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 Wittering
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 Wittering.
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 Broad Street.
contributing 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 Fund.
who 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 Taylor.
Stamford 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 and Stamford.
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.”
One of the benches features eight silhouettes of RAF aeroplanes alongside its red, white and blue roundel.
Captain 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.
“What 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
THE Queen’s Flight will be back at RAF Benson this month for the first time in almost 25 years.
Royal Air Force’s VIP transport Squadron, 32 (The Royal) Squadron, will
return to its historic home temporarily until October.
relocation is necessary due to runway resurfacing work takling place at
RAF Northolt in West London, where 32 Squadron is currently based.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 anywhere.
“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.”
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 pilots.
In July 2018, the Ministry of Defence, who own the site, announced its permanent closure would take place in 2020.
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 RAF's history.
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.
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.
will open at 2pm for guided tours on April 7th and subsequently on the
first Sunday every month, up to and including October.
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
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.
new ID card for armed forces veterans, which will help them access
specialist support and services, has started to be issued to service
today, 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.
cards allow veterans to easily verify their service to the NHS, their
local authority, and charities, helping them to access support and
services where needed.
All other veterans will be able to apply for a new ID card by the end of this year, to mark their time in the armed forces.
Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said:
owe a huge debt of gratitude to the ex-forces community, and we are
working hard to ensure they receive the support they deserve.
new 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 them.
UK - 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 veterans.
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.
Last year 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 forces.
Theconsultationcloses 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.
cards 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
Any veteran 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.
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
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
Eglen, 52, attached blue warning beacons and black and white
chequered transfers to his girlfriend’s Ford Mondeo.
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 Mondeo, pictured
security guard denied impersonating a police officer when he was
stopped on April 26
found an 'RAF police' armband and a peaked cap when they searched the
court was shown pictures of the dark green 51-plate Mondeo with black
and white chequered transfers on its sides and rear side windows.
The judge also heard an armband marked ‘RAF police’ and a peaked cap
was also found in the vehicle.
was 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.
52-year-old, 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.
mitigation, Hugh Cauthery told the court on Monday that Eglen found the
blue lights on eBay and believed he could use them on private land.
driver bought the car about three years ago for £400 and said he used
it informally for security purposes, driving it only on private land.
said he bought the car three years ago for £400 and used it informally
for security purposes and driving it only on private land
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 deterrent.
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
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.
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.
was fined £300 and ordered to pay £100 costs and £30 victim surcharge.
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.
leaders sign off £400,000 to help build permanent home for Doncaster’s
XH558 Vulcan bomber
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
off sum to the Etna Project Heritage Hanger, which
house the famous Cold War era aircraft at Doncaster Sheffield
Airport. The money is set to provide a secure and
base for the restored bomber and other heritage assets. Space
also be made available for conferences, corporate and private
events and educational activities for young people aged 7-14.
will also provide an ideal airfield viewing area and create a total of
25 jobs. SCR bosses predict the scheme will generate 4.3
to the local economy over 10 years. Dr Robert Pleming,
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 of possibility.
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 refuge.
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 in operation.
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 mission
A still from The Dam Busters, a 1955 retelling of the mission CREDIT:
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 were readied.
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 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 equal.”
"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.
Vulcan bomber WILL have new home after hangar plans given thumbs up
new Vulcan Heritage Hangar and Visitor Centre is set to open in Spring
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
Vulcan to the Sky Trust revealed planning permission for their new
project has been approved after a decision taken just before Christmas.
means the Vulcan's adoring fans will be able to see her at a dedicated
Finningley once it is built.
on behalf of the Trust, Robert Pleming said: “This is a fundamental
milestone passed, with vital element of full funding for the build now
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.
business model is well-tested and will deliver an educational and
inspirational experience for over six million people within a one-hour
is believed that the detailed internal design and construction can be
completed within 12 months, enabling a spring 2019 opening date.
full approval comes with a few standard conditions for further surveys
and environmental reports that do not present any concerns to our
new Vulcan Heritage Hangar and Visitor Centre will house Avro Vulcan
XH558, the last aircraft of Britain’s mighty V-Force that ceased flying
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.
aircraft gained millions of followers and generated what became known
as ‘The Vulcan Effect’ at airshows across the country and Europe.
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.
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.
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
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
look forward to working with the Vulcan team on making their vision a
Pleming added: "This is the first stage of an exciting plan the Trust
is developing for 2018 and over the next 10 years.
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 achievements.”
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.
you would like to help, email Michael Trotter on firstname.lastname@example.org
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
London MP and Foreign SecretaryBoris
negotiated with cabinet colleagues to cap the number of civilian
flights at RAF Northolt.
waded into the debate over the future of RAF Northolt by demanding a
limit to the number of non-army flights to 12,000.
within Boris Johnson's constituency and has been allowing thousands of
private planes to land and take off from the aerodrome every year.
