The White Helmets: Going Out On A High After 90 Years
Fans of the Royal Signals Motorcycle Display team have until the autumn to watch them before they disappear for good.
'The White Helmets' have opened their season with a performance for family and friends at Blandford Camp in Dorset.
However, time is running out for fans - the axe has fallen on the White Helmets – meaning this is their final season.
Some have considered that the show isn't a reflection of the modern work of the Royal Signals.
unit was formed from dispatch riders, who ferried vital messages around
on battlefields - first on horseback, and then on two wheels.
stunts have become legendary: a popular recruiting tool for the British
Army, and a chance for signallers to do something very different for a
couple of years.
This season will be the last for the Royal
Signals riders as they focus on core skills with particular emphasis on
digital and cyber operations.
The three-year posting involved performing at shows every weekend from May to October.
Second World War veteran to be presented with new medals at RAF Northolt following theft
World War II Spitfire engineer will be proudly re-presented with his
medals today thanks to the work of an RAF Association befriender.
RAF Northolt will be the venue for a special ceremony for Ted Rexter-Baker.
94 year-old, who kept the Spitfires of 72 Squadron flying during the
war, had been awarded the Africa Star, the Africa Clasp, the Defence
Medal and the 1935-1945 Star, but they were all stolen.
November 2016, Ted has been visited by Air Vice-Marshal Gary Waterfall
as part of the RAF Association’s nationwide befriending scheme.
scheme pairs RAF veterans with volunteers from their community.
Befrienders visit regularly to chat, keep an eye out for the veteran’s
welfare, talk about life in the RAF and to make sure their contribution
is not forgotten.
was clear to me from the start of my relationship with Ted, that the
loss of his medals had taken a part of him with them,” Gary said.
“It was the least I could do to help him try to get them replaced.
ceremony to re-present them to him will be very special – a proud
moment for him and for his friends and relations who will be there too.
is very fitting to hold it at RAF Northolt too, given its historical
association with Spitfires. I’m looking forward to chatting about the
medals with Ted when I next visit him at home. ”
During his regular befriending visits, Gary discovered much of Ted’s service history.
Ted had joined the RAF in September 1938 as a boy apprentice at RAF Halton.
graduation he was posted to RAF Sealand before moving on to become a
Spitfire engineer with 84 Squadron – being posted as far as Tunisia.
He served for more than 10 years and left from RAF Hornchurch, having become a Senior Technician. He now lives in north London.
more than half of the UK Armed Forces veteran population aged 75 or
over, relationship/isolation issues affect approximately 170,000 RAF
veterans, with 85,000 of them specifically experiencing loneliness.
Rory O’Connor, Director of Welfare and Policy at the Royal Air Forces Association, said:
is a critical issue to the Royal Air Forces Association, and this
service will ensure that more is done across the board to support our
service men and women.
befriending service is an important initiative which provides
invaluable welfare support for the 1.5 million strong RAF family.
you or someone you may know could benefit from befriending, we’d
encourage you to get in touch with us as no veteran should ever feel
lonely or isolated.
“A veteran’s service should be shared, celebrated, and never forgotten.”
Those who could benefit from this scheme can call 0800 0182 361 or visitwww.rafa.org.uk/befriending
It is more than 50 years since there was an RAF station at Jurby, but its legacy has made the parish what it is today.
Fayle (Sandra Kerrison's (nee Quaye) uncle) of the RAF Police on
the right of the picture, pictured in front of the Guard Room, RAF
Jurby early 1940s.
the RAF, Jurby would have a tiny population, certainly not large enough
to support a school, shop, parish hall, industrial estate, motor
museum, motor sports and medical centre, as it does today.
Friends of Jurby Church are planning an exhibition about RAF Jurby, to
be shown in the church from August 17 - October 15, and they are asking
people to share their memories.
Sandra Kerrison said: ’Although the war years and the buildings are
quite well documented, we are especially looking for personal photos
and stories relating to RAF Jurby during the lifetime of the station
from 1939 to 1963. Anything relating to RAF Jurby is of interest. Many
of the people who lived in Jurby will have stories to tell as the RAF
station was such a big part of life in the parish’.
the 1930s, Jurby was a dying parish. The depression in agriculture
resulted in its population falling to fewer than 400 as people left to
war looming, the Air Ministry considered the flat low-lying farmlands
to be ideal for building an aerodrome and a bombing training station.
RAF Jurby opened in 1939, just after the outbreak of war as No. 5 Air
Observer School. Two months later it was renamed No. 5 Bombing and
Gunnery School. In the later war years it became No. 5 Air Navigation
and Bombing School.
the end of the war some 10,000 people had been trained at RAF Jurby and
RAF Andreas. Hundreds more were employed in the building of the
aerodrome and in staffing what was, in effect, a self-contained village
with its own cinema, church, shop and messes. There was employment not
just for the people of Jurby and the north but from across the island.
