Tue, Jun 14, 2022 4:00 PM
After a nearly 16-year career in the Royal Air Force (RAF), and 17 years with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), Warrant Officer Paul “Chads” Chadwick had a special feeling marching through London to honour Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne.
The former postman from Bradford, West Yorkshire, now lives in Blenheim and is based at RNZAF Base Woodbourne. With the RAF, he served in Iraq and met the Duke of Edinburgh in 1993.
Now, wearing a New Zealand uniform, he was part of the 40-strong New Zealand Defence Force contingent marching through central London as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant on Sunday. Around 2000 military personnel, including many from Commonwealth nations, took part.
“As a result of my service over 33 years, I have been on every continent, flown at 500ft over the North Pole, circumnavigated the Earth and visited 50-plus countries and protectorates.
“This pageant has been a surreal experience as an English-born person wearing an RNZAF uniform. As an ex-member of the RAF I did get quite emotional seeing the flypasts. It’s been amazing.”
As the contingent Warrant Officer, WO Chadwick has played a crucial role in organising the contingent’s trip to London.
“I have been trying to keep calm. This is a huge honour and we wanted to honour the Queen’s service as best we could.
“Service means everything to me. We are here to look after people who cannot defend themselves. Her Majesty deserves the utmost respect for her dedication to the role of service she was destined to fill.”