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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Grandsons of Battle of Britain fighter ace visit his old Squadron

Giles and Tim Carbury never knew their grandfather, Brian Carbury DFC*, who died in 1961.   However, they always wanted to visit the Town Headquarters of 603 Squadron of the Auxiliary Air Force in Edinburgh where their grandfather served as a Spitfire pilot and subsequently shot down no fewer than 15 enemy aircraft many during the Battle of Britain.  Brian Carbury, born in New Zealand, joined the RAF in 1937.  He was posted to 603 Squadron in 1939 to help train Auxiliary pilots on the newly delivered Spitfires.    On the 31 August 1940, he shot down five enemy aircraft becoming an ‘Ace’ in a day,  one of only five RAF pilots to achieve this feat.

Giles and Tim, who lives in Majorca, had travelled to Scotland especially to visit Edinburgh and learn some of the history of their iconic grandfather.   The Commanding Officer of 603 Squadron, Sqn Ldr Derek Read, and Gavin Davie, Director Scotland of the RAF Benevolent Fund, jointly hosted the visit at the Town Headquarters that was also attended by some members of the Squadron Association.

Giles and Tim Carbury with Gp Capt Bob Kemp, President of the 603 Squadron Association, in front of the uniform and memorabilia of Sqn Ldr George Denholm DFC AE, Commanding Officer of 603 Sqn during the Battle of Britain. Photo Ralph Frew

610 Sqn Plaque Dedication


At a moving service held in Chester Cathedral on Friday 6 August a beautiful bronze plaque was dedicated in memory of the 79 pilots and ground crew of 610 (County of Chester) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force who gave their lives during World War Two.

The service was led by the Dean of the Cathedral, Dr Tim Stratford.  The plaque was the inspiration of Dr Michael R Oliver OBE DL and his son Mark who own Oliver Valves in Knutsford where a small museum to the 610 Squadron is based.

Although the plaque was completed some time ago, it was not until the recent relaxation of Covid restrictions that the event could take place in the presence of members of the 610 Squadron Association, the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Foundation.

Dr Michael Oliver said, “We have all been remiss in waiting over 75 years to remember these brave young men who lost their lives and gave us our freedom.  This magnificent Cathedral dates back almost 950 years and it is with the utmost gratitude that our plaque has been dedicated and now hangs on these hallowed walls”.

Group Captain Bob Kemp, a former Inspector of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, gave an overview of the history of the Auxiliaries and Mr Michael Lewis, Chairman of the 610 Squadron Association, spoke in detail of the Squadron’s losses and successes during World War Two.

Mr Lewis made mention of the 132 enemy aircraft shot down by 610 Squadron plus the destruction of 50 V1 flying bombs.

The lesson was read by the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, Mr David Briggs and the prayers including the Royal Auxiliary Air Force prayer were led by the Dean.  The Commandant General, Air Vice-Marshal Ranald Monro, was in attendance.  The service was followed by a lunch held in the Cathedral hosted by Dr Michael and Mrs Jennifer Oliver.

Gp Capt Bob Kemp, AVM Ranald Monro, Lord Lieutenant, Dr Michael Oliver

HISTORY OF 610 (COUNTY OF CHESTER) SQUADRON

Based on a submission by Oliver Valves who sponsored the Plaque Dedication Service. The Company is also the custodian of 610 Squadrom memorabilia.

610 Squadron was formed on the 1Oth February 1936 at Hooton Park in Cheshire as one of the Auxiliary Air Force squadrons. Initially a light bomber squadron, flying Hawker Harts, then in May 1938, Hawker Hind biplanes. Jn September 1939 the first Spitfire Mk1 arrived at Hooton. Then stationed at RAF Gravesend in Kent in May 940, the Squadron covered the end of the Battle of France and the evacuation from Dunkirk, being in action almost daily they destroyed 16 enemy aircraft. Losses were also high with 8 of the Squadron pilots killed, including the Squadron leader. Then it was on to RAF Biggin Hill, the most famous and most bombed fighter station in the RAF. 610 Squadron were based here for the next battle, the Battle of Britain. In the ensuing battle the Squadron destroyed 86 enemy aircraft however losses for the Squadron were high.

At the height of the battle, on 24th August 1940, 26-year old Flight Sergeant Ronnie Hamlyn, who was born in Harrogate and nicknamed the “Pied Piper of Harrogate”, whilst waiting to be reprimanded outside the Commanding Officer’s office, was scrambled three times that day, shooting down first a JU88 and then four BF109’s, making the first ’Ace in a day’ in the RAF (and only one of two in the RAF in the Second World War). He would go on to shoot down 1 more enemy aircraft in the Battle of Britain and ended the war as a Wing Commander. Then to RAF Westhamptnett (otherwise known as Goodwood) in December 1940, carrying out sweeps in the Calais and Bolougne area as part of Wing Commander Douglas Bader Big Wing’ or ’Bader’s Bus Company’, which would involve as many as six Squadrons flying together. When Wing Commander Bader was shot down over France his Second in Command, Squadron Leader Howden of 610 Squadron gave the order ’see him safely to the ground’, as Bader parachuted to earth minus one of his prosthetic legs.

