The UK’s sixth Poseidon MRA Mk1
Maritime Patrol Aircraft, will be known as ‘Guernsey’s
Reply’ to honour the close bond between 201 Squadron, the
island of Guernsey and Flight Lieutenant Herbert Machon
To mark the Bailiwick of
Guernsey’s 76th ‘Liberation Day’, the Royal Air Force is
honoured to announce that the UK’s sixth Poseidon MRA Mk1
Maritime Patrol Aircraft, ZP 806, will be known as
‘Guernsey’s Reply’ to honour the close bond between 201
Squadron, the island of Guernsey and Flight Lieutenant
Herbert Machon OBE.
‘Herbie’ Machon left his home
in Guernsey shortly before the German occupation during
WWII and joined the British Military. He was destined to
fly Spitfires in the RAF and, in honour and memory of his
countrymen living under occupation, he named his Mk XVI
Spitfire “Guernsey’s Reply”. Herbie sadly passed away in
2004 and 201 Squadron personnel had the privilege of
acting as pall bearers at his funeral.
When 201 Squadron was disbanded
in 2011, it was the last maritime squadron to retain a
local affiliation and carried the moniker 'Guernsey's Own'
commemorating a link forged in the challenging days just
before the Second World War. It was an affiliation under
the Municipal Liaison Scheme, announced on 5th May 1939 by
the Air Minister Sir Kingsley Wood in Guernsey when he
opened Guernsey Airport. The received wisdom is that it is
the last surviving affiliation under that scheme. It is
also considered to be the only RAF Squadron with such an
historic link. Guernsey and 201 Squadron are proud of the
fact that the link has survived and will continue to
This link between Squadron and
Island remained strong and in 1994, as part of its 80th
anniversary celebrations, the Squadron was granted ‘The
Privilege of Guernsey’. It was the first award in
Guernsey's history of this ancient military honour, which
gives the right to march with colours flying, drums
beating, and bayonets fixed.
After a 10-year hiatus, 201
Squadron will return at RAF Lossiemouth later in the year
and will be the second squadron operating the
state-of-the-art Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft
alongside 120 Squadron.
"It is befitting of this long
and proud association that one of the UK’s new Poseidon
aircraft bears the name ‘Guernsey’s Reply’. No 201
Squadron will stand up this summer and I am looking
forward to retrieving the Standard from Guernsey where it
was held for safe keeping in the hope that the Squadron
would return, and the affiliation could continue. It is an
honour to bring the Squadron back to maritime operations;
the coming years will be challenging and exciting in equal
measure and it is vital that as we move forward, we retain
this historic link."
The Bailiff of Guernsey,
Richard McMahon, said: "The people of Guernsey take great
pride in the long-standing and unique relationship the
Island has with 201 Squadron, “Guernsey’s Own”. We are
looking forward to re-affirming that affiliation later
this year when the Squadron will stand up once again. It
is most fitting that this new Poseidon aircraft will carry
the name “Guernsey’s Reply”, replicating the style used by
Flight Lieutenant Herbie Machon for his war-time Spitfire,
which he flew to Guernsey in June 1945 following the
Liberation from Occupation the previous month. Herbie, who
was later elected as a Jurat of the Royal Court, was a
gallant Guernseyman who served during the War to secure
the freedoms we enjoy today 76 years later. “Guernsey’s
Reply” will further strengthen our links with those who
continue to have responsibility for our collective defence
effort, keeping us all safe."
"The longstanding bond between
Guernsey and 201 Squadron has endured world war and the
unit’s disbandment, when the Squadron’s standard was
lodged in Government House for safekeeping. I am delighted
now to be able to return it to its rightful owners, as we
begin a new and exciting chapter in the Squadron’s
affiliation with Guernsey."
The former NATO Submarine Force
Commander and Head of the UK Submarine Force added: "On a
personal note, I’m particularly pleased to see the UK
regain its airborne anti-submarine warfare capability.
Poseidon is an extremely effective maritime patrol
aircraft and an essential component in Britain’s defence
against undersea threats. Islanders can be rightly proud
of Guernsey having a visible association with a key
element of Britain’s defence capability."
Due to be delivered to the RAF
in September 2021, ‘Guernsey’s Reply’ is undergoing its
final checks at the Boeing factory in Seattle before
joining the growing fleet. The first five Poseidon
aircraft have been named Pride of Moray, City of Elgin,
Terence Bulloch DSO DFC, Spirit of Reykjavik and Fulmar.
The RAF Poseidon fleet, which will total nine aircraft, is
already providing cutting-edge maritime patrol
capabilities working side-by-side with the Royal Navy to
secure the seas around the UK and abroad.
In honour and memory of his
countrymen living under occupation, Flight Lieutenant
Herbert Machon named his Spitfire “Guernsey’s Reply”.
Herbie’s family were delighted
to learn that the name of his wartime Spitfire 16,
Guernsey’s Reply, would take to the skies on the RAF’s
newest Poseidon aircraft. As a young man he evacuated to
England at the start of the War, leaving behind his
parents who would face five long years of German
He volunteered for the Army,
then transferred to the RAF in 1942, learned to fly in
America then taught many would-be pilots, survived two
forced landings and flew many of the new American
fighters. Returning to the UK he was posted to 603 City of
Edinburgh Squadron. His log book reveals one pilot’s
diverse combat missions.
Sent to Skebrae, Orkney, he
flew in the frigid air eight miles high seeking German
aircraft trying to photograph the Home Fleet at Scapa
Flow, protected only by a fur lined suit and pressurised
When Hitler attacked England
with V1 flying bombs and V2 rockets he led his flight of
four Spitfires in dive-bombing attacks against the heavily
defended Dutch launch sites, anti-aircraft fire streaming
past their aircraft.
Herbie dive-bombed railways,
bridges, the Shell Mex building in the Hague, heavy gun
positions and a garage near Hague Station; machine gunned
trains. On one attack three squadron aircraft were hit by
Despite this his only injury
was when his Spitfire was struck by an inexperienced pilot
on a training flight over the North Sea. He crashed on
land after bouncing off the sea, suffering cracked ribs,
but was back in the air five days later.
And there were missions
protecting hundreds of Lancasters in attacks on Hamburg,
Nuremburg and the U-boat pens at Heligoland.
The squadron stood down with
the end of the war on 8th May 1945, but three days later
Herbie was part of the escort for German Ju52s bringing
VIPs for peace talks about Norway.
was demobbed in 1947 and returned to Guernsey, but you
can’t keep a good pilot on the ground. In May 1959 he was
called by a former trainee pilot in America, now Captain
L. Krazehovich and based at Weathersfield in England.
Would Herbie like to fly in a Super Sabre fighter? Herbie
would, and went supersonic. Which made his links with 201
Squadron and RAFA perfectly understandable.
RAF Cosford also
said the new date is "still to be arranged".
Both air shows
have said tickets can be refunded.
come after the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF
Fairford - one of the biggest air shows in the world -
was also cancelled on Friday.
What Animals Other Than
Dogs And Horses Are Used By The Military?
From dogs and
horses to camels, dolphins, elephants and weaponised
Dogs and horses
are well known companions of the Armed Forces but
dolphins, sea lions, monkeys, pigeons and elephants
all feature in the history of the militarisation of
A cat has even been recruited as
Insects have been weaponised.
There's an army of monkey
be thought of as war animals consigned to distant
historic battles – but there is one military force in
the world that still uses elephants today.
history, animals of all shapes and sizes have played a
crucial role in assisting the armed forces.
joined men and women in combat, played a vital
role in discovering the location of improved explosive
devices, been invaluable during search and rescue
operations, and helped transport troops - all while
protecting and supporting their human counterparts.
and insects to military working dogs and spy cats,
animals small and large have proven themselves time
and time again to be fiercely loyal and useful.
we take a look at a selection of animals and
the variety of different ways they have helped defence
in history, through the First and Second World
Wars to the present day.
well as their use dating back to battles in ancient
history, were used as late as the Second World
War in the Far East where it was difficult to use
bulky vehicles on unreliable roads.
The skill and
strength of earth's largest land animals mean they
were ideal for tasks like removing fallen trees
blocking roads or pulling aircraft into
For many, the term 'War Elephant'
conjures up images of military commander Hannibal
leading an army of elephants across the Alps during
the Second Punic War, 218 to 201 BC.
The elephants, or as Philip Ball, science
writer for The Guardian calls them, 'tanks of
classical warfare', were used to transport supplies
and men and their thick skin was almost impenetrable
by the enemy's spears and swords.
