Bob Ankerson visited Chalgrove to watch an ejection test from one of the Martin-Baker Meteor aircraft, he didn’t manage to get any pictures when he used a MK10 on the 24th January 1991 over Iraq! He was a navigator in the RAF for 34 years, flying Vulcans and Tornado GR1 and while serving on 17(F) Squadron at RAF Bruggen, he deployed to Saudi Arabia in January 1991 and flew in the first Gulf War. On the first mission across the border, he ejected from a burning GR1 Tornado, was captured by Iraqi forces and was a prisoner of war until released into the care of the International Red Cross on 5th March 1991. Most of the time in captivity was in solitary, with limited food, so his weight on the way home was significantly less than when deployed straight after excesses of Christmas and New Year. On returning to RAF Bruggen he was invited to join the Royal Air Forces ex-Prisoners of War Association and after a few years membership he became a committee member. Later on he became further involved as a trustee of the Larry Slattery Memorial Fund and the Association’s own charitable fund.
After viewing the test ejection there was the opportunity to take a short flight with our Meteor pilot, Andy Gent in a Pitts Special. It had been some time since Bob and Andy had flown together. Another significant flight they shared was on the 19th February 1990 when they flew a low level sortie in Northern Germany in a Tornado ZA 403, this ended up in the desert on 24th January 1991 as a heap of scrap at 3033N 04708E after seat Number 1031 had saved Simon Burgess and seat number 1075 had saved Bob Ankerson. Bob has said that every day since is a bonus, and he & Chris Ankerson say thanks to all at Martin-Baker every time they go around the M25 and see the factory.