Air Marshal G.A. ‘Black’ Robertson CBE BA FRAeS FRSA was born in Woodford, Essex, and educated nearby at Bancroft’s School. He earned his wings, the coveted pilot’s brevet, in 1966 after three years at the RAF College Cranwell. Subsequent postings included Bahrain, the USA, Germany (twice) and the Falklands. He flew all the RAF’s front line fast jets and also qualified as a helicopter pilot. Five tours as a Whitehall warrior were probably necessary penance for the privilege of command at almost every level.
Sheer enjoyment, sport, a love of flying and working with high calibre individuals were constants throughout a 36-year career. Highlights were his time as CO of No 92 Squadron, followed by appointment as an ADC to HM The Queen. In 1998 he joined BAE Systems where he maintained close links with the aviation world – as he did later running his own consultancy business.
He’d always read widely and enjoyed writing; like presentations and speaking engagements, it was a necessary part of almost every job, both Service and civilian. However, it wasn’t until he retired that he published his first book, Fighters in the Blood. Shortly afterwards, realising he’d done his father less than justice, he embarked on a prequel, A Spitfire Named Connie. Published in April 2022, it reveals new and fascinating perspectives on a father – a mother too – he knew less well than he thought. His latest book is the edited story of a wartime colleague of his father, New Zealander Wing Commander Owen Hardy DFC* AFC; From Spitfires to Vampires and Beyond was released in June 2023. He’s now working on a new venture, due for release later in 2024.
Summer 2022 saw him appointed an ambassador for the National Spitfire Project, which aims to erect a permanent monument to this iconic aircraft on the Southampton waterfront. As the son of a decorated Spitfire ace, it’s a project close to his heart; there’s more about it here.