Gavin de Beer, Director of the British
Museum of Natural History (1950-60), explained in his
1955 study, ''Alps and Elephants'' why Hannibal might
have chosen to use the gentle giants. He wrote:
''Not only did the elephants' appearance,
their smell, and the noise of their trumpeting alarm
both men and horses opposed to them, but they were
highly dangerous when charged, fighting with their
tusks and their trunks and trampling down their
There is one place on earth where
elephants are still used by an armed force.
In Myanmar, the Kachin Independence
Army (KIA), branded by the government as a
terrorist organisation, defends its land, Kachin
State, against what it believes is domination by
The KIA military group uses elephants
because, while deep in the jungle, it is
difficult to bring in supplies any other way in the
Food, medicine and weapons, which any
other military might transport by a vehicle, are
easier to transport by elephant.
Jacob Shell, a geography professor at
Temple University and author of 'Giants of the Monsoon
Forest' and an expert on elephants, claims the
large mammals are the ideal animal to assist humans in
the jungle. He said:
“[Asian elephants] are evolved to be
mobile in precisely these sorts of conditions.
“They’re happy in the rain, don’t get
stuck in mud — the musculature in their feet
prevents this — and can ‘fuel up’ by eating the
bamboo shoots and other nutritious vegetation they
encounter as they traverse the landscape.”
Keeping Elephants Safe
On June 16, 2004,
the United States Army published a field manual (FM)
as a “guide for Special Forces (SF) personnel to
use when conducting training or combat situations
using pack animals.”
It captures some
of the expertise and techniques that have been lost in
the US Army over the last 50 years. However, at one
point, the FM makes it clear the material in the
manual “is not intended as a substitute for veterinary
expertise nor will it make a veterinarian out of the
The FM covers
animals like horses, donkeys and camels – all mammals
associated with transporting either people or items
over large distances.
However, it also
covers elephants, perhaps the largest animal used by
humans for combat and, in the modern period,
non-combat engineering and labour roles.
categorically states that because elephants are an
endangered species, after being drastically poached
for their ivory tusks for centuries, they should not
be used by US military personnel. According to the
World Wildlife Fund, the number of elephants has
decreased from an estimated 10 million in 1930 to as
little as 415,00 in 2016 across Africa.
To keep elephants
healthy, the FM recommends that elephants need
169 litres of water per day and they should
“quit work” in temperatures over 39.4C.
Elephants are no
longer used by British or American forces. Instead,
the British Army now plays a vital role
in keeping them safe.
Army is playing a crucial role in the fight to
prevent poaching. Teams from various regiments remove
traps set by poachers to kill endangered wildlife that
resides in places like Liwonde National Park in
Malawi, East Africa.
They also pass on
the latest operational techniques that could enhance
anti-poaching teams in Africa in their war on the
illegal trade in animal ivory, pelts and bones.
CIA project, codenamed ‘Acoustic Kitty’, was
launched during the Cold War in the 1960s to help the
United States spy on the Kremlin and Soviet
In the 1995 BBC
documentary ‘The Living Dead: Three Films About the
Power of the Past’, British filmmaker Adam Curtis
looked at the fascinating story of the cat whose
life’s purpose became to fight the Cold War.
former CIA employee and whistleblower Victor
Marchetti, the project cost around $25 million.
The idea was for
a veterinary surgeon to create a ‘spy cat’ by turning
the feline secret agent into a prowling audio
device by inserting technology into the animal via
surgery. Victor said:
“The cat that was used for the
experiment had to be cut open and have a power pack
placed inside its abdomen.
“Wires were run
up to its ear, to its cochlea, wires to its brain to
determine when it was hungry or sexually aroused and
wires to override these urges."
experiment did not go as planned. Once the scars had
healed, the cat was sent across the street to
eavesdrop on a conversation while being monitored.
Suddenly, everything changed. Victor said:
“As this poor
little monstrosity waddled across the street, a
taxicab came down and ran it over.
“So, it was $25
million down the drain.”
The Often Forgotten Hero Of
War - The Horse
Horses have been
right at the heart of military operations for
thousands of years.
During the First
World War, horses were a regular sight on the
Taken from farms
back home, they were sent into service alongside
soldiers, where they faced the horrors of trench
And they weren’t
just used to carry officers or cavalry
Every bit of kit
from candles to cannon was transported by horsepower.
By the end of
World War One, eight million horses died on all
As recently as
100 years ago, horses would have gone to battle, but
now the horses stay behind when the soldiers go to
moment to shine comes at state occasions such as royal
weddings and military parades.
Horses are still
used around the world, not only for military
ceremonies, but also as an aid to transport, alongsideother animals such
In 2010, a former
version of 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire
Regiment (1 YORKS), who were based in
Munster, Germany at the time, welcomed visitors at the
camp gate with some furry and sometimes
and Quebec were a gift to the battalion by a farmer
near their base.
During the First
World War, ferrets would be used when there were food
shortages. They would be encouraged down holes to
bring rabbits up to be eaten.
tradition of keeping ferrets has since declined but
Imphal and Quebec stayed with 1 YORKS until 2012.
The sharp-clawed pets had
their own passports and even wore little camouflage
jackets. Corporal Terry Walters, who was given the title
of 1 YORKS Ferret Handler, spoke to British Forces News
reporter Julie Knox in 2010 and said:
“On parade obviously they’ve got
their own jackets and we walk them up and down on
"People come up
to us and ask us questions about them and basically
the kids come up and stroke them and things like
Farmers In Afghanistan
In March 2011, a
Veterinary Teaching Initiative was established
by troops from Delta Company of Canterbury-based
5 SCOTS to help develop farming across Helmand -
assisting local veterinarians to tackle some of the
many problems arriving at their doors.
would bring their animals to clinics which were
supported by the Afghanistan Government. Some animals
had worms or internal problems. Others had been
injured and some had diseases from other countries or
The scheme was
led by Captain Lowe who spent time educating local
nationals on better ways to care for their animals.
The event was very popular; approximately 60 people
attended on the first day and more than 100 on the
second. Captain Lowe said:
“The aim of these
two days was to educate the local people on modern
methods of animal husbandry practices and medical
will help to make them more self-reliant and also help
to improve their livelihoods.”
The scheme was
designed to help boost farming, make it a viable
source of income to take people away from poppy
growing and to provide more food for the local
Bond Between Handler And Dog
There is a long
history of dogs in active military service – in
everything from serving alongside their handlers in
patrols, search and rescue missions, sniffing out arms
and explosives and working alongside military police
For instance, the
British Army’s Canine Training Squadron, part of the
Defence Animal Training Regiment, trains dogs for an
array of sectors within the Ministry of Defence, while
RAF Police train dogs to carry out searches of
airfields and bases among other defence and policing
Some of the world’s militaries
have used dogs as therapy and morale dogs, an
uplifting presence during deployments to conflict
zones, for example, oras a
mascot to keep up spirits.
One notable partnership in recent history
was that of the British Army's late LCpl Liam Tasker,
of the 1st Military Working Dog Regiment, who with his
devoted dog Theo, held a record for the most confirmed
finds of improvised explosive devices (IEDs)
ever, in the months before the pair died in the
service of their country while on deployment.
In just five months, they had
uncovered 14 Taliban roadside bombs and hidden
Their actions helped prevent the
potential deaths of countless numbers of British
On one occasion, the brave pair
discovered an underground tunnel leading to a room in
which insurgents were suspected of making bombs and
hiding from coalition forces.
Sadly, their incredible teamwork came to
an end on March 1, 2011, when
26-year-old Lance Corporal Tasker was shot
by insurgents while on patrol and died of his
Just hours later, Theo died after
suffering a seizure.
Theo was posthumously awarded the
PDSA Dickin Medal for his heroic
actions on 25 October 2012. His citation
“Without doubt, Theo’s actions and
devotion to his duties, while in the throes of
conflict, saved many lives.”
The medal is the highest award any animal
can receive for life-saving bravery in conflict.
Theo’s ashes accompanied his handler’s
coffin when they were repatriated, and the pair
were laid to rest together in Scotland.
Militaries Weaponised Insects?
2015, San José State University School of
Information lecturer and author Dr.
Susan L. Maret filed a
Freedom Of Information Request about
“DARPA’s role in the development and application of
Hybrid Insect Microelectromechanical Systems and
microelectromechanical (HI-MEMS) systems.”
Because of this request, the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) released an
88-page document about their vision for Hybrid
Insect Microelectromechanical Systems and Susan shared
this with the world when she published it all on
her blog in October 2016.
DARPA’s vision was to “create technology
to reliably integrate microsystems payloads on insects
to enable insect cyborgs.”
