Captain Jeffrey Peter Niblett DFC
Jeff Niblett was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for outstanding bravery while serving as a helicopter pilot with 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron, Royal Marines, during the 1982 Falklands Conflict – the first DFC ever awarded to a Royal Marine. He was leading a pair of Scout helicopters seeking to evacuate a casualty – no lesser man thanLieutenant-Colonel ‘H’ Jones VC – during the battle for Darwin and Goose Green. Not only did Colonel ‘H’ perish but so too did the pilot in the accompanying Scout, shot down by one of two Argentine aircraft that attacked them.
Jeffrey Peter Niblett was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, on September 26, 1949. The younger son of a businessman and his wife, he completed his education at Farnborough Grammar School aged 18. The same year, he gained his private pilot’s licence through a Royal Naval Flying Scholarship while serving in the Combined Cadet Force. After leaving school and failing RAF aircrew selection, Niblett worked locally in a variety of manual jobs that enabled him to continue flying, attend the Eskdale Outward Bound course and travel widely in Europe. During this time, he met the son of a family friend who was serving as a Royal Marines officer. It was this chance meeting that led to Niblett’s successful application for a commission in the Royal Marines in September 1970, just days before his 21st birthday.