Clive’s flying high with the air force

Chief: Clive Martland, who is the most senior airman in the country.
Chief: Clive Martland, who is the most senior airman in the country.
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A Preston serviceman has been appointed as the most senior airman in the country.

Former Fulwood High pupil Clive Martland has been made The Chief of the Air Staff’s Warrant Officer (CASWO), the senior warrant officer of the Royal Air Force.

His job is to advise the Chief of the Air Staff on matters concerning airmen and airwoman of the RAF, including speaking to them about discipline, military ethos and morals, as well as representing them on the airforce board.

He joined the RAF aged 17 in January 1986, having spent a year at Tuson College.

He said: “Sport was my big passion so I either wanted to be a PE teacher, or be a PTI (Physical Training Instructor) in the forces.

“At that time the RAF was the only service where you could join directly as a PTI, so that’s what I went for.”

He specialised as an Exercise Rehabilitation Instructor (ERI) and served in Cyprus before being assigned to the Defence Medicine Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) Headley Court, where he would serve the first of three tours.

He said: “It was a hugely rewarding job. Some of the guys we’re saving now due to medical advances wouldn’t have made it years ago.

“Prosethetics have moved on significantly, and we get double and triple amputees with serious injuries and they face difficult challenges.

“But although they might leave the service, but they don’t leave the service family.”

Promoted to Sergeant in May 1997, he enjoyed assignments to the Military Corrective Training Centre Colchester and then as the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer PEd Flt at RAF Shawbury; during this latter assignment he completed a tour of the Falkland Islands.

In October 2012 he was assigned to the position of Senior Warrant Officer at RAF Brize Norton, the biggest airforce unit in the UK. As the senior airman on the station he played a key role in all royal and ministerial visits, as well as ceremonial events including repatriations.

Speaking about the repatriations, he said: “It was a hugely rewarding and privileged part of my job.

“It was something that everybody did and got on with, but we wanted to make sure it was right. When one of our own is coming back, they need to come back in the appropriate manner.”

Although Clive, 46, is now based in High Wickham, Buckinghamshire, he returns regularly to the Preston area to visit his two sons, siblings and parents still living in the area.

He added: “I’ve loved every minute of it, it’s been outstanding.

“The job as a PTI has been very rewarding and I would recommend the air force to anyone considering it.”