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10 July 2012

Caroline Paige (1961 - ) air force pilot.

Eric Cookson joined the Royal Air Force in 1980, and was trained to fly combat planes, Phantom F4 fighters and Bae Hawkes, and was involved in the ritual interception of Soviet planes.

In the 1990s Cookson transferred to support helicopters and weapons detection systems, and was in the front line in the buildup to the first Gulf War, and in Bosnia.

After consultation with RAF doctors, the flight lieutenant was approved for transition. As Caroline Paige, she was transferred to a ground posting. She paid for her own operation.

After surgery in 2000, Flight Lieutenant Paige returned to flying duties, and has since completed seven operational tours.

She advised personnel staffs in the drafting of initial Guidance and Policy documents regarding transgender people within the RAF.

The Wikipedia article claims Paige as the first RAF officer to transition.  Well. only if you don’t count Roberta Cowell who was a Spitfire pilot in the Second World War, Lynne Janine Braithwaite, who was in the RAF for 40 years, and Ruth Rose, a navigator in the RAF for many years, who expects surgery at age 70.

And of course Michelle Marshall and Ayla Holdom are also serving in the RAF.

We might also mention Rex Jameson/Mrs Shufflewick, who was in the RAF’s entertainment section, but of course never transitioned.

And lastly, there is Foxy Roxy who, after 23 years in the RAF, has come to a bad end.

1 comment:

Caz said...

Caroline Paige was the first Officer in the UK Armed Forces and RAF to transition IN the military. Other individuals had previously left the RAF and transitioned in civilian life. Caroline remained within the RAF on active service whilst transitioning; very much the person first to do this. Others have transitioned since; Michelle Marshall transitioned after Caroline though she actually left the RAF a short while afterwards. Caroline remains in the RAF flying on front-line duties.