AIR VICE-MARSHAL T W (Bill)RIMMER CB OBE MA FRAeS RAF
FORMER COMMANDER BRITISH FORCES CYPRUS
AND ADMINISTRATOR OF THE SOVEREIGN BASE AREAS
Air Vice-Marshal Bill Rimmer was born in Perth, Scotland, schooled at Morrison's Academy in Perthshire, and studied Modern Languages and Economics at the Universities of Edinburgh and Montpellier (France). He served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve while a member of Edinburgh University Air Squadron and was commissioned in 1971. He continued his pilot training at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell and at Royal Air Force Valley on Anglesey.
After completing advanced flying training on the Hunter aircraft, he attended the Central Flying School and in 1973 was posted to Royal Air Force Linton-on-Ouse in Yorkshire as a flying instructor on Jet Provosts. Following this tour, he converted to the Jaguar and was posted to No 20 Squadron at Royal Air Force Bruggen in Germany as a ground-attack pilot. In 1980, in the rank of Squadron leader, he returned to UK as a Flight Commander on No 6 Squadron based at Royal Air Force Coltishall in Norfolk.
In 1983 he attended the French Air Force Staff College (Ecole Superieure de Guerre Aerienne) in Paris. On graduation, he was promoted to Wing Commander and appointed Chief Instructor at the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment at Royal Air Force Cottesmore, responsible for the conversion to the Tornado of the crews of the German Air Force, German Navy and the Italian Air Force, as well as those of the Royal Air Force. In 1987 he joined Headquarters Royal Air Force Germany as staff officer responsible for RAF Tornado operations in Europe, including the UK’s tactical nuclear deterrent. In July 1989, in the rank of Group captain he was appointed Head of the Royal Air Force Presentation Team a 4-person PR team working at the coal-face, travelling throughout the UK with the task of getting the RAF message across wherever people were ready to listen-and sometimes where they were not!
In September 1990, Air Vice-Marshal Rimmer returned to Royal Air Force Cottesmore as Station Commander. Thereafter, in October 1992, he was posted to the Western European Union as the senior UK officer in the newly formed Planning Cell, based in Brussels. This was a new politico-military appointment which arose when the French sought to establish a military identity within the EU.
In 1995, he attended the Royal College of Defence Studies, and on completion of the course, was appointed Director of Defence Systems within the Central Staff of the Ministry of Defence, responsible for staffing the coherence or otherwise of the tri-Service future equipment programme.
He was appointed Air Officer Commanding and Commandant of the Royal Air Force College Cranwell in July 1998. His prime responsibility there was for all RAF officer training. He assumed the appointment of Commander British Forces Cyprus and Administrator(Governor) of the Sovereign Bases Areas on 5th September 2000.In this capacity, he served as a member of the UK’s senior command group throughout the invasion of Iraq. During the conflict, he also held responsibility for the operational support of the two US Navy Nimitz-class carrier groups operating in the Eastern Mediterranean. Throughout the 3-year tour, he worked closely with the Foreign Office as part of the ongoing Cyprus reunification negotiations.
Since his retirement in the Spring of 2004,he has served as a governor of Framlingham College, a (local) public school in Suffolk.
Throughout his life, he sailed extensively. He sailed the length of the Mediterranean from 2000 to 2005. In the Autumn of 2005, he crossed the Atlantic(23 days) with his daughter and 2 other crew. After the crossing , which reflected a solo transatlantic flight (5 hours!) in a Jaguar some 28 years earlier, he spent 2 years sailing in the Windward and Leeward Islands. He recently completed a 3-year circumnavigation (clockwise) of the British Isles.
Air Vice-Marshal Rimmer is married to Sarah and they have two children, Joanna (1981) and William (1987). His leisure activities include offshore/ocean sailing, golf, gardening (mechanical), and the restoration of vintage tractors and farm machinery. He is a Liveryman of the Company of Tallow Chandlers and a Freeman of the City of London. He is an honorary life member of both the RAF Sailing Association, the Royal Air Force Yacht Club and the British Kiel Yacht Club (Baltic). In the course of his career he was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air(1983), and was appointed OBE(1987) and CB(1997). He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Royal Geographical Society.