The Lords’ Minister of State to the MOD has visited RAF High Wycombe to present operational commendations, and better understand the work of support staff to the HQ of the Royal Air Force.
On the 16th of February the Rt Hon Earl Howe, also Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, met with medical staff, security specialists and welfare providers to discuss their support to 1700 personnel and the current issues that it brings.
In addition to being the spokesman for Defence in the House of Lords, Earl Howe's responsibilities also cover ceremonial and medallic recognition, and he ended his visit by presenting a variety of honours and awards to Station personnel.
When reflecting on his visit Lord Howe said “It has been 20 years since my last visit, and it has been a privilege to talk to the men and women of RAF High Wycombe and learn the significance of their work. I was honoured to present awards today recognising personal sacrifice, commitment, and actions beyond the call of duty. They are truly inspirational and their families should be extremely proud”.
As well as medals for long, unblemished conduct and recognition for local achievements, Lord Howe was delighted to present several commendations for distinguished work on recent operations in the Middle East.
One of the five commendations was awarded to a Corporal technician in support of Tornado GR4s operating in Iraq and Africa. His expertise and tireless work enabled continual reconaissance to take place, signicantly contributing to the humanitarian aid effort as well as gathering intelligence on the enemy.
The Station Commander, Group Captain Philip Lester, relished the opportunity to host Lord Howe, raising awareness of the endeavour of his staff and their current issues. Referring to the Honours and Awards Ceremony he said “These are one of the most important things we do, recognising the hard work and myriad of complex tasks done by our people. As important is to be able to thank the families and loved ones for their unwavering support, without which our endeavour would not be possible”.
Lord Howe also found time to recognise the heritage of the Station, visiting the former office of Sir Arthur 'Bomber' Harris and receiving a presentation on the creation during WWII of what was HQ Bomber Command.
Originally named Southdown to hide its location, building of the Station finished in 1940 and was made to replicate a normal village, hiding it from air reconnaissance. Critical decisions were made in the modest office of Sir Arthur Harris, which remains in its original and pristine condition.
Editor: Flt Lt A Keeley
Photographs: SAC Tim Laurence
Mr Dave Brown (left) briefs the Rt Hon Earl Howe in the former office of Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris.
The Rt Hon Earl Howe speaks with Station staff about the challenges of supporting the HQ of the RAF.
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