Flt Lt Anthony Terrance “Magoo” McGlone

Flt Lt “Magoo”’s wife, Ruth, writes a moving tribute to her husband Tony, who sadly passed away last year.

Tony McGlone joined the RAF in November 1985 following a childhood ambition to fly. When he had a careers interview at school aged 15, he told them he didn’t want any advice as he had his life mapped out – “join the RAF and fly fast jets.” After joining the ATC in his teens Tony even managed to fly solo and gain a PPL before he could drive! After IOT at Cranwell Tony initially went to Pilot Training and flew solo at RAF Church Fenton, before being reselected as a Navigator in 1987.

Alongside his passion for flying he was the life and soul of any party, enjoying the life after hours, and his friendships with colleagues nearly as much as the flying. He made many friends along the way and lived his life in the vain of “work hard – play hard.” Many have commented on the fact that Tony may have partied hard but when it came to operational flying he was always a professional in the air.

Squadron life was something Tony relished and managed to avoid a ground tour on many postings! During his time flying on the Tornado Tony managed to be posted to most of the Germany and Marham squadrons notching up seven consecutive flying tours:

• XV Sqn RAF Laarbruch
IX (B) Sqn RAF Bruggen
156 Sqn IAF Gioia Del Colle
• 17(F) Sqn RAF Bruggen
55 Sqn – LLTS RAFC Cranwell
• IX (B) Sqn RAF Marham
31 Sqn RAF Marham

Joining his first Sqn in 1990 and at aged 25, Tony was the most junior XV Sqn Navigator who went to Muharraq in the November. He subsequently became one of the youngest officers to fly in Gulf War 1, flying 19 missions; something he was proud and privileged to have been part of.

Tony and I loved being in Germany, the camaraderie was fantastic, good times and many parties remain memories of the time we had abroad. Travelling to Italy was a true experience, both of us learning the language – not always very well. While we were posted to Gioia with the IAF it coincided with the RAF detachment of F3s and Jaguars also based at Gioia. There was always an open door for RAF personnel in our very small flat and many a Friday night we had a curry and beers for the squadron who were away from home and even helped them organise their Christmas dinner in the hotel, trying to explain in Italian what Turkey with stuffing was all about!

Operations took Tony away from home on many occasions; he returned to the Gulf many times, but he particularly loved Red Flag for the flying. We learnt not to depend on return dates from detachments – especially after a trail back from Red Flag one year when the jet Tony was flying in was diverted to the Azores with an engine problem. This resulted in him and his pilot being stranded in the Azores for a month with only what they could pack in the jet with them! Dates and plans became known between us as “set in custard”.

To Tony the RAF was his life, something that was cruelly snatched from him. When he was informed he could no longer fly, after he had been told the Cancer he had thought he had conquered had returned and had spread to his lungs, he was devastated. This is the man who on a two week holiday was itching to get back into the cockpit again. He could have become very bitter, but instead Tony wanted to remain close to the Tornado force and threw himself into using his expertise and knowledge to support those men and women who did the job he loved.

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