RAuxAF 100 – A Royal Train Visit

On Saturday, 25th May 2024, the  the RAuxAF Foundation hosted an event at Nene Valley Railway’s Wansford Station  which involved a short journey on a vintage train hauled by a Battle of Britain steam locomotive. The locomotive usually bears the nameplate ‘92 SQUADRON‘. However, for the duration of 2024. it has been renamed ‘ROYAL AUXILIARY AIR FORCE”  in recognition of the founding of the Force 100 years ago in 1924. The train that was hauled by the locomotive was named ‘AUXILIARY AVIATOR’

The event was attended by the RAuxAF’s Foundation’s Patron, His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, and by serving , retired and civilian representatives from the RAuxAF. The Duke was welcomed to Nene Valley Railway by the Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Mrs Gillian Beasley, who introduced the General Manager of the Nene Valley Railway, Mrs Tracy Spring, and  the Chairman of Trustees of the Foundation, Group Captain Richard Mighall. The Duke was then escorted to Platform 2 where he met representatives from the Foundation, the Royal Auxiliary Air Force including the Commandant General, Air Vice-Marshal Ranald Munro, and  members of 504 Squadron and their employers. Catering was provided by chefs from 5o4 Sqn and music by a woodwind ensemble from the RAuxAF Band.

Shortly afterwards, The Duke and AVM Munro boarded the footplate of the locomotive, whilst the rest of the party boarded the first coach for a short journey to Yarwell Mill, following which all travelled  in the carriage back to Wansford  Station.

After a short break for refreshments, the Duke was presented with a framed picture of the ‘ Royal Auxiliary Force’ as a memento of the occasion.  He then departed for a visit to the locomotive sheds hosted by Mrs Springer.

The Foundation is extremely grateful to the Nene Valley Railway for supporting the occasion and and also to Wing Commander Alfie Hall, a Foundation Trustee,  whose idea it was and who stage-managed the event throughout.

Photo compilation: Cpl Liz Brown – 7644 Sqn RAuxAF

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