Insertion Technology (EMIT)
The document revealed experiments were
taking place in the 1940s to discover whether
microsystems could be reliably inserted into pupas for
insect control. They would cut pupas in half and
insert pipes for hormone transport. They said:
“... it is a challenge to implant
electronic systems to modulate the insect’s flight
without disturbing the insect’s own efficient flight
They were able to prove that when halved,
a pupa will still develop into a moth. They then
successfully inserted a glass tube to transport
hormones between the two halves. The next step was to
create a miniature flying cyborg by correctly
inserting microsystems to control the insect.
It was discovered that insertion during
the early or late pupae stage resulted in fair to good
electrical and mechanical coupling.
There were concerns whether
a Micro-Air-Vehicle (MAV) or insect-sized
autonomous aircraft would be able to create enough
lift or energy to work for long periods.
The 88-page document said:
“EMIT can benefit from any insect/animal
that has metamorphic development (moths, butterflies,
beetles, etc.) to create insect cyborgs with different
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency (DARPA) surprised many in 2006 with an unusual
They asked scientists to submit
"innovative proposals to develop technology to create
This caught the attention of Michel
Maharbiz, a professor with the Department of
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the
University of California, Berkeley
who specialises in extreme
miniaturization of technology.
He presumed that many scientists would
choose to experiment with moths, like in the
1940s or flies so he and his team chose to work with
beetles instead as they are sturdier.
Their work involved stimulating the left
and right wings of flower beetles to change its
A micro-backpack was attached to the
beetle and electrodes were connected to the
beetle’s optic lobes and flight muscles. Maharbiz
“In our earlier work using beetles in
remote-controlled flight, we showed excellent control
of flight initiation and cessation, but relatively
crude control of steering during free flight.
“Our findings about the flight muscle
allowed us to demonstrate for the first time a
higher level of control of free-flying beetles.”
This research could, in turn, lead to
making search-and-rescue operations in areas too
dangerous for humans much safer.
The US Navy
trains bottlenose dolphins as part of its Marine
mammals are trained to search for and mark the
location of undersea mines, either floating from an
anchor or buried in the seafloor.
The US Navy beganworking
the 1960s to help with mine detection and the design
of new submarines and underwater weapons.
maritime exercise in the world, The Rim Of The Pacific
(RIMPAC) takes place every other year in and around
the Hawaiian Islands and involves 25 countries,
including Australia, Brunei, Canada and the UK.
The US Navy uses
RIMPAC to carry out training with their bottlenose
dolphins as part of their mine countermeasure.
The mammals are
used in a simulated mine hunting session where they
are directed to seek out and mark simulated
Director of the Marine Mammal Research Program at the
Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology in Kāne‘ohe
Bay, says dolphins cannot be beaten when it comes to
dolphins] are better than any machine as far as
This is because
dolphin's sonar is so precise.
around their environment by sending out a series of
sounds that ‘bounce off’ objects found in the sea like
coral, whales and submarines. Just like bats, the
mammals pick up the return echoes and form an idea of
what is around them. This is known as echolocation or
Sea Lions And Beluga Whales
Sea lions and
beluga whales join dolphins in the list of sea
creatures used by armed forces around the world for
Russia and the
United States are among nations that have turned to
sea lions and belugas to bolster their marine and
television reported in 2017 that its military had been
carrying out experimentsto train beluga
whales and other marine creaturesto guard
naval base access points, work alongside armed forces
divers and even ward off intruders who entered
military marine territories.
American military has trained
marine animals such as Californian sea lions, as
well as dolphins, in experiments dating back to the
these marine creatures can detect and hunt out
undersea mines faster than their human
The US Navy
trains the animals to locate mines that are tethered
to anchors, floating or covered on the sea floor in
murky waters – an operation that humans often struggle
to carry out with such efficiency even with the best
Sea lions and
bottlenose dolphins are also trained to hunt down and
retrieve missing equipment that has been lost or
discarded during training exercises, such as unarmed
training ordnance like practice mines, and to identify
intruders in restricted military zones.
have excellent sonar abilities, sea lions have
excellent eyesight which allows them to carry out such
operations with a degree of efficiency over and above
Royal Navy's 'Dolphin Badge' is awarded to all
submariners who successfully pass their training to
join the Submarine Service.
started in the 1950s and the current badge has
been issued since 1972.
Pigeons And Other Birds
During the Second
World War, an arm of the British intelligence service,
known as MI14, is reported to have run a Secret Pigeon Service.
intelligence would parachute containers with the birds
over occupied European territories with a
questionnaire. Those pigeons that returned carried
messages useful to predict and counter-act German
A pigeons could fly at speeds of
up to 60mph, they were fast and efficient in
delivering coded messages from the front.
Their speed and
flight altitude made it difficult for snipers to pick
Forces paid civilian pigeons fanciers to look after
about a hundred pigeons for military use right up
until about 1950.
With the advent
of the Cold War, the majority of British pigeon
operations are believed to have shut down, but not the
documents revealed in 2019 how the CIA trained pigeons
to carry out clandestine spying missions by
photographing restricted sites inside the Soviet Union
during the 45 years of the Cold War, which stretched
from the late 1940s to the earlier 1990s.
other birds such as ravens, had been used to carry
bugging devices and other spying gadgets and leave
them on window sills.
By 1967, the CIA
was spending more than $600,000 (today's rough
equivalent of $2.2m, or £1.7m) on three programmes
which involved animals and spying operations.
militia are reported to still use pigeons in today's
conflicts. It emerged in 2016 that Islamic State had
turned pigeon fanciers themselves to train birds to
carry messages between some of their factions.
Liberation Army of China has enlisted the service of
macaque monkeys to defence aircraft from migrating
birds, which present the threat of bringing down
military planes by inadvertently flying into aircraft
commandos are keeping swathes of birds, in one of the
busiest migration routes for birds in the world, away
from air force jets in an animal operation that is
succeeded where human endeavour has failed.
Soldiers had been
using various tactics such as the setting
off firecrackers, firing guns, putting up
scarecrows and climbing trees to destroy nests but the
birds still kept on finding resting places around a
Chinese military base, the location of which has been
kept secret by Chinese state media in its reporting of
the monkey commandos.
It has been reported that the
monkeys are trained to destroy bird nests and scare
away birds in flight on command.
Yesterday marked the
35th anniversary of the horrific accident that cast a long
shadow over the entire RAF. This memorial was dedicated on the
3 July 2016 at RAF Cranwell, in memory of the RAF musicians of
the RAF Band who lost their lives along with an RAF Policeman
George Crawford and their coach driver in Germany on 11
Sqn Ldr Robin Tomsett
WO Gordon Harrison
FSgt Brian Hadden
Chief Technician Paul Jenkins
Chief Technician Philip Parker
Chief Technician Alun Thomas
Chief Technician Paul Woods
Sgt William Boyd
Sgt Brian Perry
Sgt John Pettit
Sgt John Tickle
Cpl William Buzza
Cpl Sean Cripps
Cpl Andrew Saunders
Junior Technician Simon Goodge
Junior Technician Andrew Mannas
Junior Technician Ian Smith
Junior Technician Philip Smith
Junior Technician Colin Wilson
Cpl George Crawford RAF Police
Herr Kronke the coach driver
all Rest in Peace.
Hundreds pay farewell to hero of nations, Jim
Auton, whose Royal Air Forces Association military funeral
took place at Newark Parish Church
He was a brave fighter of the
second world war, a lovely friend, a hero for Britain, for
Poland and my hero.
These were the words spoken by
seven-year-old Daniel Michalak at the funeral of Jim Auton,
a hero of the Warsaw Uprising.
There was concern that having no
family and being 95 years of age that the highly-decorated
Auton's funeral might not be well-attended.
An appeal featured in the
Advertiser saw to it that wasn't the case as every seat in
Newark Parish Church was filled, leaving some to stand while
others waited on the street outside.
Jim, of Newark, received a full
military funeral thanks to the efforts of the Royal Air
Forces Association who stepped in after it was learnt he had
no known family.
Representatives from a number of
grateful nations were in attendance, Poland, Czech Republic,
Slovakia, Canada and South Africa.
Former RAF Bomb Aimer Jim died
Many of those who attended
today's (Thursday) service came out of respect, having never
Among them were Michelle Woodruff
and Pauline Williams, from Newark.
"We came out of respect. We saw
it in the Advertiser and were worried that there wouldn't be
many people here.
"We couldn't let that happen
given what he did for the country."
Colonel Jiri Niedoba, Defence
Attache to Britain from the Czech Republic, said: "He was a
friend to Czech pilots in the second world war and it is our
honour to be here."
