Robins Trophy

Force Awards – 2022

.The Royal Auxiliary Air Force awards for 2022 have recently been announced. Details are as follows:

 

Ser. Trophy / Award Purpose & Eligibility Winner for Year Apr 21-22
1 Robins Trophy Awarded annually to the RAuxAF unit judged to have done most to improve the good name and efficiency of the RAuxAF during the year.

502 (Ulster) Sqn RAuxAF 

There were 3 strong candidates for this award and notable mentions go to 4624 Sqn and the RAuxAF Band, however, 502 Sqn have managed to retain the Trophy

2 Inspector’s Cup Awarded annually to the RAuxAF unit judged to have had a particularly notable achievement during the year.

602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron RAuxAF

 

For the support they provided to COP 26

3 Clyde PR Trophy Awarded annually to the RAuxAF unit judges to have had the highest performance in Public Relations during the year.

603 (City of Edinburgh) Sqn  RAuxAF

 

For a strong performance that encompassed a collaborative enterprise between the Sqn and their local radio stations and an outstanding national employer engagement event.

4 Kemp Dirk Awarded annually to the RAuxAF Unit which has achieved the best recruiting or retention results during the year.

2503 (County of Lincoln) Sqn RAuxAF

 

Significant improvement of casework and extremely proactive in migration to the new recruiting IT system.

5 Inspectors’ Shield Awarded annually to a RAuxAF PTVR SNCO of any trade who has done the most to ensure the success of their unit during the year.

504 (County of Nottingham) Sqn RAuxAF

In addition to running the family business he has established and built the 504 Sqn Eng Flt from scratch and his excellent leadership underpins the high morale and commitment of personnel on the Eng Flt.

6 Pooley Sword Awarded as and when deserved to a RAuxAF Officer (any TCoS) judged to have displayed outstanding leadership. Not awarded.

502 Squadron Nurse Awarded Top Honour

Squadron Leader Mary B O’Neill of 502 (Ulster) Squadron has been awarded the prestigious King’s Volunteer Reservist Medal in the 2023 New Year Honours List.

Squadron Leader O’Neill joined the Squadron in 2015 as a Senior Nursing Officer having transferred from the  Army Reserves. In 2018, she received a commendation for her work in establishing the nursing cadre at the Squadron..  That same year, she  took up an Additional Duties Commitment post as Officer Commanding the Squadron’s Medical Reserves Flight. In 2022, she mobilised as a Hospital Liaison Officer with the Military Assistance Civilian Authority during the covid outbreak, and later that year she received the Defence Nurse of the Year award from the Royal College of Nursing in recognition of her meritorious service whilst performing both covid and military duties.

She will retire from 502 Squadron in 2023 having completed 23 years as a reservist she will, however, continue as a Nurse in the National Health Service.

Commemorative Tree

On the 29th October 2022, the Queens’s Volunteer Reserves Medal Association (QVRM) planted and dedicated a Copper Beech in Windsor Great Park to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee and to support  the Queen’s Green Canopy project. Eight Royal Auxiliary Air Force recipients of the Medal were present.

Wg Cdr Mike Almond, WO Shobha Earl, Wg Cdr Alison Moodie, WO Mo Kendall, Sqn Ldr Frank Shannon, Wg Cdr Noz Orzell, Wg Cdr Steve Duddy
Also present was Gp Capt Gary Bunkell (photographer)

 

 

 

The QVRM Association is open to all recipients of the QVRM which is presented to members of the Volunteer Reserves of the British Armed Services for exemplary service in the conduct of their duties.

GWB

 

 

 

 

Treasured Links

The Royal Auxiliary Air Force enjoyed a long and much-valued association with Her Majesty beginning in June 1951 when, as The Princess Elizabeth, she became the  the Honorary Air Commodore of 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron. At the same time she presented the Squadron with the Esher Trophy. She visited the Squadron on a number of occasions over the years, often accompanied by her husband, His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh. Her Majesty remained the Squadron’s Honorary Air Commodore until her death.

In 1952,  following the death of her father, King George VI,  Her Majesty took over his mantle as the Force’s Air Commodore-in-Chief – an appointment she held throughout her reign.

On June 1953 Force personnel participated in Her Majesty’s Coronation.

On 1 July 1953, Force personnel and aircraft participated in Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force Coronation Review held at Royal Air Force Benson.

On 30 June 1955, Her Majesty presented 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron with ‘The Standard’ at the Palace of Holyrood House.

