'A skilled pilot who inspired a top squadron' Praise for brave flier who saved fighter jet.
A FORMER colleague of a Birmingham pilot who bravely saved a Phantom jet from destruction has spoken of how he was an extremely skilled flier.
The Mail revealed last week how Lieutenant Commander Peter Marshall, who has died aged 82, managed to land the aircraft after it suffered engine failure.
Lt Cmdr Marshall flew 'blind' with his screen covered in hydraulic fluid after part of his nose cone fell off and caused major damage to one of the Phantom's engines on a training flight in December, 1969.
The father of ten from Sutton Coldfield, who went to Bishop Vesey's Grammar School, was awarded the Air Force Cross for getting the plane back to base safely.
Lt Cmdr Marshall commanded 767 Fleet Air Arm squadron which had the task of converting naval aircrew and also RAF aircrew to the then brand new F4K Phantom.
His colleague Commander Peter Rickard explained that Lt Cmdr Marshall had played a key role in training aircrews for the new fleet of aircraft, but had grown frustrated over lack of promotion opportunities, leading to him transferring to Australia's air force.
He said: "Very skilled as a pilot he was also a very nice, pleasant and friendly person who thus ran a friendly, pleasant and very efficient squadron.
"It was probably his goodly nature that caused him to be sidelined for promotion, certainly not due to the efficiency with which he ran things. He was let down and should have moved up the promotion ladder. Just too nice a person probably.
"I flew with Peter nearly a dozen times and enjoyed his quiet, proficient expertise. He had considerable piloting experience."
Lt Cmdr Marshall joined the Australian air force, and his family migrated with him.
Cmdr Rickard also remembered that his friend's large family was also organised along military lines: "We were all amused to note he had set up duty rosters for washing up, drying up, putting away the dishes etc.
"The Australians were lucky to have him."
Lt Cmdr Peter Marshall at 767 Squadron with his wife Carolyn and their children (from left) Richard (aged 4), Melanie (6), Christopher (11), Kathryn (14 months), Kirstie (10), Sally (8), Carl (9) and Ginny (3) in 1969.
Peter Marshall with his four-year-old son Richard in 1968.