young people to take up science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.
Squadron Leader Beverley Cartwright is a senior logistic officer in FHQ and Mr Poulton’s line manager. She said: “As the A4 Force and A4 Force Headquarters Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer Poulton has held a unique and highly demanding position. Throughout his long and distinguished career he has served with humility and loyalty.
“Within the A4 Force HQ and wider on the station and in the RAF he will be sorely missed. We all wish him well for his future and thank him for his long and dedicated service.”
As is customary for a retiring Warrant Officer, Mr Poulton was given a tour of the station and presented with the black bowler hat and umbrella as a sign that he is entering ‘civvy street’.
Group Captain Tony Keeling is the station commander at RAF Wittering and head of the A4 Force.
He said: “Doing your job is one thing, but Steve has taken it upon himself to play an active role in the teaching of STEM subjects and been a career mentor for many of our junior ranks. I think if anybody deserves a long and happy retirement and sincere thanks, it is our Mr Poulton.”