MBE for pilot who crashed in front of Prince
A FORMER Royal Navy pilot who once crash landed in front of Prince Charles has received an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours.
Defence consultant David Rees, aged 69, joked that the Royal Family had forgiven him for the emergency at an air show almost 50 years ago.
The Prince of Wales was in the crowd at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland when Mr Rees crash-landed his Gannet aircraft in 1963.
The incident was made subject to a D-notice, an official ban on publication for national security. Prince Charles was a student at Gordonstoun School at the time.
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Now Mr Rees is hoping to discuss the incident with the Queen when he is invited to Buckingham Palace to receive his award for services to defence capability.
He said: "It is a fantastic honour. I work as a defence consultant and someone in the Royal Navy put me up for the award. I have been working for the Government one way or another for 51 years."
Mr Rees, born in Kent, rose to the rank of Lieut-Commander during his 26-year career with the senior service.
He sailed all around the world and was a pilot on board carriers HMS Victorious, HMS Eagle, HMS Ark Royal and HMS Hermes. He has worked in San Diego with the US Navy and in Belgium with NATO.
Mr Rees also ditched his aircraft in the Pacific off of Okinawa near Japan while on board HMS Hermes in 1968.
He served in the Royal Navy until 2006 and has since worked as a consultant.
Mr Rees analyses data coming into the Maritime Warfare Centre in HMS Collingwood at Portsmouth and has helped British/ American operations in Afghanistan.
He and wife Shelagh have lived in Plymstock since 1975 and they have a daughter, Amy, who is studying to be an ambulance paramedic.