Derek Wardally, a former Corporal
in the Royal Engineers, said: "It was unbelievable to have
known someone of that stature. He always had plenty of
stories to tell — an amazing man."
Former RAF policeman Chris Gangel
said: "It was a privilege to have known him. He deserves
Jim was understood to be the last
surviving British member of the 1944 Warsaw Air Bridge — an
allied air forces operation to drop supplies to the Polish
The dramatic 63-day battle cost
the lives of over 150,000 civilians and destroyed large
parts of the city.
The service was conducted by the
Rev Paul Franklin who told the story of the man and the
The story was of a man of great
humour who had at times been tormented by his wartime
service and sought out former opponents afterwards in
Jim's Warsaw Uprising was
explained by Dave Baliol-Key. It heard how that when many
others turned back, Jim's crew persisted for 50 minutes on
the night of that first air drop over a burning city, and
amid heavy flak to locate the drop zone and ensure their
cargo of supplies reached the beleaguered Polish resistance.
The Consulate General of the
Republic of Poland, Leszek Rowicki, spoke of how he had had
the honour of meeting Jim in December when it was near to
the end and decorated him with Poland's highest military
honour that can be bestowed on a foreign national.
"He was a hero and someone I
would like to call a friend. May the bravery of Francis
James Auton never be forgotten," he said.
Jim was wounded during his 37th
mission with 178 Squadron at the age of 20, and lost sight
in his right eye.
After the war, he was awarded 20
medals by six different countries, including the Polish
Presidential Gold Order of Merit and the Soviet Union War
He turned down the opportunity to
work for British Intelligence and became an entrepreneur,
exporting goods around the world. He also helped to raise
substantial amounts of money for military charities and
received an MBE from Prince Charles.
Jim was responsible for the
creation of the Warsaw Air Bridge Memorial in 1989 —
another name for the airlift — in Newark Cemetery, which
stands next to the Polish and Commonwealth War Graves
After the service, he was
interred in a grave next to it that his treasured late wife
Peggy already occupied.
The memorial cross was erected to
commemorate both the Home Army and the 250 British, Polish
and South African airmen who died in support of the freedom
fighters of Warsaw.
Standards were lowered, the Last
Post and Reveille sounded either side of the silence as many
nations bid farewell to a hero.
Daniel Michalak threw and handful
of soil over Jim's coffin.
It was at the Airbridge services
that he and his parents befriended Jim.
"He was a brave fighter in the
second world war. He was a lovely friend," said Daniel.
"He was always telling stories,
which I loved.
"He was a hero for the Poles and
for the Brits."
Three Polish friends, Przemyslaw
Makowski, Daniel Wozniak and Mirek Przetacznik waited at the
side of the grave to lay flowers shaped in the Polish flag.
Przemyslaw said: "He was our
"We are very proud of people like
Daniel said: "We came to say
thank you and goodbye on his last journey."
Mirek said: "We make sure that
the memories for us never die."
Mick Jeffrey befriended Jim while
documenting his experiences for the RAF Bomber Command
Archive some ten years ago and looked after him until he
moved to Newark and Paul Trickett became his primary carer.
Mick and family proudly carried
Jim's medals and looked after his beloved dog, Lester, who
they'd taken along for his final goodbye.
"He was a brave and a modest man
at the same time and you very rarely get that," said the
Polish Defence Attache to Britain, Colonel Mieczyslaw Malec.
"There is seldom such a man.
"He was a son, father and
grandfather of Poland.
"Without men like Jim we would
not be free nations. He is a great example to follow.
"Today, in the sunshine, where
the birds sing, it is a sad day but also a lovely day
because we salute a hero. It is what he deserved for a
'Farewell and fly high Jim' -
300 attend funeral for Second World War hero who died with
'He was a witty man with an RAF twinkle in his eye'
RAFA arranged for the
Queen's Colour Squadron to carry Jim's coffin and for
a flypast of aircraft from RAF Waddington to pay
tribute - and put out an appeal for people to attend.
300 people attended the ceremony held today, Thursday
February 6, at St Mary Magdalene Church in Newark.
Personnel from RAF
Cranwell,RAF Waddingtonand the
Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in
Manchester, Leszek Rowicki, attended the funeral.
During the service, Mr
Rowicki read out a letter of thanks from the Polish
Government and his voice broke as he named Jim a 'true
friend of Poland'.
He said: "Jim was a
true friend to the Polish people.
"He was an acclaimed
hero who served both the British and Polish nations
and he never gave up on building bridges between us.
"When I saw him last, I
had the honour of placing the Commander's Cross around
his neck. I was grateful I got to meet him and spend a
few hours with him.
"Let him never be
forgotten. He is the epitome of brave."
Jim, who was born on
April 13, 1924, grew up on an active RAF airfield.
After witnessing the devastation of the Blitz, he
joined the RAF in the hope of becoming a Spitfire
pilot but eventually retrained as a bomb aimer.
Jim flew 37 missions
with 178 Squadron before he was injured at the age of
20, losing the sight in his right eye and suffering
injuries to his head and chest. He left the forces
He married his wife
Peggy, In March 1948, but she sadly passed away in
2016. After her death, Jim said he always missed her
Over the course of his life, Jim
established his own business and travelled the world,
making connections in high places.
He learned judo with
the Japanese Olympic team and even had dinner at the
Kremlin in Moscow, which led British intelligence
forces to attempt to recruit him twice due to his
Jim was awarded 20
medals throughout his life, including the Commander's
Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland,
which was handed to him in the final months of his
Ailsa Gough, divisional
manage for the RAF Association, had met Jim many times
and described him as a 'witty, handsome man with an
RAF twinkle in his eye'.
She said: "For all that
he achieved, he was a very modest man.
"He had a very dry
sense of humour, and dare I say it, an RAF twinkle in
"When you think about
all the lives that were saved because of what they
did. The bravery to fly so low over enemy territory,
under fire, is just outstanding.
"I think it's fantastic
that so many people have come out, it's an appropriate
First of RAF's new 'Russian submarine hunters'
arrives in Scotland
The Boeing P-8 Poseiden,
nicknamed the "Pride of Moray", made the transatlantic
crossing from Jacksonville in Florida.
first of the RAF's new £3bn fleet of spy planes has landed at
a military base in the north of Scotland.
maritime patrol aircraft will form a new squadron
responsible for hunting Russian submarines and protecting
the country's nuclear fleet.
Boeing P-8 Poseiden, nicknamed "Pride of Moray", made the
transatlantic crossing from Jacksonville in Florida - it
will operate in the Arctic and north Atlantic and can
perform a search and rescue role if needed.
is the first of nine ordered by the British government of
the aircraft. They will be delivered by 2021 and stationed
at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. The RAF has calculated that
nine is the fewest number of aircraft it needs to protect
the nuclear deterrent.
submarine activity has increased to Cold War levels as
Moscow looks to assert claim over the Arctic and pushes its
naval forces close to NATO territory. On one occasion last
October the Russian Navy put ten submarines at sea in the
High North at the same time.
P-8s will drop sonobuoys, small buoys with an attached sonar
system, into the sea to monitor enemy submarine
movements.They can operate as high as 41,000ft and as low as
200ft above the water; they will also carry Harpoon
anti-ship missiles and torpedoes to defend against
is eight years since its predecessor, the Nimrod, stopped
flying in 2012. Britain has relied on allies to protect its
coastline in the intervening years.
RAF fleet will operate closely with US and Norwegian allies
to cover a region of recent heightened military activity.
Pentagon has injected £80m into new facilities at RAF
Lossiemouth so that their aircraft can be stationed at the
Scottish base if necessary.
Poseidon MRA1 is a game-changing Maritime Patrol Aircraft,"
said the Chief of the Air Staff Mike Wigston.
am delighted and proud to see the 'Pride of Moray' and her
crews returning to maritime patrol flying from Scotland,
working alongside the Royal Navy to secure our seas and
protect our nation. Russian submarines have nowhere to
arrival was watched by senior figures in government and the
armed forces, include Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
said: "Our Poseidon fleet will soon join an integrated UK
force of fighter jets, ships, submarines, helicopters and
highly-trained Royal Marines, ready to operate in Arctic
conditions. The UK will not stand by if peace in the Arctic
region is threatened.
Lossiemouth's strategic northerly location makes it one of
the most important air stations in the UK: already home to
half of the UK's Typhoon Force, and now sitting at the heart
of our anti-submarine operations."
Stunning Typhoon flypast in Lincoln sees Guy Gibson's
wings return to the skies
The 'wings' of Commander Guy
Gibson were inside
Anyone looking skywards
in Lincoln today may have caught a glimpse of an RAF
Typhoon jet on a very special mission.
