Flight Sergeant bids farewell to RAF and Rubb

After 38 years of military service Flight Sergeant Ken Forrest has retired from the Royal Air Force.

He first joined the RAF as an electrician and then entered 5001 Squadron in 2006. He was with 5001 for eight memorable years. Ken’s first encounter with Rubb Buildings Ltd structures came when he was tasked with helping construct 40 Rapid Deployment Shelters (RDS) for the Harrier Force in 2001.

He went on to specialise in the construction of Rubb military buildings after joining 5001 Squadron at RAF Wittering in 2006. 5001 Squadron, which reformed in 1999, is dedicated to the provision of expeditionary airfield capabilities. 5001 Sqn was first formed during World War II as part of the Airfield Construction Branch, tasked with constructing and maintaining airfields. 5001 Sqn delivers the modern equivalent of this capability in today’s expeditionary focused RAF. The Sqn retains the original motto ‘Fit Via Vi’ meaning ‘A Way is Made by Force’.

Ken and the Squadron have attended many Rubb construction training sessions at the company’s plant at Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead.

5001 Sqn is responsible for the rapid construction of Temporary Working Environment (TWE) and the installation of Portable Aircraft Arrestor Gear (PAAG). TWE provides environmentally controlled facilities, including Rubb’s military structures, for Fast Jet or Rotary assets and has been supporting Exercises and Operations in the Middle East, Afghanistan and the Falkland Islands.

Ken, who hails from Haltwhistle, Northumberland, said: “I have enjoyed working with Rubb. It has been a laugh and we have had a good relationship. Ian (Hindmoor, Managing Director), Andy (Knox, Sales Manager) and Bill (Wood, former MD) before he retired – they have been very good at Rubb. They always listen to what you say and take what you have said on board to make improvements so you end up with a better product. This is the way it has always been and Rubb is a great company to work with.

“It gives you confidence to ring up with urgent requirements. I once rang Andy on an Easter Monday with an urgent requirement for building parts and he got them to me. Ongoing feedback meant the products were always improving.”

In 2013, at its busiest, Squadron 5001 constructed 27 buildings in three months alone, 18 EFASS structures (20m with two Trident doors), six sunshades, two 25m hangars and one ECASS (Environmentally Controlled Arms Storage Shelter).

Ken, who lives in Rutland near Stamford, added: “I have enjoyed being part of 5001 Sqn. We have deployed many times to Afghanistan and what they have achieved with limited resources is remarkable. Their dedication is second to none.”

Colleagues paid tribute to Ken at a leaving ceremony in February. He is planning on using his vast experience of Health and Safety in the civilian and private sector while spending time with his family, wife Karen and sons David (24) and Alan (22). Ken and Karen will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in June.

Rubb Managing Director Ian Hindmoor said: “On behalf of Rubb Buildings Ltd, I would like to wish Ken and his family all the very best for the future. It has been a wonderful experience working with Ken and our relationship has benefitted 5001 Squadron, the Rubb product and many hundreds of our clients and end users. Ken leaves with the knowledge that his hard working practices and methods will carry on between Rubb Buildings Ltd and the RAF.”