Award for Nottinghamshire RAF Reservists’ Commander
As the RAF Reserves expand and adapt as part of the UK’s Future Reserves 2020 plans, the officer commanding Nottinghamshire’s Royal Air Force Reserves squadron has been recognised for his outstanding leadership through a period of change.
Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr) Andy Ham of 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron was given the Pooley Sword, an honour awarded only as and when there is an officer of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force1 deemed particularly deserving of it. The award was made by Air Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, the RAF’s Deputy Commander Capability, at an event at the RAF Club in London.
Air Marshal Pulford said: “Since its creation, the Royal Air Force Reserves has recruited dedicated people, who provide excellent support to the RAF, working hand in hand with their regular colleagues, civilian staff and contractors. Sqn Ldr Andy Ham’s performance in command of No 504 Sqn has been outstanding and he has demonstrated the qualities necessary to prove that Reservists will continue to make an enduring contribution to the delivery of UK air power.”
Sqn Ldr Ham took over 504 Sqn as changes were being planned for the structure of RAF reserve squadrons, and their home base, RAF Cottesmore, was being closed. The resulting uncertainty could have affected the squadron’s marked contribution to operations.
However, his citation explains: “Sqn Ldr Ham maintained a stimulating and timely training regime, so important in retaining the interest and enthusiasm of reservist personnel.”
504 Squadron also received the Freedom of Ashfield District, which they marked by parading the Sovereign’s Colour of the Royal Auxiliary Air Forcethrough Hucknall.
At the same time. Sqn Ldr Ham also managed the relocation of the unit to RAF Wittering. 504 Sqn had the honour of being the last formed unit to leave RAF Cottesmore. Since arriving at RAF Wittering 504 Sqn staff have been supporting the delivery of training to regular and reserve personnel alike.
Group Captain Gary Bunkell, the Inspector of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, said: “The planned change and expansion plan for RAF volunteer reserve units is well on course. That is thanks in part to the work of reservist officers, who are responsible for leading people through a demanding transformation programme, while ensuring that they continue to provide personnel for UK operations.
“We expect the same standards of our reservists as we do of our regular personnel. Sqn Ldr Ham’s achievements are a clear example of how RAF reservists are delivering for the UK on operations, and delivering Defence transformation at home.”
Air Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford presents Sqn Ldr Andy Ham with the Pooley Sword at the RAF Club on Picadilly.
From Left to right: Air Vice Marshall Wiles, Lord Beaverbrook,Honorary Inspector-General of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and Stuart Brown, the artist responsible for the painting.
RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2013