Commander Tim Hildesley OBE RN
Bradford House1956 - 1962
I was educated at KHS between 1956 - 1962 (Plymouth and Bradford) during the period of EC Cooper, Frank Meerendonk, David Wetherall, Harry Wilkinson, Basil Benson and their like and I was given the opportunity to develop both my intellect as well as more general skills necessary to take my place in the world. I had the start that I needed and have gone on in life with the essentials, so well taught, as the mainstay of my code of living.
I joined the Royal Navy and went to Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in 1964 and on graduation was appointed to ships in the Far East during Indonesian Confrontation. That set the pattern of my life and as a warfare specialist and a minewarfare and clearance diving officer, I seem to have been involved in almost every operation that the Navy has been involved in until recently. For the record that means, the Suez Canal mine clearance in 1972, the 1982 Falklands War, the 1984 Red Sea mine clearance, the 1987 Tanker War mine clearance, the first Gulf War in 1990 as well as more routine periods patrolling off the UK coast clearing WW2 explosives, countering illegal fishing, drugs and arms smuggling. I have been fortunate in winning three periods of ship command and two commands of squadrons as well as appointments in the MOD and Naval Headquarters. My operational awards include an MBE for my contribution to the Red Sea mine clearance operation and an OBE for my work as NATO's Commander Standing Naval Force Channel. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time!
Apart from a wide ranging professional career which has taken me to many parts of the world, the Navy has caused us to live in Hong Kong, the United States, Scotland, Barbados and Belgium, as well as periods in our home in Portsmouth, so we have experienced different lifestyles and a range of cultures. Jill my wife and our children have enjoyed the variety of our life and relished the challenges that it has brought.
It's quite hard to encompass the events over such a span of time in a few short paragraphs so to keep the above in perspective one must recognise that I have been on Active Service in the Navy for 35 years, Reserve Service for 3 years and worked for the Navy as a Civil Servant for 6 years. It also serves to illustrate that life in the Armed Forces remains varied and interesting and that it suits a certain type of person.
I have always felt grateful to those who kept me on the straight and narrow during my early formative years. It was after all, broad spectrum KHS that got me into the Navy in the first place.