Planely a high spot of career
PUBLISHED: 15:07 15 March 2006 | UPDATED: 14:36 12 May 2010
LT Col Nick Richardson went out on a high when he left as commanding officer of the Army Training Regiment at Bassingbourn. To the strains of the Minden Band playing Wings, he was taken from the Sergeant's Mess and strapped into a privately-owned Bulldog
LT Col Nick Richardson went out on a high when he left as commanding officer of the Army Training Regiment at Bassingbourn. To the strains of the Minden Band playing Wings, he was taken from the Sergeant's Mess and strapped into a privately-owned Bulldog light aircraft piloted by former Bassingbourn platoon commander, Captain Johnny Nicholl. The aircraft taxied past the regiment lined up on either side of the runway and once in the air was joined by two other light aircraft as "wingmen". The group adopted an arrowhead formation in circling the airfield and then as the "wingmen" peeled away Lt Richardson's aircraft performed a low fly-past over the regiment. Lt Col Richardson said on his departure that he will miss working with the soldiers and staff of the regiment and the joy of seeing successful recruits passing out. He said: "Having served for nearly 20 years in the Army, I have yet to get up in the morning and not want to go to work. I am convinced that I have just the best job in the world." During his two-and-a-half years at Bassingbourn he has seen 2,700 recruits successfully complete their basic training culminating in 27 pass-off parades. Lt Col Richardson is proud of a letter he received from the grandfather of one recruit after a pass-off parade, who said: "The parade was the highlight of the day. The young men and women were immaculate in their dress uniforms, perfectly precise in all their drill movements and as they marched past for the salute they bristled with confidence and self-esteem, and the air was vibrant with the pride they exuded." It continued: "He left us as a boy just three short months ago, and now I watched my grandson march past a man." In his time at Bassingbourn, Lt Col Richardson placed a great emphasis on promoting links between the regiment - which train 16 and 17-year-old recruits - and the local community. Royston's mayor, Cllr Bill Prime, said of Lt Col Richardson: "He has been an inspiration with his tireless energy and enthusiasm. The town will miss him." Cllr Prime added: "We, too, are proud of the young soldiers produced by the unit and the valuable contribution made by the regiments to various local charities." Lt Col Richardson will be taking on a new job in media and corporate communications at the Ministry of Defence in London. His replacement will be Lt Col NDS Smith, who has spent the past two years working with the US Army and was previously a company commander at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.