Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour



David (Jed) John Stone 11th August 1952 - 14th March 2022

By Dick Merry & Carl Rhodes

It was a cold and misty March morning when four of us stood outside Kingsdown Crematorium, Swindon with David’s wife Debbie, daughter Jens, brothers and sister. We’d come to say farewell to our old mate Jed, as he was better known to us all. Not only had Jed passed selection with us nearly 50 years earlier but in the words of the regimental collect, he had to go further:

We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further: it may be 
Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow, 
Across that angry or that glimmering sea, 

Service in the regiment in 1977 had left him paralysed from the waist down at the age of 25. Such was his character that the former member of mountain troop D Sqn, went that little further and never dwelt on his change in circumstances. 

Jed was born in Taunton in 1952, the eldest of four brothers and a sister. Jed later moved to Culmstock, from there he attended the local secondary school where he was marked out by his academic excellence. It was the out of doors though that Jed loved and so he joined the school’s army cadet force.  On Saturday mornings he regularly cycled miles to visit a local army museum. With his roots firmly established in the army it was not unsurprising this led him to leave school at 15 and join the Army Apprentices College at Chepstow in 1968.  His former head master  came to visit Jed’s parents and remonstrated with them, that he was too clever for the Army and should pursue an academic career.

Whilst at Chepstow he was a member of the gymnastic team and played hockey and badminton.  It was sometime during this period that he was given his nick name Jed, after the leading character Jed Stone in the hit TV series, Coronation Street.  As soon as he was old enough he bought a Greaves 380CC Griffin Motor Cross Bike which he rode fearlessly.  Ironically it was Bert Greaves who after WW2 made the first car, Invacar for disabled veterans,  before branching out into motorbikes. After qualifying as an electrician at Chepstow he left the army in 1970 for six months, working as an electrician in Cirencester. He then rejoined the Royal Engineers doing P Coy in 1971 and joined 9 Sqn. During his time in 9 Sqn he served on a UN tour in Cyprus 1973, two tours in Northern Ireland 1973 and 74 and road construction task in Hong Kong.

In August 1975 along with three other members of 9 Sqn Jed took SAS Selection which he passed. He then flew out to join D Sqn on Op Storm, along with several other men from the same selection course. He joined Bernie Greens Mountain troop in Taqah. This was the adventure he had joined for and he was in his element. He had a passion for climbing and would no doubt have been on one of the Everest expiditions to come. These were busy times for the regiment and no sooner was the Squadron back in Hereford than Jim Callahan took a hand directing their deployment to South Armagh, Op Contravine. A very different theater than the Dhofar trip but one that he was well familiar with. Not long after returning from this tour he was away again on what was to be his last operational tour Op Overjoy. It was here in Central America that he was involved in an RTA whilst driving a LandRover, breaking his back in May 1977. This lead to him being flown by private plane to Miami Florida, USA. accompanied by surgeon Dr Barth Green. Once there he received surgery and rehabilitation, receiving particular attention from an American nurse Deb.  Six weeks later he was flown back to the UK, where he entered the army’s main orthopaedic hospital, The Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital at Woolwich for a further rehabilitation. Here the physio was particularly brutal, Jed was left on the gym floor and told somehow/anyhow to get himself into his wheelchair, no easy task, let alone when your 6’4” tall.  He later sent Deb a plane ticket to fly to the UK, she arrived in March 1978 and on 27th July they were married. At this time Jed was now one of four men in the regiment left paralysed from the waist down, Tony Fleming from Op Storm, Joe Lock and  Jimmy Joint also being victims of an RTA.

Jed left  the army later in 1977 closing the door firmly behind him and having little to do with the regiment, although he maintained contact with several of his closer mates. Jed took to his new life, not seeing himself as disabled or it being a barrier to living life to the full.  Instead of army life he rebuilt a new life around his wife, parents and brothers and sister. 

In 1979 Jed was placed on a retraining course at St Loye’s College in Exeter doing Electronics and his daughter Jen was born on 27th March 1979.  In 1980 he started working as an electronic test Technician servicing British Airways radio equipment.  Within a year he had secured a post as Electronic Technician at The Royal Military College of Science (RMCS), Shrivenham.  Now Jed’s full academic ability was realised as he firstly gained an HNC in Electronic Engineering at Swindon College, 1983-1985. This he upgraded to a Degree in Electrical Engineering at Bristol Poly 1985-89, whilst still working at RMCS, now as a Teaching Associate. Finally he achieved a Masters Degree in Distributed Systems, 1994-96 at Oxford Brooke’s University. Jed now lectured at RMCS amongst other things in Computer Architecture,  Network design, Digital Systems Designs and Electronics where he worked for over 20 years.

Jed was not done yet. He now ventured into private industry with his family. They set up a field marketing company, Infinite Ltd, where he was in charge of the IT side of things. Jed continued to be involved until 2015.

Throughout his working life Jed pursued a passion for off road driving starting of in Bala, North Wales before taking his family to Morocco to further test his driving ability. His off-roading was with hand controls - so no mean feat! He loved nothing more than driving a vehicle on a single track road on the side of a mountain, and giving the his family heart failure. He had absolutely no fear!
The family travelled extensively making multiple trips to visit student friends from Shrivenham in Egypt, as well as other middle eastern countries. The Far East, Australia and America as well as most of Europe all were visited. During these adventures he took the opportunity to photograph and record the sights he saw. A passion he cherished throughout his life.

An exceptional individual who battled adversity and achieved more than most. Even and despite being disabled.



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