By 1951 the population had increased to over 900.
RAF station elevated Jurby to a new status, with visits by Air
Commodores, members of the royal family and the Lieutenant Governor.
Farmers became prosperous as they cultivated more land to meet the
increased demand. Station bands attended Tynwald Day and other civic
events as well as playing at local dances. Many local women married men
from the station.
the end of the war, RAF Jurby was an Air Navigation School and from
1946-47 an Air Gunnery School. From 1947-1949 it was under ’Care and
Maintenance’ and was re-opened in 1950 as an Initial Training School to
provide basic ground training to aircrew recruits.
1953 until the station closed in 1963 it was an Officer Cadet Training
Unit when children from the station attended local schools. This is the
period that many people today will remember.
of photos can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. For those in the Isle
of Man photos etc can be collected for scanning and returned. For all
enquiries contact Sandra Kerrison on 898003 or email email@example.com
Majesty The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, will attend a
Service of Dedication on Horse Guards Parade before formally unveiling
the new Iraq Afghanistan Memorial on Victoria Embankment Gardens,
London, on Thursday, 9th March.
The Iraq Afghanistan Memorial Memorial honours
all UK Service personnel and civilians who took part in conflicts in
the Gulf region, Iraq and Afghanistan between 1990 and 2015.
Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of
Cambridge, Prince Harry, The Duke of York, The Earl and Countess of
Wessex, The Princess Royal and Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, The Duke and
Duchess of Gloucester, The Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra will
also attend the Service of Dedication, together with 2,500 invited
at the Service of Dedication will include current Service personnel,
veterans, representatives of departments and bodies including the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the National Health Service, and
representatives of various charities and aid organisations.
the Service of Dedication, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will
travel to Victoria Embankment Gardens, where Her Majesty will unveil
the Iraq Afghanistan Memorial in the presence of the Memorial Trustees,
together with individuals who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and their
of the Royal Family, led by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of
Cornwall, will then attend a reception on Horse Guards Parade for those
who attended the Service of Dedication.
Further information about the Iraq Afghanistan Memorial and the Service of Dedication can be found at www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/iraq-afghanistan-memorial.
Rare 1967 BSA RAF Police motorbike goes under the hammer
A very rare 1967 BSA motorcycle, thought to be just one of three left in the world, is going under the hammer.
The motorbike, which was used by the RAF Police, is estimated to be worth £5,000 - 6,000, and is marked with air force emblems.
The bike will be sold at the Charterhouse auction of classic motorcycles on Sunday February 5.
ex-RAF Police motorcycle is believed to be just one of three known
survivors as the vast majority of these bikes have been civilianised or
scrapped over the past 50 years,” said valuer Matthew Whitney.
“It certainly makes a different alternative to the civilian Police force Velocette LE which were affectionately known as Noddy bikes.”
Made by British manufacturer Birmingham Small Arms Company, the 1967 BSA B40 is fitted with a 350cc engineand has been lovingly restored.
At its peak, BSA, who also owned Triumph, was the largest motorcycle producer in the world.
was bought as a retirement project by the owner and features its
correct and rare original fairing, blue light, higher handle bars and
RAF blue saddlebags, but sadly little is known its history in the RAF.
During its current ownership, it was sympathetically restored and has been much admired at classic motorcycle shows.
However, the owner prefers to ride his modern Kawasaki with its electric start and has decided to sell the bike.
Charterhouse is now accepting further entries for this specialist auction of classic and vintage motorcycles on Sunday February 5 which is held in conjunction with the hugely popular Bristol Classic Motorcycle Show at The Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet.
is also accepting entries of classic and vintage cars for the following
week also at The Royal Bath & West Showground.