The iconic jet performed
a flypast over the city just after noon today, Friday,
January 24, while carrying the 'wings' belonging to
legendary Second World War airman Guy Gibson.
The 'wings' badge, which
is used to signal that a member of the RAF is a pilot,
was on one of Wg Cmdr Gibsons uniform at RAF Coningsby
after he was killed in action in 1944.
The flypast was arranged
to mark the opening of the 'Bastion in the Air: A
century of Valour' exhibition at The Collection Museum
in Lincoln that features Gibson's Victoria Cross medal
that he won for leading the Dambusters mission in 1943.
The pilot of the Typhoon
said: "Guy Gibson flew most of his operations from
Lincolnshire, at Scampton and here at Coningsby.
"It’s a huge honour and
privilege to be asked to carry his wings with me as I
fly over Lincoln today."
female RAF Regiment Gunner to complete 20-week course
23 Jan 2020
first femaleRAF Regiment gunner
has successfully completed the 20-week course required
to join the RAF Regiment and graduates atRAF HoningtonSuffolk,
Aircraftman Georgia Sandover (19) of Kings Lynn,
Norfolk, said she always wanted to join one of the
services. While attending the College of West
Anglia she completed the uniformed services course and
was inspired by one of her teachers who happened to be
ex-RAF Regiment to join.
am really proud and thrilled that all of us on the
course graduated today. We have all supported one
another from beginning to end and without that support
we wouldn’t be here today. I am looking forward to my
posting and can’t wait to get on with my new
job. To anyone that is thinking of joining the
RAF Regiment, male or female, I say ‘Don’t be afraid
to give it a go"
is one of 18 gunners who have now successfully completed
their phase 2 training at RAF Honington to become RAF
graduate is now welcomed into the family that makes up
the RAF Regiment that delivers globalForce Protectionfor the
Royal Air Force. They will now be posted to one of the
RAF Regiments field squadrons and immediately commence
mission specific training for contingency
Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, Secretary of State for Defence
said:“My congratulations to
all those graduating today which includes the first
female regular serving RAF Gunner. The RAF Regiment
will benefit from increased diversity and I wish
Georgia and all her colleagues the very best for the
RAF Regiment Gunners graduating today can be very
proud of everything they achieved to get where they
are. We are equally proud of them because they include
our first regular service female Gunner, making
history with every role in the Royal Air Force now
open to all.”
Air Chief marshal
The Chief of the Air Staff
promise to veterans with new railcard
Military veterans to get
cut-price train travel to help boost job prospects and
bring them closer to family and friends.
new railcard, available from
Armistice Day this year, will help boost
veterans’ job prospects and strengthen family
bonds through cheaper travel
over 830,000 eligible for a third
off their fares, saving veterans and their
families hundreds of pounds a year
discount forms part of
government’s new veterans strategy to support
former servicemen and women
veterans will get cut-price train travel to help
boost job prospects and bring them closer to family
and friends, with a new railcard on sale from
Armistice Day, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps
announced today (22 January 2020).
Armistice Day this year, the railcard will extend
discounted train travel to the more than 830,000
veterans not covered by existing discounts.
veterans at St Pancras railway station, the
Transport Secretary and the Minister for the Cabinet
Office underlined the government’s commitment to
supporting former service personnel and recognised
their service to the country.
Secretary Grant Shapps said:
Every part of society should honour
the debt we owe those who’ve served our country.
I’m proud that the Department for Transport,
together with other government colleagues and the
rail industry, is doing its bit.
railcard will help open up opportunities to
veterans, whether through employment and
retraining, or by strengthening links with friends
and family. I believe that enabling former service
personnel to travel more easily is the least we
money-saving announcement, delivering on a manifesto
commitment, forms part of the government’s veterans
plan, which is also being launched today, outlines
what government is doing to deliver more for our
veterans and sets out holistic support for those who
served, in areas including community and
relationships, employment and skills, health and
wellbeing, finance and debt, housing, and contact
with the law.
Minister Oliver Dowden, who represents the Office
for Veterans Affairs (OVA) in Cabinet said:
The Office for Veterans’ Affairs was
set up to get things done for our veterans. I am
pleased to see that theOVAis
already able to show it is achieving just this,
working with the Department for Transport to
deliver this railcard.
action plan will help to make the UK the best
place in the world for veterans. The Office for
Veterans’ Affairs will drive the plan from the
heart of government, working to help veterans on
jobs, housing and health, through better data and
a more joined up approach.
Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said:
Discounted train travel is a
fantastic way to recognise those who have served
this country, and the speed at which plans have
been worked up shows how seriously we are taking
our commitments to make the UK the best country in
the world to be a veteran.
The railcard is only the start
though, and I’m clear we need to do more to look
after the people who so selflessly put their lives
on the line to look after us.
action plan has been published, I look forward to
continuing to drive forward this issue across
government and the services we offer.
government is also releasing its response for the
consultation into the veterans strategy, which
includes an action plan on how the Office for
Veterans’ Affairs will coordinate departments to
help veterans over the next 2 years.
responses to the consultation underlined the need
for a more coordinated approach to veterans support.
Other key findings include a call to promote a
positive perception of veterans and a need to
increase awareness of the support already offered
from across central and local government.
enquiries020 7944 3021
hours media enquiries020 7944 4292
Thousands Pay Tribute To Fallen At National Memorial Arboretum
The annual ride brings people from all across the UK and
further afield together to remember those who ‘can no longer
ride by our side’.
More than 7,000 motorcyclists have gone to the National
Memorial Arboretum to pay tribute to those commemorated on the
Armed Forces Memorial.
The ride has been taking place each year since 2007, with
people attending from across the UK and overseas.
There are 11 designated start locations across the country,
with the majority of the bikers heading together to the
National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
As part of the annual tradition, the motorcyclists are saluted
by Northern Ireland veteran David Andrew for five hours as
A service of remembrance took place at the Arboretum once all
bikers had arrived, with Anthony Cooper laying a wreath at the
Armed Forces Memorial.
Anthony was injured in Afghanistan by an IED, losing both
legs, his right eye, two fingers on one hand and fingertips
from the other.
Anthony Cooper during Ride to the Wall
Philippa Rawlinson, Managing Director of the National Memorial
Arboretum, said: "This is my first ever Ride to the Wall and
the sight of thousands of riders streaming in to pay their
respects is simply incredible.
"Today provides a fantastic example of people coming together
from across the UK and further afield to pay their respects in
their own way."
Martin Dickinson, Founder of Ride to the Wall, said: “Each
year we gather at Ride to the Wall to remember those who can
no longer ride by our side.
"We ride to make sure that the names on the walls of the Armed
Forces Memorial will never be forgotten."
The annual ride has generated almost £1 million to the
National Memorial Arboretum, with the event raising £151,000
in 2018 alone.
Photo gallery: Benches at Castle Dyke and
the Broad Street war memorial in Stamford commemorate 100
years of the First World War, the Royal Air Force and RAF
Take a look at these photos featuring three distinctive
new benches installed in Stamford to commemorate the 100th
anniversary of the First World War, the Royal Air Force and RAF
Stamford-based photographer Don Lambert was
behind the idea, and lots of people and businesses
contributed to make the project happen.
The benches can be seen on the corner of Castle
Dyke and Bath Row in Stamford, and by the war memorial in
included Alex Pistolas, Ash Ltd 2, Peter Stevens, Maureen
Jalili, Patricia Reed, Paul Mills, Andrew Moore, Dave Hudson,
Tom Riley, The Green Man, Stamford Endowed School, Vision
Express Stamford, the M&S staff, Sue Bishop, The Crown
Hotel, Stamford Civic Society and Stamford Town Council Grant
contributed part of their annual community grants and gave
personal donations included David Brailsford, Brian Sumner,
Brenda Sumner, Bill Turner, Mike Exton, Breda Griffin, David
mayor Tony Story, who is retired from the RAF, said: “Don and
I would like to thank everyone involved for their generosity
and support given to help create this permanent memory in
Stamford of those who fell in both World Wars and later
conflicts, and the special relationship between RAF Wittering
is hoped these visual and tactile reminders of the past
century’s conflicts will be seen and used by all age groups
including our younger generations acting as a permanent
reminder of sacrifices made to ensure our freedom today.”
of the benches features eight silhouettes of RAF aeroplanes
alongside its red, white and blue roundel.
Tony Keeling, Station Commander at RAF Wittering, said: “A big
thank you to Don and Tony for bringing this project to life.
They’re beautiful designs and I’m certain these benches will
be very well used over the coming years.
makes it special is the way that local people, businesses and
organisations have funded this project.
is an expression of the genuine goodwill the people of
Stamford have for the Royal Air Force. That goodwill makes a
real difference to us at Wittering.”
