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.

Commandant General Attends QVRM Dinner

The Commandant General of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Ranald Monro, was the principal guest at the annual Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal (QVRM) Association  Dinner held at the RAF Club on 25th March 2022. Altogether, 52 serving and retired QVRM holders from all  Services were present together with a small number of guests.  The Association’s AGM took place before the meal where it was agreed , inter alia, that the RAF Club was a particularly convenient and popular venue for the annual Dinner and that it should be used again for future such get-togethers.

Following an excellent meal and proffering of the Loyal Toast, the Chairman, Brigadier Tony Verey, presented the Association with the framed original Badge of the Association which was designed and produced by the College of Arms.  Air Vice-Marshal Monro then gave an illuminating and encouraging address about the current sate of, and future plans for, the reserve forces.

After the Dinner, attendees gathered in  a private room with bar at the Club and discussed all manner of subjects until the early hours. Altogether, it was a most pleasant evening.

RTWM

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.