Robin is a Founder Director of Survival Wisdom, a Company which came into being in 2008 as a result of five like minded survival instructors who were passionate about passing on their experiences and knowledge, to a much wider audience outside of the military.
His enthusiasm for teaching stems from Robin’s school years where sport was his main motivator and not academia. Excelling in canoe slalom and swimming, reaching National representative level in both and football and rugby to county standard formed the bedrock which was to shape his future career. Also becoming the youngest person in the UK to hold the RLSS Teachers Certificate, it was this combination which allowed Robin to pursue a chosen career as a Physical Training Instructor (PTI) in the RAF, a six month course accepted as being one of the most physically demanding in the military to pass.
10 years as a PTI led to some notable achievements for Robin, leading major expeditions in Switzerland to climb both the Eiger and Matterhorn and an expedition to canoe the UK National Slalom course at Holm Pierpoint and the Olympic slalom courses of Munich, Montreal and Barcelona for charity, all successfully accomplished. This period also spawned Robin’s interest for survival training, completing the RAF Combat Survival and Rescue Instructors course and which led to his receiving the accolades of 2 Harrier pilots who ejected over the Falkland Islands during the conflict. Their skills in ejecting safely and evading Argentine capture having there grounding in the training Robin conducted for all members of 1(Fighter) Squadron.
In 1987, he was selected to become a Parachute Jump Instructor (PJI), a specialist role responsible for training members of all UK elite forces in both static line and freefall parachuting. Opportunities arose for Robin to continue to train in areas all over the world, America, Canada, Belize, Corsica, Poland and Australia to name but a few. Whilst in Belize, Robin found himself and two colleagues stranded in Nicaragua during a ferocious civil war and he was instrumental in guiding them out of the situation and to safety, a feat which the Commander British Forces Belize commended. Robins skill as a PJI were severely tested again when he became the first military parachute dispatchers to safely recover a ‘hung up’ parachutist who was entangled in his parachute outside the aircraft. This occurrence was the subject of an episode of the BBC’s 999 programme which documented real life stories of life saving events. The final 3 years of Robins work as a PJI saw him in charge of training all operational PJI’s working for UK Airborne Forces (UK ABF), It also included a 4 month liaison exchange with the Australian Military Parachute School to cement ‘best practice’ in training. This was to have further relevance in the next stage of his career as did the chance to rekindle his interest in survival by designing an escape and evasion survival course for PJI’s.
A natural progression saw Robin pass a strict 3 day vetting in 2000 to become a Combat Survival and Rescue Instructor at the RAF School based in Cornwall. Robin’s undoubted experience immediately led him to be selected single handed, to tour all the RAF fast jet squadrons around the country briefing the crews who were deploying to the second gulf war on survival, escape and evasion. Robin’s forte remains in the instructional development role and he was again given the sole responsibility for writing and delivering an instructional training package to consolidate the instructors and RAF survival school as the UK’s premier military centre of excellence in this field. He was further selected to travel to Australia for 3 months and assist in developing an updated training package for their Combat Survival School as he had done previously for their parachute school and at the same time, set up a jungle environmental survival course for the RAF School in the rainforests of Tully, North Queensland. It was also during this period that Robin and John began to work closely together.
In 2008, the RAF and Royal Navy survival schools merged to form the UK Defence Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Extraction (SERE) Training Organisation and it was significant that John was given the position as Chief Instructor of SE&E Instructor Development training with Robin as the Deputy Chief Instructor. Robin’s experiences in this field allowed him to ably support as a consultant and advise John during the re-structuring of the packages designed to take Instructor Development training forward where coaching and mentoring plays a significant role in producing quality instructors. A total of 50 years in Survival Training between them alone cannot be matched within the Defence Organisation. This, along with the experience of the other founder members of Survival Wisdom bring a unique and unrivalled knowledge base, not just to bushcraft and survival, but the myriad of other skills which underpin, fall out and parallel these more well-known arts.
Since joining the RAF in 1978, Robin has led an inspirational, full and rewarding career. His primary aim now is to ensure 35 years of knowledge is passed on to the next generation of survival instructors, world travellers and anybody else with the thirst to learn more about such a wide and diverse but exciting subject.