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