Sir Peter Harding, who has died aged 87, was the RAF’s Chief of Air Staff (CAS) before becoming the Chief of Defence Staff in 1992 Eighteen months later he resigned following a tabloid expose of his affair with the wife of a former Conservative MP.
Harding joined the RAF as a national serviceman and trained as a pilot before beginning a full career. He flew Canberra bombers, became a flying instructor and later converted to Wessex helicopters before taking command of 18 Squadron in Germany. He commanded the large base at Bruggen with three Phantom squadrons. He flew regularly and claimed that the Phantom was his favourite aircraft. He served in MoD in numerous appointments on defence policy and later served at NATO in a key appointment. He commanded No 11 (Fighter) Group and was Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff before becoming the C-in-C of Strike Command. He was appointed CAS in November 1988. He was widely admired for his presence, charisma, intellect and social manner. Following reports of his affair in the News of the World, he resigned.
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