On the 25 August 2019, the Central Band of the Royal Air Force travelled to the Royal Burgh of Angus to provide musical support for RAF Lossiemouth No II (Army Co-operation) Squadron’s Freedom of Angus parade.
The 500-mile journey from RAF Northolt to Montrose posed some challenges for the Band, not least the small matter of travelling on the UK’s hottest day on record, whilst negotiating train cancellations and delays, mixed with deteriorating air conditioning. But despite the trials of the journey, it was well worth it in the end!
With bayonets fixed, troops marching and drums beating, personnel from the RAF Lossiemouth Squadron, affectionately known as the ‘Shiny Two’, marched through the busy streets of Montrose to celebrate their significant and historic link with the town.
Formed in 1912, relocating to Montrose the following year, No II Squadron became the first operational Royal Flying Corps (RFC) base in the UK and is recognised as the oldest fixed wing squadron in the world, gaining its Army Co-operation (AC) status in its inter-war years flying sorties in the 1920s.
A record-breaking Squadron, No II (AC) Squadron led the way in early developments of aviation, at the time setting multiple records, including the longest non-stop flight (7 hours and 20 minutes) and the national height record (16,000 ft).
The parade, which marks 106 years since the Squadron located to Montrose Air Station, is a culmination of planning from the RAF’s Centenary year, by which the Freedom of Angus was granted by Angus Council in 2018.
Amongst the many dignitaries present, Angus Provost Ronnie Procter, and the Lord Lieutenant of Angus Georgiana Osborne were joined on the dais by the Station Commander of RAF Lossiemouth, Group Captain Jim Walls. All eagerly watched the troops form on the High Street of Montrose outside the Old and St Andrews Church.
The Central Band of the Royal Air Force were delighted to support such a historic Squadron in celebrating their Freedom of Angus and thank all those involved for making it such a successful parade.
Written by Senior Aircraftman Adam Rosbottom.
Photographs taken by Senior Aircraftwoman Sian Stephens.