THE Queen’s Flight will be back at RAF Benson this month for
the first time in almost 25 years.
The Royal Air Force’s VIP transport Squadron, 32 (The Royal)
Squadron, will return to its historic home temporarily until
The short relocation is necessary due to runway resurfacing
work takling place at RAF Northolt in West London, where 32
Squadron is currently based.
The Queen’s Flight was established as the King’s Flight at RAF
Benson in 1936, when Edward VIII was on the throne, and
remained there for more than half a century.
In 1996, 32 (The Royal) Squadron was formed at RAF Northolt
from the merger of the Queen’s Flight and 32 Squadron to
provide VIP transport to UK military and government leaders.
Group Captain Adam Wardrope, station commander at RAF Benson,
said: “In our 80th anniversary year, we are delighted to
temporarily welcome 32 (The Royal) Squadron back to RAF
Benson. We have been working closely with our colleagues at
RAF Northolt to ensure that we can deliver the same
outstanding level of service to their passengers while
minimising the impact on our local community.
“While those in the local area will see BAe 146 aircraft, and
on occasion small helicopters transporting passengers,
operating alongside the RAF Benson Puma and Chinook
helicopters for the period, we do not expect there to be a
significant increase in air traffic.
“We are also working closely with other local airspace users
to ensure that air safety is maintained for all.”
At times, there will also be visiting Leonardo AW109
helicopters, which are similar in size to the Puma helicopters
that have operated at Benson for many years
Wing Commander Caz Viles Officer commanding 32 (The Royal)
Squadron, said: “RAF Benson is the historic home of VIP flying
for the Royal Air Force, so we are grateful and honoured to
return there during the runway works at Northolt.
“Although the squadron’s location will be different our role
remains the same: to get the right person to the right place
at the right time.
“The Northolt and Benson teams have been working together
brilliantly to make that happen.”
In October, a £23 million contract to resurface the runway at
RAF Northholt was awarded to Lagan Aviation Infrastructure.
The work will extend the life of the runway by 10 to 15 years
and ensure military flying operations continue.
RAF Northolt, which is the last military airfield inside the
M25, is home to 33 supported units.
RAF Benson says it cannot give details of aircraft operations
but does not expect there to be a “significant” impact on the
community. It has asked residents to remain vigilant and
report anything of a suspicious nature to the RAF Police or
Military Provost Guard Service at RAF Benson on (01491) 837766
ext 7450 or (01491) 827247.
Meanwhile, the base has asked Benson Parish Council for
permission to erect “no drone zone” signs in areas that are
likely to be used for drone flying, notably Sunnyside
recreation ground. Areas falling within 5km of the airfield
are inside the zone.
Benson Parish Council chairman Bill Pattison said: “There will
be signs going up in places where they think people might go
and fly a drone. It’s so open around here it could be
“With the possibility of dignitaries being in the area now as
well, they are going to be really stringent.”
Councillor John Sharman asked if the base would consult with
the council, saying: “I don’t like signs.”
Cllr Pattison replied: “They have said they are not going to
go silly with it.”
AN RAF base will celebrate an almost century-long
existence with a series of specially-arranged visitor
sessions before it closes next year.
RAF Linton-on-Ouse was built in 1937
and served as an important part of Britain's
defence in the Second World War.
It also became a training
base for Royal Air Force and Royal Navy
In July 2018, the Ministry
of Defence, who own the site, announced its
permanent closure would take place in 2020.
But in a series of 'last
opportunities' for members of the public to
visit the Memorial Room, a museum-like space
in memory of the fallen, pre-arranged guided
tours will begin until the site is almost
An RAF spokesperson said:
"RAF Linton-on-Ouse has performed with
distinction in its important roles in the
"Apart from flying many
bombing raids over enemy territory during
World War Two, losing over 1300 aircrew in
the process, its fighters were an integral
element of the nation's air defences from
1946 to 1957.
"The Memorial Room at
Linton will be opening on a pre-booked basis
to members of the public on a selection of
Sunday afternoons this year.
"It will open at 2pm for
guided tours on April 7th and subsequently
on the first Sunday every month, up to and
"This year’s visits may
well be the last opportunities for members
of the public to view the Memorial Room
prior to the RAF drawdown from the site."
The guided tours will be
free, and visitors are advised to register
to call 01347-847660. Larger groups are
advised to call 01347-847673.
New veterans ID
cards rolled out to service leavers
All service leavers will receive a
new ID card to mark their time in the armed forces.
A new ID
card for armed forces veterans, which will help them
access specialist support and services, has started
to be issued to service leavers.
any personnel who have left the military since
December 2018 will automatically be given one of the
new ID cards, which will allow them to maintain a
tangible link to their career in the forces.
allow veterans to easily verify their service to the
NHS, their local authority, and charities, helping
them to access support and services where needed.
veterans will be able to apply for a new ID card by
the end of this year, to mark their time in the
for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said:
a huge debt of gratitude to the ex-forces
community, and we are working hard to ensure they
receive the support they deserve.
cards celebrate the great commitment and
dedication of those who have served this country,
and I hope they can provide a further link to
ex-personnel and the incredible community around
- which manages pensions and compensation payments
for the armed forces - local authorities, service
charities, NHS and GPs will also benefit from the
change, as they will not have to conduct
time-consuming checks to identify individual
The new ID
card is one of three that are available to service
leavers. Personnel leaving the armed forces are also
able to keep their military IDs, known as the MOD
Form 90, allowing them to maintain their emotional
connection with their service. Additionally,
veterans can access a range of discounts through the
Defence Discount Service, the official MOD-endorsed
service for the armed forces.
saw the launch of theStrategy for our
Veterans, published jointly by the UK, Welsh
and Scottish Governments, which sets out the key
areas of support for those who have left the armed
this Thursday (21st February).
relevant Government departments have a
responsibility to ensure that the military community
is treated fairly, and not disadvantaged by their
service, as part of the Armed Forces Covenant. The
new ID cards will ensure the process of validating
service is as straightforward as possible, so that
ex-forces personnel can access support for issues
related to their service quickly, where needed.
will complement the NHS’ commitment to providing
specialist health support for veterans in every part
of the health service, enabling ex-service personnel
in England, Scotland and Wales to access treatment
where they have been affected by their service. Last
year, NHS England announced that dedicated mental
healthcare services are up and running in every part
of the country, backed by £10 million of investment,
with increasing numbers of GPs and hospitals
becoming ‘Veteran Aware’, in order to fully address
the needs of those who have served.
in need of support can contact theVeterans’ Gateway– the
24 hour service which signposts ex-forces personnel
to the wide range of support available to them,
including housing and financial advice, career
guidance, and medical care from the NHS. Since being
set up in 2017, the Veterans’ Gateway has already
received over 20,000 contacts, advising ex-forces
personnel and their families.
Security guard is fined £430 for attaching blue lights
to his girlfriend's Ford Mondeo and taking an armband marked
'RAF police' while on patrol
Clive Eglen, 52, was
stopped driving his girlfriend's Ford Mondeo in April 2018
He claimed he used the
car to patrol private land for a car boot and storage firm
Magistrates heard Eglen
had purchased the blue flashing lights on eBay
He denied a charge of
impersonating a police officer at an earlier hearing
A security guard who fitted
flashing blue lights to a car and bought a peaked cap and
‘RAF police’ armband to use while on patrol has been fined
Clive Eglen, 52,
attached blue warning beacons and black and white chequered
transfers to his girlfriend’s Ford Mondeo.
Eglen, from King's Lynn,
Norfolk, appeared in Magistrates’ Court yesterday where he
received a fine of £430 for using the the lights on a non
Eglen from King's Lynn, Norfolk, was fined a total of £430
for fitting blue flashing lights to his girlfriend's Ford
security guard denied impersonating a police officer when
he was stopped on April 26
an 'RAF police' armband and a peaked cap when they
searched the car
was shown pictures of the dark green 51-plate Mondeo with
black and white chequered transfers on its sides and rear
judge also heard an armband marked ‘RAF police’ and a peaked
cap was also found in the vehicle.
stopped by police in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, on April 26 last
year and told police during an interview that he used the
car as part of his work as a security officer.
who was originally charged with impersonating a police
officer, but denied this in a hearing last July, pleaded
guilty to having blue warning beacons fitted.
Hugh Cauthery told the court on Monday that Eglen found the blue
lights on eBay and believed he could use them on private land.
bought the car about three years ago for £400 and said he used
it informally for security purposes, driving it only on private
Eglen said he bought the car
three years ago for £400 and used it informally for security
purposes and driving it only on private land
The defendant had been asked by
the owners of a car boot and storage company, who were having
trouble with the travelling community, to use his vehicle as a
Mr Cauthery told the court that
the vehicle was never used on a public road with flashing lights
and that nowhere on the car did it say ‘police’.
