AN RAF squadron leader and bomb disposal expert originally from Bishop Auckland will share stories of life in the Armed Forces in a new book.

Born and raised in Cockton Hill, Michael Haygarth left King James I School after his O levels in July 1977 and joined the RAF as a Weapons Technician a month later, serving as an Armourer and Engineering Officer during his 38-year career.

The 59-year-old, who now lives in Cambridgeshire with his wife Dawn, said his autobiography published by Pen & Sword Books is due for release on October 30.

Mr Haygarth said: “I met my wife Dawn at King James I School and we were married in 1980 at St Anne’s Church in Bishop Auckland market place.

“We moved around quite a bit with the RAF but settled our family in Peterborough in 1999.

“We have been married for 39 years and have three children.”

The last of the Land Army girls and their hostel by the A66 in Sadberge

In the early years of his career, Mr Haygarth was a member of a Buccaneer Nuclear Weapon Loading Team stationed in RAF Germany at the height of the Cold War.

After further tours in the UK, Germany and Italy, and having passed his Bomb Disposal courses and been commissioned, he was sent to the Falkland Islands.

Mr Haygarth served in Kosovo as part of a huge multi-national force tasked with clearing thousands of bombs and cluster munitions and was responsible for tasking and controlling all UK Bomb Disposal operations in and around Pristina.

He was then sent to Iraq where he was responsible for the policy and plans for all Bomb Disposal operations carried out by the UK armed forces and for helping the US Army to establish a civilian contract team to carry out bulk disposal of explosives and munitions in Southern Iraq.

He was promoted to Squadron Leader and worked in the Ministry of Defence before taking charge of the RAF’s only Bomb Disposal Squadron as it withdrew from Iraq.

In his final role he oversaw the RAF’s Engineering Squadron whilst the UK forces were withdrawing from Afghanistan and during the escalation of events in support of operations in the Baltic states and Syria.

Mr Haygarth said: “On leaving the RAF, I reflected on my career and how fantastic it had been.

“I decided to document it and realised that it was quite a remarkable story and having written a retrospective diary of key events I decided to convert it into memoirs of my career.”