Airborne Engineers Association

Philip Dunkley

 

 

Philip Dunkley

 

Phil was born in Coalville, Leicestershire 1939. He was educated at Ivanhoe School in Ashby 1944 to 52 then on to Bagshot, Surrey 1952 to 54.

Coming from a long line of military men it came as no surprise when he told his mother he wanted to join the army. In 1954 he joined the army apprentice school in Harrogate where he made the rank of C.S.M then into man service and on to the Royal Engineers training Regt at Cove in February 1957.

His first overseas posting was to Christmas Island where they were carrying out the atom bomb tests.

On his return to the UK he volunteered for Parachute training and not only passing `P' Company, but set a new record time for the assault course. On completion of parachute training he joined 9th Indep Para Sqn R.E. at Morval Bks in Cove in 1959. During his time in the Sqn he saw service in Kuwait and Bahrain and saw active service in the Radfan Mountains of Oman. He left the Sqn in Haig Lines Crookham in 1969 as S/Sgt. Of the many tales he would tell one comes to mind. He said he never minded going on exercise with 'Lofty' Gallagher as he was such a big man he would take a normal sized shovel replacing the airborne one making digging in a piece of cake when paired off with him. Lofty went on to 22 SAS where he lost his life during the Falkland's conflict. He told me of the time when parachuting when he broke both ankles. He could not move and the heavy drop was coming in next. He managed to shout to Harry Lockwood who carried him off the D.Z. Of the officers that he served under he would say that the best was General Sir Anthony Farrah Hockley (Farrah the Para, as he was known) said of 9 Sqn, "The best small unit in the British Army"

Phil was commissioned in May 1979 and later went on to complete a commando course at the age of 42 and was awarded the C.D.O. medal.
Phil retired in 1993 with the rank of Lt Col (Q.M). Phil had a no nonsense, realistic and disciplined approach to things with each day having great purpose. He worked hard, played by life's rules and respected those who did the same. He deplored the lowering of standards and erosion of every day structures and values that he saw as the fabric of a strong society; the family; the constitution; work ethic and so on; in the truth a justified intolerance. With great credibility, he epitomised a level of personal standards that we are in danger of losing.

After leaving the army he bought a house in Abergavenny where he loved to roam the countryside with his dog. Until his illness got the better of him he was still using the gym three to four times a week.

He was diagnosed with bone cancer November 2009, which his doctors associate with the atom bomb tests back in 1957.

His loving wife Liz, son Paul, daughter Diana and brother Paul survive Phil.

 

 

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