Prior to that he had served as a Flight Squadron Leader in the RAF, training to fly in Canada and serving in one of the first jet night fighter squadrons.
Colin, pictured left, later served in the first Gulf war and the former Yugoslavian conflict as a press liaison officer dealing with very senior commanders.
He was a full-time member of the reserve squadron from the 1980s and flew all over the world, being involved in everything from nuclear exercises in Halifax to helping sell aeroplanes to the Thai government.
Last year his partner Lyz Helliwell arranged a special 80th birthday present for him – a flight in a vintage Tiger Moth bi-plane.
But, due to complications with the weather, it only took place just days before his 81st birthday.
Colin lived in Salendine Nook, Huddersfield, and passed away on Sunday having been admitted to a hospice almost four weeks ago.
His funeral will take place at 1.15 pm on Tuesday 3 March at Huddersfield Crematorium, Fixby Road, Huddersfield, followed by a wake at The Old Golf House Hotel, New Hey Road, Outlane, Huddersfield.