In April 1942 the Great Johnnie Johnson took over as 610 Squadron’s Squadron Leader, he would end the war as the RAF’s Highest scoring ace with 38 Kills. 610 Squadron would change bases a number of times during the Second World War. In August 1942 they covered the Dieppe raid, Operation Jubilee, and at the end of 1943/44, whilst stationed at West Marling, Friston and Lympne, 610 Squadron perfected the technique of flying alongside the VJ flying Bombs and tipping them harmlessly into the English Channel using their own wing tips. A total of 50 \/1 flying bombs were destroyed.

In September 1944, an Historic day, the Squadron flew off German soil for the first time and later that month 610 Squadron would give air support to the 2,000 aircraft and gliders of the British first airborne division, who parachuted into Arnhem in Holland as part of Operation Market Garden. In December 1944 they were stationed on the Continent, first in Belgium and then Holland. In February 1945 they moved back to England. And in March 1945 the Squadron was disbanded. The Squadron would be reformed at RAF Hooton Park in June 1946 flying first Spitfire Mk14’s and then Spitfire Mk22’s, then in 1951 Gloster Meteors Mk4’s and in 1952 Gloster Meteors Mk 8’s. The Squadron disbanded again in 1957.

Even though the history of 610 (County of Chester) Squadron only covers 20 years it was one of the most distinguished and decorated Squadrons in the RAF, comprising of approximately 200 members at any one time. Its Pilots came together from 14 different Nations and it would end the Second World War with a tally of 132 enemy aircraft destroyed and a further 99 1/a probably destroyed or damaged and 50 flying bombs destroyed. Also staggering, in its 20 year history, is 610 Squadron starting off with open cockpit biplanes and finishing off flying fast jets.

Obituary – Sir Michael Oswald GCVO

The death has been announced of Sir Michael Oswald GCVO aged 86. Sir Michael was appointed Honorary Air Commodore (HAC) of 2620 (County of Norfolk) Squadron in 2001. Extremely proud of his appointment as an HAC, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the Sqn and very popular amongst its personnel. Sir Michael served as HAC until 2016. In civilian life Sir Michael was the National Hunt Racing Adviser to the Queen and had served in that role since 2003. Before that, he was racing manager to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother from 1970 to 2002.

HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The RAuxAF Foundation Trustees were greatly saddened to receive the news that HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh had died at Windsor Castle on 9th April. Prince Philip had had a long association with the RAuxAF beginning in 1952, when he became Honorary Air Commodore of 601 (County of London) Sqn. He took a keen and active interest in the Sqn’s activities until its disbandment in 1957, at which point, he graciously accepted the invitation to become the Sqn Association’s Patron – an appointment which he held for many years.
Throughout his time as Prince Consort, Prince Philip attended numerous RAuxAF events, often with the Queen, and he will be fondly remembered by all ranks for his encouragement, warmth and humour.
The Foundation has sent a letter of condolence to Her Majesty

New Trustee

The Foundation Trustees are delighted to welcome Warrant Officer Shobha Earl as a new Trustee. Shobha has a wealth of regular and reservist experience and, until recently, served in the Royal Auxiliary air Force as the Force Warrant Officer reporting directly to the Commandant-General. She is now serving as a volunteer reservist in the RAFR, and her current appointment is Co-ordinator of the Honington Base Support Group

Air Vice-Marshal BH (Barry) Newton

It was with great sadness that we received the news that Air Vice-Marshal BH (Barry) Newton had passed away at the age of 88 in hospital on 25 August after a long illness bravely borne. He had had very close links with the Reserve and Cadet Forces in general and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force in particular in which he served as an Honorary Air Commodore and then as the Force’s Honorary Inspector-General. There will be a private family cremation service and, subject to coronavirus restrictions, a Memorial Service on a date yet to be announced. For subscribers to the Daily Telegraph, his obituary can be viewed here.

The Kipper Patrol

During the war, 608 (North Riding) Squadron was part of Coastal Command flying principally Ansons, Hudsons and latterly Mosquitos. A paperback book about the Squadron during these war years has recently been written by Louise Wilkinson. Details can be found here.

Moving Video

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8th May 2020, Warrant Officer John Webster, a serving member of 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron for 45 years, narrates a moving video describing the outstanding achievements of his Squadron during the war and its vital contribution today to control the spread and effects of coronavirus. It can be viewed by clicking here.