John Elwyn (Taff) Tunnah B.E.M. Team Leader RAF Leuchars RIP

John Elwyn (Taff) Tunnah B.E.M. Team Leader RAF Leuchars – sadly passed away on Wednesday 21st. His funeral will take place at – 29th Nov. at 10a.m. All saints Church, Poyser St, Wrexham then onto crematorium at Pentre-Bychan Rd. post code LL14 4EP. RIP Taff

1973 January Viscount Crash –  The aircraft was  found on Ben More. Briefing in Lochearnhead Village Hall – Taff Tunnah (RIP) gives the briefing.

Taff was just leaving RAF Mountain Rescue as I was a young lad at RAF Kinloss and was legend of the time as a RAF Valley and Leuchars Mountain Rescue Team Leader. The first time I met him was when this photo was taken in 1973 on a huge search for a Viscount Aircraft from Glasgow that crashed on Ben More in bad weather. The search lasted for three days of wild weather and was one of the biggest searches for many years. Taff also features in Hamish MacInnes famous book Call – out on some of the rescues.Taff was the Team leader at RAF Leuchars at this time.  One for two of his own team who were involved in an accident in Clachaig Gully and Hamish tells the story well , which was a very technical rescue by the Glencoe and RAF Leuchars team .    Many years later Taff told me how difficult a rescue this was, how things change when it is your own people who are injured, never and easy task. When I told Hamish that Taff had passed away  he said “Sorry to hear about Taff. I’ will always think of him at the end of a 500 foot rescue rope, an extended winch from a Wessex ……. Hong Kong Harbour , the ensuring pendulum meant they had to lower him into the drink!” Wild days.


Callout a fantastic book about Rescue in Scotland.

In the last few years I had a bit more contact with Taff and got to know him well. We met at the odd re union and had a few long chats. I had written on Lockerbie in my Blog last year and how it had effected me and some of the Leuchars Mountain Rescue  team. I was so pleased that Taff had got in touch as he  read it. I found out that he was also at Lockerbie and played a big part in dealing with the casualties of this tragedy. He had left the RAF many years before but was involved with Emergency planning. He told me this tragedy had effected him as well personally and he was glad that we were dealing with PTSD within the service. He was thoughtful and reassuring on what we had done since the tragedy in the RAF and Mountain Rescue. It was great to have such reassurance from such a man. It is fitting that I will be at RAF Leuchars on Thursday giving a lecture to the current team. I will dedicate the evening to Taff.  My condolences and thought are to all family and friends of Taff. RIP.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Aircraft incidents, Books, Family, Friends, Lectures. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to John Elwyn (Taff) Tunnah B.E.M. Team Leader RAF Leuchars RIP

  1. Jim & Brenda Rae says:

    Me and my wife Brenda went to stop with Taff and Pauline in Latheronwheel for a few nights and had a great couple of days i’m glad i met up with Taff again we hadn’t met up since 66 and it was nice tqo sit and have a good old natter i was hopeing to go and see him next year but saddly no but we will go and see Pauline when we go to Scotland next year RIP Taff Mate


  2. Jim & Brenda Rae says:

    Thats not a problem mate we will pass on your love to pauline when we see her all the best and Thanks


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