When the Force’s Flying Squadrons were disbanded in 1957, Her Majesty invited all of the Commanding Officers to Buckingham Palace where she gave them this note: “I wish as Air Commodore-in-Chief to thank Officers, Airmen and Airwomen of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force for all that they have given to the service of the country by their enthusiasm, their spirit and their devotion in peace and war.  It is a sad day when it is necessary to tell so many that it is no longer possible to use their services, on the duties they have assumed so willingly. I wish them to know that they can look back with pride and satisfaction to service well done.

In 1962, Her Majesty received Group Captain The Right Honorable Sir Peter Vanneck at a private audience at Buckingham Palace on the occasion of his appointment as the Inspector of the Force. He was again received by her Majesty for a private audience in 1973 when he relinquished the appointment. Succeeding Inspectors, Group Captains Robbie Robins, Peter Harris, Mike Tinley, Richard Mighall, Bob Kemp, and Gary Bunkell were afforded the same honour of private audiences with Her Majesty.

On 26 October 1974, Her Majesty and The Queen Mother attended a civic reception at The Guildhall to mark the 50th anniversary of the Force.

On 12 June 1989, Her Majesty presented the Force with its first Sovereign’s Colour at Royal Air Force Benson.

In 1999, Her Majesty approved the award of the Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal to Reserve Forces of which two could be awarded annually to the Royal Auxiliary Air Force.

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MOD Media - Cpl Rebecca Brown RLC

Farewell to The Air Commodore-in-Chief

The Royal Auxiliary Air Force and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Foundation were greatly saddened to receive the news that Her Majesty The Queen, the Force’s Air Commodore-in-Chief, had died at Balmoral on 8th September 2022. Letters of condolence were sent to to her successor, His Majesty, King Charles III.

The Royal Auxiliary Air Force enjoyed close links with Her Majesty throughout her reign, and over 300 personnel with links to the Force were privileged to take part in the following events relating to her funeral on 19 September:

*     Two Flights, each with 26 Force personnel,  preceded the gun carriage carrying the coffin on its journey from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch. The first Flight comprised members from 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron of which Her Majesty was the Honorary Air Commodore. The second Flight comprised personnel drawn from Force Squadrons at Royal Air Force Brize Norton.

*     The Commandant General of the Force, Air Vice-Marshal Ranald Munro, and the Officer Commanding 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron, Squadron Leader Derek Read, marched ahead of the the gun carriage carrying Her Majesty’s coffin on its journey from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch along with senior representatives of other formations which had enjoyed a special relationship with Her Majesty.

MOD Crown Copyright – Cpl Tom Cann RAF

*     Wing Commander Andy Calame (former Equerry to Her Majesty and a Deputy Inspector of the Force) was one of the twelve pall-bearers who accompanied the gun carriage carrying the coffin on its journey from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. They also accompanied the hearse carrying the coffin on its journey from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch.

MOD Media – PO Phot Dave Jenkins RN

*    Air Marshal Sir David Walker (a former Master of the Royal Household and former Equerry to Her Majesty, the Honorary Air Commodore of 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron and a member of 601 (County of London) Squadron) marched to the rear of the coffin on both journeys.

MOD Media – Sgt Robert Weideman RLC

*    Honorary Group Captain Ed Cadogan (a Scottish Archer and member of 601 (County of London) Squadron) participated in a vigil by the Archers (rear right) alongside Her Majesty’s coffin during its lying in state in Westminster Hall.

 

*   Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West, a Lady Usher to Her Majesty and member of 601 (County of London) Squadron, assisted with Royal Duties at Westminster Hall during the Laying in State and led the Chivalry Procession at Westminster Abbey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*    Group Captain Bob Kemp, a Trustee and former Inspector of the  Force. represented the Foundation at the funeral service in Westminster Abbey.

 

*     Over 250 personnel drawn from Force units around the country provided behind-the-scenes support.

602 Squadron Receives New Standard

On 19th August 2022, No 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force was presented with a new Standard by Councillor Jacqueline McLaren, Lord Lieutenant of the City during a parade held in the grounds of the High School of Glasgow.  The parade was led by the Officer Commanding, Squadron Leader Chris Loughlin, in textbook style to the music of the newly formed Royal Auxiliary Air Force Band.  The Chaplain in Chief, the Reverend Doctor (Air Vice-Marshal) Giles Legood, himself a former Auxiliary Chaplain with No 600 (City of London) Squadron, conducted the Service of Consecration.

Air Vice Marshal Richard Maddison, Air Officer Commanding No 22 Group, represented the Chief of the Air Staff.  Other attendees included the Commandant General and the Inspector of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, two Trustees from the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Foundation and family, friends and former members of 602 Squadron including a close relative of Archie McKellar DSO DFC*, a Battle of Britain fighter ‘Ace’ who started his flying career with 602 Squadron.

Following the parade the City hosted a magnificent reception in the City Chambers where the new Standard was proudly displayed.