Eglen had been stopped a number
of times by police with lights fitted to his vehicle but no
concerns had been raised before the instance last April.
The Ford Mondeo had since been
impounded but the court allowed it to be released after
instructing Eglen to remove the lights and anything that makes
it look like an emergency vehicle.
Eglen was fined £300 and
ordered to pay £100 costs and £30 victim surcharge.
After receiving his court bill,
Eglen apologised to the court and said he did not know it was
illegal to have blue lights on a car even if it is not being
used on the road.
Council leaders sign off
£400,000 to help build permanent home for Doncaster’s XH558
Council leaders and South
Yorkshire metro mayor Dan Jarvis have agreed to give £400,000
to help build a permanent home for the iconic XH558
Vulcan bomber. The Sheffield City Region Combined
Authority signed off sum to the Etna Project Heritage
Hanger, which will house the famous Cold War era
aircraft at Doncaster Sheffield Airport. The money
is set to provide a secure and permanent base for the
restored bomber and other heritage assets. Space will
also be made available for conferences, corporate and
private events and educational activities for young
people aged 7-14. It will also provide an ideal airfield
viewing area and create a total of 25 jobs. SCR bosses
predict the scheme will generate 4.3 million to the local
economy over 10 years. Dr Robert Pleming, speaking on
behalf of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust ,said:“The funding from
the Sheffield City Region will be vital in delivering this
heritage hangar, ensuring that XH558 is given the home she
deserves and that the public can once again visit this iconic
aircraft. “We look forward to being able to announce the
completion of contractual arrangements, and will keep
supporters of the Vulcan up to date with our progress.”
New radar at Saxa Vord
In the footsteps of the Dambusters: Walking with
ghosts in Lincolnshire
617 Squadron (Dambusters) At Scampton, Lincolnshire, 22 July
The 617 Squadron at Scampton CREDIT: GETTY
Chris Leadbeater, travel writer
16 MAY 2018 • 8:30AM
A bomb before dinner seems a lot to digest, but there it is anyway
– tucked beside the Twenties swimming pool, which has been turned
into a fountain. It looks, at first glance, like a heavy roller
for a cricket pitch, idle between innings. But a sign in front
reveals the truth – that this is a prototype of the famous
“bouncing bomb” cleverly devised by the British genius Barnes
Wallis to target German dams in the heat of the Second World War.
It looks oddly at home on the lawn of the Petwood Hotel, the
evening sun slanting across it. I have slipped out of the
restaurant and across the terrace to inspect it – and as I do so,
I hear a cascade of exuberant laughter from the lounge. Ghosts
adrift on the early summer breeze? In a property built in 1905,
which became a hotel in 1933, this seems almost within the realms
The prototype of the famous “bouncing bomb” looks oddly at home on
the lawn of the Petwood Hotel CREDIT: DOUBLE RED/JAMES WRIGHT
The source of the mirth is a table of guests and a bottle of rosé
– but the idea of guffaws echoing down the years is not so
far-fetched. Petwood may have settled into a groove as a luxury
retreat in the Lincolnshire village of Woodhall Spa, but it is
still revered for having been the officers’ mess of the RAF’s 617
Squadron in 1944 and 1945. These dashing aviators called it “a
splendid place remote from battle”. And they had earned their
On the night of May 16-17 1943, 133 of them had flown 19 Lancaster
bombers towards Germany as part of Operation Chastise – a daring
attack on the Möhne, Edersee and Sorpe dams in the Ruhr valley,
with Wallis’s new bombs as a spear-tip. Largely a success, the
raid made a celebrity of the squadron’s commanding officer Guy
Gibson, and landed his men the joyful nickname “Dambusters”.
It is a word, and a mission, which has stuck fast to the British
consciousness. This week, its 75th anniversary will be marked with
everything from flyovers to nationwide screenings (Thursday) of
the 1955 film that transported the derring-do to the cinema (with
a DVD re-release to come, on June 4).
Petwood remains a treasure trove of memories, the Squadron Bar
preserved as a salute. In a photo in one corner, Gibson stands on
the terrace, flashing the cocksure smile that characterised his
existence; above the fireplace, a frame of black and white shows
the entire 617 Squadron at their home base, RAF Scampton – five
long rows posed formally in front of a Lancaster, amid the puddles
of July 9 1943. The sturdy tree limb above the bar apparently
became wedged in the front of one of the bombers on 617’s other
fabled mission – to assist in the destruction of the German
battleship Tirpitz, on Nov 12 1944.
There are further echoes in the area: the memorial to the squadron
on Royal Square in Woodhall Spa, where 204 men are listed as dying
on duty in the Second World War, the words “Australia”, “Canada”
and “New Zealand” after some of the names re-emphasising the
global nature of the conflict; and Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage
Centre in East Kirkby, which has one of the three Lancasters still
Then there is the soul of the Dambusters, RAF Scampton – still a
functioning base, but one that lets civilians peek at
infrastructure, which sings of 1943. Upstairs in the RAF Scampton
Heritage Centre, Gibson’s office has been restored to its
appearance in 1943 – a dial-telephone on the desk, a pipe and
ashtray, a pair of leather gloves, a chalkboard detailing the
personnel for the May 16 mission.
A still from The Dam Busters, a 1955 retelling of the
A still from The Dam Busters, a 1955 retelling of the mission
CREDIT: STUDIO CANAL
There is context, too, in the next room, where a board names all
133 airmen who flew that night, with a poppy – 53 in all – next to
each who did not return. And there is a frisson to entering the
hangar behind, and knowing that it was here where the Lancasters
The hangar is currently given over to Bastion in the Air, an
exhibition that examines Lincolnshire’s role in the air-defence of
the realm during the First World War, via artefacts as varied as a
new-build Sopwith Camel, and an officer’s cricket bat, taken to
the Somme. It is part of a drive to celebrate the county’s links
to aviation – which will bear further fruit in November with the
unveiling of an art installation, next to the A46 at Hill Holt
Wood, which will mimic the Angel of the North, but take the wing
of a Lancaster as the core facet of its design.
“Lincolnshire has been at the forefront of flight in this country
for more than a century,” says David Harrigan of Aviation Heritage
Lincolnshire – an RAF veteran who has been instrumental in the
exhibition’s creation. “It’s been that way since the first German
zeppelins came over, using the Humber as a navigational aid.”
Breaking Of The Möhne Dam
The breaking of the Möhne Dam CREDIT: GETTY
Bastion in the Air extends to The Collection, a museum at the
heart of Lincoln – a city that understands its heritage. Its
cathedral marries 11th-century magnificence to 20th-century
remembrance in its trio of military chapels – including the
Airmen’s Chapel, with stained-glass tributes to the men who flew
and died with Bomber Command. Its castle manages a similar leap in
time, visibly Norman in shape, but mighty enough still for its
Observatory Tower to be used as a lookout point in the Forties.
The Guy Gibson Lancaster bomber
The Guy Gibson Lancaster bomber CREDIT: GETTY
From the tower, I can see the latest addition to the view.
International Bomber Command Centre opened on the outskirts of the
city in April, arranged around a spire of weathering steel which,
at 102ft, replicates the wingspan of a Lancaster. The curves of
the same metal that radiate out around this elongated epicentre
are inscribed with the identities of those who lost their lives in
the war fighting for UK-based bomber squadrons.
“That’s 57,861 people,” says the centre’s director Nicky Barr,
“pretty much the capacity of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.” She
pauses, then adds: “There are no honours or ranks on these walls.
We decided that, at the exact time of sacrifice, everyone was
"Petwood remains a treasure trove of memories, the Squadron Bar
preserved as a salute" CREDIT: GETTY
There is also equality within the centre, which balances honouring
wartime heroism and acknowledging the damage. A video introduction
to the main exhibition reminds the viewer that “almost a million
people across Europe died as a result of bombing”. Screens show
interviews with veterans – re-created by actors – which include
the testimonies of Luftwaffe pilots who had to face the
Lancasters. Items such as an Italian board game teaching children
air-raid precautions underscore the terror on the ground.
But then you emerge to images of British airmen, in their 90s, and
you are reminded that this era is slipping beyond living memory –
George “Johnny” Johnson, the final surviving Dambuster, is now 96
– and of the human beings behind these legends.
Where to stay
Double rooms at Petwood Hotel (01526 352411; petwood.co.uk) cost
from £99, including breakfast.