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.
increase in the number of non-military flights at RAF Northolt over the
last decade has occurred without any local public consultations.
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 the MoD.
Johnson met with newly appointed Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and
Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood to warned against commercialisation at
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."
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 states:
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."
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
2.5 million veterans are to be formally recognised with their own IDs
to show they served in the armed forces.
personnel will be issued with a new type of driving licence stamped
with 'V', according to The Sun.
separate card will be handed to those who do not drive, with the IDs
expected to be rolled out from next year, the paper reported.
of Britain's former Royal Navy, Army and RAF
servicemen and women, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
who have served deserve recognition for their sacrifice throughout
their lives and we will continue to make sure that they get it."
plans were first mentioned by Tobias Ellwood, the minister responsible
for defence personnel and veterans, in the Commons in October.
said the ID option was part of Government plans to improve the
information it keeps about ex-military personnel.
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 initiative.
said: "As a former soldier, I am aware of the personal attachment with
the service ID.
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
delighted this initiative, which sits in the Armed Forces Covenant,
will help us all better recognise our veterans and their service to our
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.
White Helmets: Going Out On A High After 90 Years
Fans of the Royal Signals Motorcycle Display team have until the autumn
to watch them before they disappear for good.
'The White Helmets' have opened their season with a performance for
family and friends at Blandford Camp in Dorset.
However, time is running out for fans - the axe has fallen on the White
Helmets – meaning this is their final season.
Some have considered that the show isn't a reflection of the modern
work of the Royal Signals.
unit was formed from dispatch riders, who ferried vital messages around
on battlefields - first on horseback, and then on two wheels.
stunts have become legendary: a popular recruiting tool for the British
Army, and a chance for signallers to do something very different for a
couple of years.
This season will be the last for the Royal
Signals riders as they focus on core skills with particular emphasis on
digital and cyber operations.
The three-year posting involved performing at shows every weekend from
May to October.
World War veteran to be presented with new medals at RAF Northolt
World War II Spitfire engineer will be proudly re-presented with his
medals today thanks to the work of an RAF Association befriender.
Northolt will be the venue for a special ceremony for Ted Rexter-Baker.
94 year-old, who kept the Spitfires of 72 Squadron flying during the
war, had been awarded the Africa Star, the Africa Clasp, the Defence
Medal and the 1935-1945 Star, but they were all stolen.
November 2016, Ted has been visited by Air Vice-Marshal Gary Waterfall
as part of the RAF Association’s nationwide befriending scheme.
scheme pairs RAF veterans with volunteers from their
Befrienders visit regularly to chat, keep an eye out for the veteran’s
welfare, talk about life in the RAF and to make sure their contribution
is not forgotten.
was clear to me from the start of my relationship with Ted, that the
loss of his medals had taken a part of him with them,” Gary said.
was the least I could do to help him try to get them replaced.
ceremony to re-present them to him will be very special – a proud
moment for him and for his friends and relations who will be there too.
is very fitting to hold it at RAF Northolt too, given its historical
association with Spitfires. I’m looking forward to chatting about the
medals with Ted when I next visit him at home. ”
his regular befriending visits, Gary discovered much of Ted’s service
had joined the RAF in September 1938 as a boy apprentice at RAF Halton.
graduation he was posted to RAF Sealand before moving on to become a
Spitfire engineer with 84 Squadron – being posted as far as Tunisia.
served for more than 10 years and left from RAF Hornchurch, having
become a Senior Technician. He now lives in north London.
more than half of the UK Armed Forces veteran population aged 75 or
over, relationship/isolation issues affect approximately 170,000 RAF
veterans, with 85,000 of them specifically experiencing loneliness.
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 family.
you or someone you may know could benefit from befriending, we’d
encourage you to get in touch with us as no veteran should ever feel
lonely or isolated.
veteran’s service should be shared, celebrated, and never forgotten.”
is more than 50 years since there was an RAF station at Jurby, but its
legacy has made the parish what it is today.
Fayle (Sandra Kerrison's (nee Quaye) uncle) of the RAF Police
the right of the picture, pictured in front of the Guard Room, RAF
Jurby early 1940s.
the RAF, Jurby would have a tiny population, certainly not large enough
to support a school, shop, parish hall, industrial estate, motor
museum, motor sports and medical centre, as it does today.
Friends of Jurby Church are planning an exhibition about RAF Jurby, to
be shown in the church from August 17 - October 15, and they are asking
people to share their memories.
