Introducing… Andy Dakin
Posted by Gary O’Rourke, 03 April 2020
Andy Dakin is the Executive Director of the Naval & Military Bible Society (NMBS). Biblica print NIV New Testaments with Psalms (NTP) for NMBS to distribute to various military units. These are extremely well received by trainees and serving personnel. With increasing demand for NTPs and for bilingual scriptures in 2020, Biblica are excited to see what lies ahead as we continue to partner with NMBS. In this story we wanted to introduce Andy to you – to share part of his story and how he got involved with NMBS. In a follow–up story we ask him some questions about the work of NMBS and the partnership with Biblica.
Andy Dakin spent his early years living on the Island of Jersey with his parents and an older brother, where his father worked as an aircraft engineer. Following a move back to England for the eldest son to start senior school in preparation for University, Andy’s father then worked for Lloyd’s Insurance assessing crashed airplanes. Andy’s brother went to university in Southampton, joining the Air Squadron, learnt to fly and joined the Royal Air Force (R.A.F.) as a Navigator.
When it came time for Andy to go on to tertiary education he chose to study Geography at Birmingham University with the tentative plan of becoming a Geography teacher. It will come as no surprise though that he followed similar interests to his father and brother and joined the Air Squadron at university. Recognised for his flying abilities he obtained a scholarship from the R.A.F. in his final year which involved training at the R.A.F. College in Cranwell, Lincolnshire. From this he was selected to fly Harrier jets – famous for their vertical / short take–off and landing.
With regards to active service, operational clearance for Andy came just at the end of the Falklands War, but Andy did get to spend a number of deployments on the Falklands, followed by Belize and across Europe.
Along the way Andy met his future wife who was training to be a nurse. They got married and had three children, who are now grown up and the number of grandchildren currently sits at five. In the early stages of married life Andy was part of No. 1 Squadron – the R.A.F.’s oldest unit which has been involved in every major British military operation from the First World War to present time. This involved, over a 10–year period, time in the UK, Germany, The United States and back to Germany before returning to the UK.
In 1990 the Iraqi Army invaded Kuwait and with a few weeks, Andy was posted to the Gulf with the U.S. Marine Corps trying to process whether conflict was going to follow, and thinking about his wife and three children, all under four years old, who he had left at the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, North Carolina. Andy pays tribute to his wife who not only looked after the family in these new circumstances, but she also looked after many of the Marine Corps wives who were left at home. In fact, she received official recognition for this with a Marine Corps Commendation. At this time Andy’s wife had a faith and was attending a good church in Cherry Point, though as a typical “young arrogant fighter pilot”, Andy’s words, he didn’t think he needed any help for a higher authority.
Andy spent seven and a half months in The Gulf, during which he had plenty of time to think and reflect on life, his relationships with family, others and the world around him. He also had time to read. He was given a U.S. Marine Corps camouflage covered NIV New Testament and Psalms. Andy said
In reading this Bible, I came to the realisation that my life would be for nothing without a relationship with the living God. Whilst I wasn’t fearful about going to war, having this relationship was extremely comforting.
It was while serving in The Gulf War that Andy came to faith in Jesus. Talking about numerous near misses, Andy said
Without my faith, I don’t think I would still be here! During the war and my subsequent career there were many times when the difference between life and death has been a few centimetres or a couple of seconds!
After the RAF, Andy worked with BAESYSTEMS as the new technology projects manager within the Harrier programme. In his spare time, he also worked with Cranfield University on air research programmes.
Jumping forward to 2018 Andy was seeking a future career path in a vocational environment that had connections to his Christian beliefs. He had shared this with his church Home Group, and they prayed for him. The very next day he received a call asking if he would consider interviewing for the role of Executive Director of the Naval & Military Bible Society (NMBS), which provide Bibles to service personnel. Andy was successful in this process and has now been with NMBS for nearly 2 years building connections with chaplains, supporters and partner organisations in the UK and around the world.