Iconic Vulcan bomber WILL have
new home after hangar plans given thumbs up
new Vulcan Heritage Hangar and Visitor Centre is set to open in
The iconic Vulcan bomber will
get her much-anticipated new home after plans for a heritage
hangar and visitor centre were given the thumbs up by planners.
The Vulcan to the Sky Trust
revealed planning permission for their new project has been
approved after a decision taken just before Christmas.
This means the Vulcan's adoring
fans will be able to see her at a dedicated base atDoncaster
Finningley once it is built.
Speaking on behalf of the
Trust, Robert Pleming said: “This is a fundamental milestone
passed, with vital element of full funding for the build now to
"We are talking with a number
of interested potential individual investors with regard to
raising the total of £3million needed to complete the project,
with the hope of concluding negotiations by the spring.
"Our business model is
well-tested and will deliver an educational and inspirational
experience for over six million people within a one-hour driving
"It is believed that the
detailed internal design and construction can be completed
within 12 months, enabling a spring 2019 opening date.
"The full approval comes with a
few standard conditions for further surveys and environmental
reports that do not present any concerns to our appointed
The new Vulcan Heritage Hangar
and Visitor Centre will house Avro Vulcan XH558, the last
aircraft of Britain’s mighty V-Force that ceased flying in 2015.
The vulcan, which was once
based at RAF Waddington, was subject to a restoration project
supported mainly by public donations that gave a further eight
seasons of display flying beyond that achieved while she was
operated by the Royal Air Force.
The aircraft gained millions of
followers and generated what became known as ‘The Vulcan Effect’
at airshows across the country and Europe.
It is estimated over 25 million
people saw the aircraft around the United Kingdom and Northern
Ireland, many of whom would not have been born when the aircraft
type was fully operational in its original role.
The base project is spearheaded
by the RG Group’s Doncaster office, under the supervision of
director Dave Dixon. The trust says he has been driving forward
with the support of local and national construction companies
and suppliers, many of whom are offering materials and expertise
at cost or below usual commercial rates to help the charity
secure its new home.
Speaking on behalf of Doncaster
Sheffield Airport where the hangar is planned to be built on
land on the northern perimeter with access to the runway, chief
executive, Steve Gill, added: "This new development to house the
Vulcan can provide a truly outstanding visitor attraction that
along with other developments we are aiming to realise for the
airport site, will bring significant educational and tourism
benefits to the immediate area.
"The excellent motorway
transport links including the soon-to-be finished final section
of the Great Yorkshire Way right to the main terminal building,
will allow people from all over the country to easily visit the
"We look forward to working
with the Vulcan team on making their vision a reality."
Mr Pleming added: "This is the
first stage of an exciting plan the Trust is developing for 2018
and over the next 10 years.
"We will use the undoubted
attraction of Vulcan XH558 for the benefit of all, and
importantly future generations, both in what we can deliver
now in terms of inspirational experiences, and on what we can
promise through demonstrating, preserving and utilising
examples of Britain’s valuable aeronautical and engineering
The Trust plans that XH558 will
be joined by working exhibits and activities that will inspire
youngsters of all ages to become involved with aviation,
engineering and technology, through showcasing British design
and innovation from its world-leading aeronautical industry.
If you would like to help,
email Michael Trotter on firstname.lastname@example.org
RAF Northolt: Boris Johnson secures government pledge
to put cap on the number of commercial flights at RAF Northolt
Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP worked with cabinet colleagues
to limit flights to 12,000
West London MP and Foreign
SecretaryBoris Johnsonhas negotiated with
cabinet colleagues to cap the number of civilian flights at RAF
TheUxbridgeandSouth RuislipMP waded into the
debate over the future of RAF Northolt by demanding a limit to
the number of non-army flights to 12,000.
RAF Northoltlies within Boris
Johnson's constituency and has been allowing thousands of
private planes to land and take off from the aerodrome every
Some residents are concerned
that the airfield, which will close in spring 2018 for a £45
million renovation including runway improvements, is a ploy to
increase the number of civilian flights at the RAF site.
The increase in the number of
non-military flights at RAF Northolt over the last decade has
occurred without any local public consultations.
Commercial airline Flybe has
made many public calls to RAF to allow commercial flights to use
the spare capacity at RAF Northolt, which generates income for
Mr Johnson met with newly
appointed Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and Defence
Minister Tobias Ellwood to warned against commercialisation at
Writing to campaign group Stop
Northolt, he said: "I am delighted to have secured a firm
commitment from the Government that the strict limits on the
type and number of commercial flights - 12,000 annual movements
of civil registered aircraft - will stay in place and that
flights by scheduled airlines will remain prohibited."
The development came at the
same time as Sadiq Khan hinted at regulating growth of Northolt
as a non-military airfield, in his draft London Plan, which
"Any significant shift in the
mix of operations using an airport – for example introduction of
scheduled flights at airports not generally offering such
flights – should normally be refused."
The Ministry of Defence has
repeatedly maintained that the renovation is part of regular
maintenance works and that there are no plans to commercialise
RAF Northolt, and that it remains a key RAF site.
Veterans To Be
'Formally Recognised With Official ID Cards'
Britain's 2.5 million
veterans are to be formally recognised with their own
IDs to show they served in the armed forces.
will be issued with a new type of driving licence
stamped with 'V', according to The Sun.
A separate card will
be handed to those who do not drive, with the IDs
expected to be rolled out from next year, the paper
Speaking of Britain's
former Royal Navy, Army and RAF servicemen
and women, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
"Those who have
served deserve recognition for their sacrifice
throughout their lives and we will continue to make
sure that they get it."
The plans were first
mentioned by Tobias Ellwood, the minister responsible
for defence personnel and veterans, in the Commons in
He said the ID option
was part of Government plans to improve the
information it keeps about ex-military personnel.
Mr Ellwood, who was
in the Royal Green Jackets for five years, serving in
Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Germany, told The Sun he
was "delighted" about the introduction of the
He said: "As a former
soldier, I am aware of the personal attachment with
the service ID.
"Carried at all
times, it becomes symbolic of the responsibility and
there is a strange sense of loss when upon departing
the Armed Forces, it is taken from you.
"I'm delighted this
initiative, which sits in the Armed Forces Covenant,
will help us all better recognise our veterans and
their service to our country."
According to The Sun,
the cards will give veterans better access to
specialist services such as priority healthcare,
housing and retail discounts as well as giving a sense
of pride for having served their country.
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.
The unit was formed from dispatch riders, who ferried vital
messages around on battlefields - first on horseback, and then on
Their 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
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
A World War
II Spitfire engineer will be proudly re-presented with his
medals today thanks to the work of an RAF Association
will be the venue for a special ceremony for Ted Rexter-Baker.
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
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.
“It 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.
“It 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. ”
regular befriending visits, Gary discovered much of Ted’s
joined the RAF in September 1938 as a boy apprentice at RAF
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.
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
O’Connor, Director of Welfare and Policy at the Royal Air Forces
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
“If 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.
service should be shared, celebrated, and never forgotten.”
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.
Without 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.
The 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.
Secretary, 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’.
In the 1930s, Jurby was a dying
parish. The depression in agriculture resulted in its population
falling to fewer than 400 as people left to find work.
With 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.
By 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.
The 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.
At 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.
From 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.
Scans of photos can be emailed
to email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
UK Service personnel and civilians who took part in conflicts in
the Gulf region, Iraq and Afghanistan between 1990 and 2015.
The 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
Guests 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
Following 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 families.
Members 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.
Rare 1967 BSA RAF Police
motorbike goes under the hammer
A veryrare 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 theRAF
Police, is estimated to be worth£5,000 - 6,000,and is marked
with air force emblems.
The bike will
be sold at theCharterhouse
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 valuerMatthew
makes a different alternative to the civilian Police forceVelocette
affectionately known as Noddy bikes.”
Made by British
manufacturer Birmingham Small Arms Company, the 1967 BSA B40
is fitted with a350cc
engineand has been lovingly restored.
At its peak,
BSA, who also ownedTriumph,
was the largest motorcycle producer in the world.
It 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
current ownership, it was sympathetically restored and has
been much admired atclassic
However, the owner prefers to ride hismodern
electric start and has decided to sell the bike.
now accepting further entries for this specialist auction ofclassic
and vintage motorcycleson Sunday
February 5 which is held in conjunction with the hugely
Classic Motorcycle Showat The Royal Bath
& West Showground, Shepton Mallet.
also accepting entries of classic and vintage cars for the
following week also at The Royal Bath & West Showground.
runway ready for take-off after £35m re-build
Ready 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 world.
RAF 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
MPs 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 untrue The 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
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.”