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Graeme Alan "Black" Robertson CBE



Air Marshal ‘Black’ Robertson joined the Royal Air Force in 1963, instantly acquiring the nickname that has remained with him ever since. After spending three years at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell, and completing advanced flying training on the Gnat, he began his operational career in Bahrain flying Hunters in the day fighter ground/attack role.


In 1970 he began an association with the Phantom that lasted more than twenty years. He flew the aircraft first in the ground attack role, as a Qualified Weapons Instructor, then on an exchange tour with the United States Air Force in Arizona, and finally in the air defence role. In this latter role, from 1982 to 1984 he commanded No 92 Squadron in Germany and then, for a short time, No 23 Squadron in the Falkland Islands. Thereafter he commanded Royal Air Force Wattisham from 1985 to 1987, where he was also an Aide de Camp to Her Majesty The Queen.


Air Marshal Robertson’s ground tours included a number in the Ministry of Defence in both the Air Staff and the Central Staff. As Director of Defence Programmes and, later, as Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Programmes) he was closely involved in both the Options for Change and Defence Costs Study exercises.


He was the last Deputy Commander in Chief Royal Air Force Germany and, on the demise of the Service’s last overseas Command, in 1993 he became Air Officer Commanding No 2 Group. His final tour was as Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander in Chief Strike Command, when he was also Director of the Franco-British European Air Group (precursor of the European Air Group); he retired from the Royal Air Force in December 1998. During his time in the Service he flew all the Royal Air Force’s front line aircraft types and also qualified as a helicopter pilot.


The Air Marshal is a graduate of the Royal Air Force Staff College, the Royal College of Defence Studies and the Open University. He was appointed Honorary Colonel of 77 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers) in 1996 until the Regiment’s disbandment early in 1999; he is also a Freeman of the City of London.


Air Marshal Robertson was awarded The Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air in 1973, made an officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1985 and a Commander of the same Order in 1988. He retired in 1998 and lives in Gloucestershire.

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