Sandra Kerrison said: ’Although the war years and the buildings are
quite well documented, we are especially looking for personal photos
and stories relating to RAF Jurby during the lifetime of the station
from 1939 to 1963. Anything relating to RAF Jurby is of interest. Many
of the people who lived in Jurby will have stories to tell as the RAF
station was such a big part of life in the parish’.
the 1930s, Jurby was a dying parish. The depression in agriculture
resulted in its population falling to fewer than 400 as people left to
war looming, the Air Ministry considered the flat low-lying farmlands
to be ideal for building an aerodrome and a bombing training station.
RAF Jurby opened in 1939, just after the outbreak of war as No. 5 Air
Observer School. Two months later it was renamed No. 5 Bombing and
Gunnery School. In the later war years it became No. 5 Air Navigation
and Bombing School.
the end of the war some 10,000 people had been trained at RAF Jurby and
RAF Andreas. Hundreds more were employed in the building of the
aerodrome and in staffing what was, in effect, a self-contained village
with its own cinema, church, shop and messes. There was employment not
just for the people of Jurby and the north but from across the island.
By 1951 the population had increased to over 900.
RAF station elevated Jurby to a new status, with visits by Air
Commodores, members of the royal family and the Lieutenant Governor.
Farmers became prosperous as they cultivated more land to meet the
increased demand. Station bands attended Tynwald Day and other civic
events as well as playing at local dances. Many local women married men
from the station.
the end of the war, RAF Jurby was an Air Navigation School and from
1946-47 an Air Gunnery School. From 1947-1949 it was under ’Care and
Maintenance’ and was re-opened in 1950 as an Initial Training School to
provide basic ground training to aircrew recruits.
1953 until the station closed in 1963 it was an Officer Cadet Training
Unit when children from the station attended local schools. This is the
period that many people today will remember.
of photos can be emailed to 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.
Afghanistan Memorial Memorialhonours
all UK Service personnel and civilians who took part in conflicts in
the Gulf region, Iraq and Afghanistan between 1990 and 2015.
Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of
Cambridge, Prince Harry, The Duke of York, The Earl and Countess of
Wessex, The Princess Royal and Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, The Duke and
Duchess of Gloucester, The Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra will
also attend the Service of Dedication, together with 2,500 invited
at the Service of Dedication will include current Service
veterans, representatives of departments and bodies including the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the National Health Service, and
representatives of various charities and aid organisations.
the Service of Dedication, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will
travel to Victoria Embankment Gardens, where Her Majesty will unveil
the Iraq Afghanistan Memorial in the presence of the Memorial Trustees,
together with individuals who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and their
of the Royal Family, led by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of
Cornwall, will then attend a reception on Horse Guards Parade for those
who attended the Service of Dedication.
1967 BSA RAF Police motorbike goes under the hammer
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
is marked with air force emblems.
bike will be sold at theCharterhouse
classic motorcycles onSunday
ex-RAF Police motorcycle is believed to be just one of three known
survivors as the vast majority of these bikes have been civilianised or
scrapped over the past 50 years,” said valuerMatthew
certainly makes a different alternative to the civilian Police forceVelocette
were affectionately known as Noddy bikes.”
by British manufacturer Birmingham Small Arms Company, the 1967 BSA B40
is fitted with a350cc
engineand has been lovingly restored.
its peak, BSA, who also ownedTriumph,
was the largest motorcycle producer in the world.
was bought as a retirement project by the owner and features its
correct and rare original fairing, blue light, higher handle bars and
RAF blue saddlebags, but sadly little is known its history in the RAF.
its current ownership, it was sympathetically restored and has been
much admired atclassic
However, the owner prefers to ride hismodern
its electric start and has decided to sell the bike.
is now accepting further entries for this specialist auction ofclassic
and vintage motorcycleson
Sunday February 5 which is held in conjunction with the hugely popularBristol
Classic Motorcycle Showat The
Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet.
is also accepting entries of classic and vintage cars for the following
week also at The Royal Bath & West Showground.
Waddington's 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
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 operations.
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 charities.
Crucially, Mr Johnson’s
bill would allow close family members of servicemen or women who have
died or been injured to wear their decorations at special
commemorations, effectively on their behalf, but within strict limits. “Both the sponsor of
the Bill and the other witnesses took the view that the unauthorised
and deceitful use of military decorations and medals is a harm that is
worthy of specific criminal prohibition,” the report concludes. “We support their
arguments that such behaviour is not only insulting to the rightful
recipients of these awards, but also damages the integrity of the
military honours system and the bond of trust and respect between the
public and the Armed Forces. “The enactment of
criminal prohibitions should always merit the most serious
consideration. “We conclude that there
is a tangible and identifiable harm created by military imposters
against members of society who should rightly be held in its highest
esteem. “Therefore, we believe
that specific prohibitions to mitigate this harm are justified.”