RAuxAF Officer Receives Two Accolades in One Day

 

On 30th September, Flight Lieutenant Amy Casey, a serving RAuxAF officer on 7644 Public Relations Squadron, received well-deserved accolades at two separate events.

At the first event, held in the magnificent surroundings of Dover Castle in Kent, she was among a small group of nominated individuals from emergency services, civilian agencies, and the armed forces who met Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, both of whom wished to express their personal gratitude to them all for their commitment and dedication whilst deployed in the fight against Covid-19.

Flight Lieutenant Casey, who, in her civilian job, can be heard daily on the British Forces Broadcasting Service, plays an important communications and engagement role for the RAF as a part time media specialist with 7644 Squadron, represented the Squadron at the event. Other RAuxAF attendees included personnel from 600 (City of London) Squadron. .  The Reservists explained their roles to the Princess and told why they had travelled from all over the UK to support Operation Rescript and Operation Rose in Kent, the code names of the military operations set up to support the United Kingdom’s fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.

Many of the Reservists gave up their Christmas and New Year, even using holiday from their civilian jobs to work with NHS staff in Covid Test Centres and help the tens of thousands of stranded continental lorry drivers who were trying to get across the English Channel once lock-down had been imposed across much of Europe. For the RAuxAF personnel, it meant long days and working through the night in freezing conditions on the M20 motorway and on the windswept Manston Airfield, converted to an emergency lorry park to start to clear the backlog of thousands of lorries.

Hosted by Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Field from 11 Infantry Brigade, Her Royal Highness and Sir Anthony were introduced to the light-blue attendees involved in the two Operations.

Afterwards, Flight Lieutenant Casey said “It was a real honour to represent 7644 Squadron and meet Her Royal Highness at Dover Castle. We had the opportunity to describe our role and discuss the challenges and achievements we had experienced last year. It was inspiring to see all three of the armed forces represented, alongside various integral civilian agencies who all made such vital contributions during a deeply unsettling time. It made me feel proud to have been even a small part of an incredible national effort.”

At the second event held that evening, Flight Lieutenant Casey was awarded a Certificate of Commendation by the Livery Company of Communicators at their annual Military Media Awards Ceremony for her contribution to Op Rescript through the year. It was truly a day to remember.

Tribute to Heroic Airman

In November, 2020, Wing Commander Stuart Talton, Deputy Inspector RAuxAF, read in his local Lincolnshire paper that Spalding Council intended to dedicate a Memorial to Plt Off George Furniss who, whilst manoeuvring his stricken Meteor away from the built-up area of Spalding, ejected at too low a level to save his own life. The Memorial would be located near to where the aircraft crashed.

Spalding Council’s initiative was prompted by a request to the Council from Plt Off Furniss’s twin daughters – who were less than one year old when he died – for any information it could provide on their father’s heroic action. Wg Cdr Talton, suspecting that Furniss, being only a Plt Off, might therefore be a RAuxAF pilot, contacted the Chairman of Trustees of the RAuxAF Foundation, Gp Capt Richard Mighall, who confirmed that Furniss was indeed an Auxiliary Officer and a member of 616 Sqn and whose name was recorded in the RAuxAF Roll of Honour held in the RAF Church of St Clement Danes.

Recognising that this was a significant event in RAuxAF history in which the Foundation and the RAuxAF should be involved, Gp Capt Mighall contacted Angela Newton, a Councillor on Spalding Council responsible for the dedication arrangements, who agreed that light blue involvement and presence at the Dedication Service would be very welcome.  Accordingly, the Foundation arranged for the presence at the Service of representatives from the RAuxAF hierarchy, 616 Sqn, 7644 Sqn (who provided media coverage), a RAuxAF Chaplain, and the Foundation.

The Service, which was led by a RAuxAF Chaplain. the Revd (Flt Lt) Philip Johnson. was held at noon on 27th September 2021 exactly 68 years to the day after the tragic accident occurred. During the Service, the Memorial to Plt Off Furniss was dedicated by the Chaplain and, in poignant moment, unveiled by his twin daughters, Sheila Reynolds and Gillian Akers.

Sheila and Gillian with Father 1953

Sheila and Gillian at Father’s Memorial 2021

Following the Service, Spalding Council arranged a reception at a local Hotel for all attendees.

A copy of the Order of Service can be seen here.

A copy of the address given by Plt Off Furniss’s twin daughters can be seen here.

A Photo Gallery of the event can be seen here.

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