Tribute to popular former RAF Leuchars station commander

Air Commodore Jack Haines OBE, former RAF Leuchars Station commander.
Air Commodore Jack Haines OBE, former RAF Leuchars Station commander.

Air Commodore Jack Haines OBE, former Station Commander at RAF Leuchars, passed away peacefully on December 12, aged 72.

He had been bravely fighting Alzheimer’s disease for 13 years.

Air Cdre Haines enjoyed a wide and varied career, during which he served as a navigator on four different aircraft types – including flying from carriers with the Royal Navy, an exchange tour with the US Marine Corps and serving at NATO Headquarters in Brussels during its involvement in Bosnia.

However, it was in north east Fife where Air Commodore Haines and his wife Lesley felt most at home.

He began and ended his 38 year career at Leuchars with his final command post as Station Commander and the Air Officer of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

He and Lesley settled in St Andrews when he retired from this post in 2001.

They continued to play an active role in the community and Air Cdre Haines was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant in 2003.

He was a keen and able golfer and a member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

He played an active role in many charities and was Life President of the Royal Airforces Association (RAFA) Leuchars Branch.

Sadly, Air Cdre Haines was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in 2004.

He enjoyed all sports and when his illness prevented him from actively participating he maintained his interest as an avid spectator.

During his illness, he took part in ground-breaking clinical trials for Alzhiemer’s and supported the Dementia Friendly St Andrews campaign as he wanted a cure and better understanding of the disease.

In a final wish, he donated his body to the University of St Andrews.

Air Commodore Haines is survived by his wife Lesley, their daughters Sally Ann and Vanessa, and granddaughters Millie, Lottie, Maisie (Madras College) and Anna May (Greyfriars RC Primary School).

His wife Lesley said: “I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and respect shown to my husband.

“His great ability to communicate with everybody made him a man who touched everyone’s heart.

“His cheerful nature, sense of humour, dedication to justice and absolute love of life, made him the legend he has become.

“He was selfless to the end.”

A service of thanksgiving will take place in January.