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GQ Magazine shoot
Back to work as usual - first flight together post-war
With Gloria Hunniford and John Nichol
Tornado GR1 Formation in the Gulf, 1991
Being presented to Princess Diana at Martin Baker, ejection seat manufacturers
With General Norman Schwarzkopf at the Imperial War Museum
1991 Gulf War Service in Glasgow Cathedral being introduced to Prince Phillip
Captured and paraded on Iraqi state television. On the left is John's navigator, John Nichol.
Capture goes public
Release on Monday 4th March 1991.
Reunion with wife, Helen, son, Guy and daughter, Toni.

John Peters BSc MBA MRAeS
Former RAF pilot, POW, author & speaker

Early career

John was born in London in 1961 to Brian and Carol Peters. Attending Churcher’s College in Petersfield, it was here that John really began to foster a passion for flying. Taking full advantage of the opportunities offered through the Combined Cadet Force, he joined the RAF section, rising through the ranks to become the senior Cadet Officer of all three Service cadet forces. By the time he was 17 he held a Private Pilot’s Licence, a Gliding Licence and had obtained a University Cadetship from the RAF sponsoring him at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. In fact, he was able to fly a plane many years before he could drive a car, not passing his driving test until 20 years old! At university, he studied Building Technology as his other career choice would have been architecture. Most significantly, however, was that whilst at Manchester he met his future wife, Helen. Studying hard during the week left him plenty of time to follow his passion at the weekends and you would often find John flying upside down doing aerobatics above the English countryside in a Bulldog aircraft on the Manchester University Air Squadron. Upon graduating, John attended RAF Cranwell completing Initial Officer Training and flying training to receive his wings. Following further conversion courses and a short period as an Instructor Pilot at the Air Navigation School, he arrived at RAF Laarbruch in Germany and achieved his dream; pilot of the Tornado GR1 Bomber on XV Tornado Strike/Attack Squadron.

The Gulf War 1991

On 2nd August 1990, Iraq invaded the oil rich sovereign state of Kuwait. By 17th January 1991 the UN’s call for a full withdrawal by Iraqi forces had not been met and Operation Desert Storm went into full effect with XV Squadron placed firmly at the vanguard of the initial assault. Whilst carrying out a dangerous, low-level, daylight raid on Al Rumaylah South West airbase, John’s Tornado was hit by a Surface to Air Missile or SAM for short, forcing him and his Navigator, John Nichol, to eject over enemy territory. Shortly after safely parachuting to the ground, the two men were captured by Saddam Hussein’s forces. What ensued was seven weeks of physical and psychological brutality and torture. John’s severe mistreatment was thrust into the living room of every household across the globe as that now iconic image of his bruised and battered face was paraded on Iraqi state television. However, as a phoenix rises from the ashes, John emerged from his experience a stronger, more resilient and more confident individual. And whilst one would not ever welcome such an ordeal, he realises that it was probably the making of him. It is this attitude that has made John so sought after as a speaker.


Upon his release on 4th March 1991, John resumed his flying career. In 2000, he retired from the RAF as a Squadron Leader and set up his own management consultancy firm focusing on helping senior teams and Boards, principally of blue-chip organisations, by providing business critical development, consulting and coaching - through a leadership lens. Concurrently, he was appointed a Board member and Chair of the Association of MBAs. In addition, he has held roles as the Director of Performance for the Executive MBA at Aston Business School, he is a Fellow at both Kingston and Henley Business School and a Governor of the Royal Grammar School Worcester. He is Patron to the charities, KidsOut and The Battle of Worcester Society, and is Honorary President of Throckmorton Airshow and a Worcester Ambassador. John has written two best-selling books and a documentary; ‘Tornado Down’, which was Independent Documentary of the Year and a BAFTA Award Nominee. Currently, he is writing a new book that focuses on leadership in uncertainty.

John continues to live in Worcester with his wife Helen and two dogs, Matrix and Spartacus. He is occasionally visited by his now adult children, Guy and Toni.

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If you are at all interested in exploring the management consultancy services that John offers please go to the Monkey Business website at Monkey Business’ expertise is in leadership, strategy, and change.

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