75th Anniversary of 51 Sqn RAF Regiment Celebrated at RAF Lossiemouth

23 March 2016

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51 Squadron RAF Regiment celebrated the 75th anniversary of the formation of the Squadron with a formal parade at RAF Lossiemouth recently.

51 Squadron RAF Regiment celebrated the 75th anniversary of the inception of the squadron with a formal parade at RAF Lossiemouth.

The Squadron, whose motto ‘Celeriter Defendere’ means ‘Swiftly to Defend’, originally assembled at Bentley Priory in 1940 to conduct Light Anti Aircraft Defence duties for Headquarters Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. However, it wasn’t officially formed until 1941 when it became one of the first of the RAF’s new Defence Squadrons. In its 75 year history 51 Squadron RAF Regiment has fulfilled a variety of roles including: Light Anti-Aircraft duties; Light Armoured duties, equipped with the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) family of vehicles; and most recently, and for the majority of its history, as a ‘Field’ Squadron equipped and trained for dismounted and mobile operations. The Squadron served with distinction in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany during the Second World War, for which it was awarded a prestigious Battle Honour, as well as in Zambia, Aden, Northern Ireland and, more recently, Iraq and Afghanistan.

51 Squadron RAF Regiment celebrated the 75th anniversary of the inception of the squadron with a formal parade at RAF Lossiemouth.

Today, and during the period since the end of operations in Afghanistan, the Squadron remains on Very High Readiness to deploy anywhere in the world, whilst regularly providing small detachments of men on discrete operations throughout the broader Middle East.

The parade was reviewed by Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Parker, Air Officer Commanding No. 2 Group. As AOC of No. 2 Group, AVM Parker controls the Royal Air Force’s combat support assets. There are three distinct elements within No 2 Group – Air Transport and Air-to-Air Refuelling (AT/AAR); Intelligence Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR); and Force Protection (FP).

51 Squadron RAF Regiment celebrated the 75th anniversary of the inception of the squadron with a formal parade at RAF Lossiemouth.Air Commodore Andrew Hall, the FP Force Commander and Commandant General RAF Regiment, was also invited to the Station for the Squadron’s celebratory events.

Following the parade the Squadron hosted a reception for parade guests and a formal dining in night for official guests, including former Squadron Commanders and Warrant Officers.

Squadron Leader John Kirkman is the current Officer Commanding of 51 Squadron RAF Regiment and was the parade commander. He was exceptionally proud of his personnel’s turnout for the parade, he said:

“The men of 51 Squadron RAF Regiment made me very proud, as they do every day. It’s an honour to command a squadron of ‘Gunners’ who are so dedicated and professional in providing force protection to Royal Air Force assets wherever they may be in the world. Their shared history in direct support of air operations is rightly something they are proud of but their other work, like the recent training provided to the Nigerian Air Force, shows their flexibility and broader utility to the RAF.

51 Squadron RAF Regiment celebrated the 75th anniversary of the inception of the squadron with a formal parade at RAF Lossiemouth.

“I’m sure Air Vice-Marshal Parker and Air Commodore Hall were suitably impressed by the turnout of the men, and it was great to have our families, former colleagues and friends with us to celebrate the distinguished history of 51 Squadron RAF Regiment.”

Photographs: LAC Charlotte Hopkins

© MOD Crown Copyright 2016

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