2/11/16RAF Waddington's runway ready for take-off after £35m re-buildReady
for take off Comments (0)RAF Waddington's runway is now fully open after a £35
million re-build.It will extend its operational life by at least another 25
years.Work began in July 2014 and the original target date was November 2015
but the work meant the 2015 Waddington International Air Show, which would have
attracted 140,000 people, was cancelled and subsequently axed for good, over
security fears.However, the discovery of more than 1,000 historic
underground cables and pipes at the base and waterlogged earth is why the
project was a year behind schedule.Surveys
had found most of the ground under the airfield was made up of limestone, but
large areas of clay were found when the runway surface was removed.This
meant the new runway needed to be redesigned otherwise it would have sunk when
built.And Second World War practice bombs were discovered and removed during
the project.Waddington, home to Reaper drone operators and the E-3D Sentry,
Sentinel R1 and Boeing RC-135V/W Rivet Joint intelligence and surveillance
aircraft, will play an increasing role in the war against the self-styled
Islamic State terrorists.Planes
have been flying from other bases during the work but now they have all come
home to roost.Throughout the refurbishment, the operational tempo and demand
for RAF Waddington's intelligence gathering capabilities has remained extremely
high with flying squadrons almost constantly deployed.This will remain the
case as RAF Waddington continues to play a critical role in the coalition air
campaign to defeat the so-called Islamic State and elsewhere around the
Waddington Station Commander, Group Captain Al Marshall said: "This has been a
major and very challenging project, which has placed significant pressure on
personnel and their families."Despite the challenges, we have managed to
sustain operational output throughout the resurfacing period owing to the
outstanding dedication and professionalism of RAF Waddington personnel and those
who support us."It will give me great pleasure to see many personnel return
home and to have our aircraft regularly flying in and out of RAF Waddington once
again."Conducted in several phases the old runway has been dug up, levelled
and resurfaced.The upgrade which significantly changed the profile of the
existing runway includes the provision of a new section of airside perimeter
road, new visual airfield approach aids, aeronautical lighting and signs, all of
which improves the overall safety of the airfield and operations.
22/11/16MPs back new ‘Walter Mitty’ medals law to criminalise ‘military imposters’
Medals worn by Simon Buckden, a genuine former soldier who was jailed
for for defrauding people out of thousands of pounds by pretending to be a
decorated war veteran with cancer A new “Walter Mitty” law should be introduced to make it a crime,
punishable by up to six months in jail, for anyone to pose as a military veteran
by wearing medals they have not earned themselves, MPs say.The Commons
Defence Committee warned that the lack of any legal deterrent to imposters
wearing medals awarded for service and bravery is not only an “insult” to
genuine recipients but could threaten public trust in the military honours
system itself.Although there are no official figures to show the extent of
the practice, because it is not currently a crime, one survey found that almost
two thirds of members of the forces community had personally come across people
wearing medals or insignia awarded to someone else.Anthony Church, a
former town crier who resigned abruptly after admitting his claims of military
heroics were untrueThe committee gave its backing to a private member’s bill
tabled by the Conservative MP Gareth Johnson, creating a new criminal offence
similar to bans in place in other countries, carrying a maximum penalty of six
months or a fine of £5,000.The proposal is due to be debated by the Commons
on Friday.A Defence Committee report into the proposal details how it used
to be a crime to dress up as a member of the Armed Forces or wear medals
fraudulently, under Victorian legislation updated by Winston Churchill as
Secretary of War in 1919.But the ban, similar to that preventing people
impersonating police officers, was discontinued in 2009 as part of a wider
legislative tidying-up exercise relating to the Armed Forces.Roger Day,
who posed as a retired member of the SAS wearing 17 medals at a Remembrance
parade in Warwickshire in 2009. Charges of military deception against him were
dropped as the law changed a fortnight before the march.Ministry
of Defence officials told the committee that the reasoning had been that it is
potentially possible to prosecute military imposters for other offences, such as
fraud.They added that the law as it previously stood did not include any
exceptions for fancy dress or theatrical productions.In its report, entitled
"Exposing Walter Mitty" - after the character in the James Thurber short story
who lives in a fantasy world - the committee insists that despite a lack of
figures, anecdotal evidence suggests such deception is a “continuing”
problem.Last year Anthony Church who served as town crier in Oxford and a
string of other towns nearby resigned abruptly after admitting his claims to be
a former regimental Sergeant Major in the Coldstream Guards who had been awarded
the British Empire Medal, Imperial Service Medal and an MBE were all
fictitious.One internet vigilante group, known as the “Walter Mitty Hunters
Club”, claims to have exposed more than 200 imposters. On its Facebook group it
also exposes people it says have been collecting money for bogus military
charities.Crucially, Mr Johnson’s bill would allow close family members
of servicemen or women who have died or been injured to wear their decorations
at special commemorations, effectively on their behalf, but within strict
limits.“Both the sponsor of the Bill and the other witnesses took the view
that the unauthorised and deceitful use of military decorations and medals is a
harm that is worthy of specific criminal prohibition,” the report
concludes.“We support their arguments that such behaviour is not only
insulting to the rightful recipients of these awards, but also damages the
integrity of the military honours system and the bond of trust and respect
between the public and the Armed Forces.“The enactment of criminal
prohibitions should always merit the most serious consideration.“We conclude
that there is a tangible and identifiable harm created by military imposters
against members of society who should rightly be held in its highest
esteem.“Therefore, we believe that specific prohibitions to mitigate this
harm are justified.”