 

No 602 Squadron – the first Auxiliary Squadron – was formed at Renfrew on 15 September 1925.    Formed initially as a bomber squadron, ‘Glasgow’s Own’ as it was known locally, became a fighter unit and was equipped with the Spitfire just in time to acquit itself so well during the Battle of Britain.  In fact a Spitfire of 602 along with a Spitfire of 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron jointly shot down the first German Bomber of World War Two.  Sadly, all the Auxiliary Air Force Squadrons were disbanded in 1957.  The original Squadron Standard presented by Douglas, the 14th Duke of Hamilton, Honorary Air Commodore of 602 Squadron, was laid up in Glasgow Cathedral where it remains to this day.

To great acclaim, the Squadron was reformed on 1 July 2006.  The City hosted a reception in the City Chambers to mark the event and the Sovereign’s Colour for the Royal Auxiliary Air Force was paraded.  The then Inspector read out a message of good wishes from Her Majesty The Queen to the assembled company.

RGK

601 Squadron Receives New Standard

In 1954, in recognition of its outstanding peacetime and wartime service since its formation in 1925, 601 (County of London) Squadron was presented with a Standard by its Honorary Air Commodore, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.  In 1957, the Squadron was disbanded, and in 1961 the Standard was laid up in St Clement Danes Church.

The Squadron reformed in 2017, and, on 21st July 2022,  the Squadron  was presented  with a new Standard at a Service held at the Royal Air Force Museum which was lead by the Chaplain in Chief, The Reverend Doctor (Air Vice-Marshal) Giles Legood. The Standard was presented by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, to Squadron Leader Andrew Burnett of 601 Squadron with the Squadron’s Commanding Officer, Air Vice-Marshal Malcolm Brecht, standing alongside.  It was then paraded with the Queen’s Colour Squadron in slow time, quick time and with an advance in review order. Music was provided by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.

Attendees included 601 Squadron’s Honorary Air Commodore, Air Chief Marshal Sir Glen Torpy, along with many of the Squadron’s Honorary Group Captains, volunteer regular reservists, affiliates and alumni. There were also  representatives from, inter alia, the Royal Air Force, the Royal Auxiliary Air Force,  the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Foundation, the Air Training Corps  the Royal Air Force Museum and local civic dignitaries.

 

Following the parade, there was a reception for all attendees in the splendid surroundings of the RAF Museum. The Chief of the Air Staff gave a short address as did the the Chief Executive Officer of the RAF Museum and the Squadron Commander.

 

The Royal Air Force News feature on the event can be seen here.

RAuxAF Foundation Memorial and Stone Dedication Service 2022

On 22 June, Reserve Forces Day,  RAuxAF Trustees hosted a RAuxAF Memorial and Memorial Stones Dedication Service at the National Memorial Arboretum. The senior attendee was Air Vice-Marshal Ranald Munro, Commandant General RAuxAF. He was accompanied by the Inspector RAuxAF, Group Captain Paul White, along with representatives from 16 RAuxAF Squadrons. Also present were the families or representatives of the following 7 deceased Auxiliaries for whom Memorial Stones were dedicated:

Maurice Farrelly – represented by family
Sir Michael Oswald – represented by Trustee
Michael Tinley – represented by Trustee
Jon Wilkes – represented by family
Donald Macdonald (died on active service) – represented by family
Harold Macdonald (died on active service) – represented by family
George Furniss (died on duty) – represented by family

Group Captain Richard Mighall,  Chairman of Trustees, gave a short presentation about each of the 7 individuals prior to the Service; details  can be seen here.

The Service was conducted by Padre Wing Commander Mike Elliott from 600 (City of London) Squadron, and a trumpeter from the RAuxAF Band played the Last Post and Reveille. A copy of the Order of Service can be found here.

The RAF News media report of the event was provided by 7644 (VR) Public Relations Squadron and can be seen here.

Queen’s Birthday Honours 2022

In this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list, Wing Commander Howard Leader RAuxAF and Squadron Leader Mike Cairns RAuxAF, both from 7644 (Public Relations) Squadron RAuxAF, were awarded the prestigious Queen’s Volunteer Reservist Medal.  It is expected that they will receive their awards later in the year.

Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

To mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Foundation’s Chairman has sent, on behalf of Trustees, a message of Loyal Greetings to Her Majesty.

Also, the Jubilee logo has been added to the Home Page, and action is in hand to to plant and dedicate a tree at the site of the RAuxAF Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum under ‘The Queen’s Green Canopy Plant a Tree Scheme’. This will probably take place in late Spring in 2023 in conjunction with the planting and dedication of a QVRM tree, again at the RAuxAF Memorial.