Final Salute for Historic RAF Squadrons

28 March 2014

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Today the RAF’s Number 12 (Bomber) Squadron and 617 Squadron (the Dambusters) bid farewell to active service with a disbandment parade at RAF Lossiemouth, performing their final salute in front of His Royal Highness, The Duke of York.

617 Sqn Standard

Air Officer Commanding No 1 Group, Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Atha, said:

“Today we reflect on the past with pride and look to the future with relish.”

“Born in battle, 12 (Bomber) and 617 Squadrons have played a pivotal role in successful Operations throughout their illustrious history, from World Wars I and II to Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. Both Squadrons have delivered precision air power around the World, whether that be in air to air combat, air to ground attack or in the intelligence gathering role. We are proud of our heritage but we look to the future.”

“Later this year the world’s most versatile combat aircraft, Typhoon, arrives at RAF Lossiemouth and in a couple of years 617 Squadron will be operating the RAF’s most advanced aircraft, Lightning II.”

“Whilst the technologies may have changed, our people have not and their professionalism, bravery and dedication will continue to be the RAF’s distinct hallmark.”

OC 12 (B) Sqn, Wing Commander Simon StrasdinOfficer Commanding 12 (B) Squadron, Wing Commander Simon Strasdin, said:

“It was a fantastic honour to lead my Squadron out onto the parade square for the final time. Over the last four years we’ve had four tours of duty in Afghanistan, keeping troops safe on the ground and taking aerial reconnaissance photos. Now many of my people are training to work on the Typhoons that will fly from Lossiemouth later this year and we will be proud to have the aircraft ready to defend the UK’s airspace at a moment’s notice, 24/7, 365 days a year.”

“We’ve had a rich and illustrious past, some 99 years in the making, with some real highlights, and I’m very pleased and proud to be the final Commanding Officer closing this chapter of our history.”

Officer Commanding 617 Squadron, Wing Commander David Arthurton, said:

“As OC 617 Squadron, I was immensely proud to take part in this parade. The spirit and ethos of the Dambusters survives to this day and will go on.”

“In 1943 617 Squadron delivered weapons against the dams in Germany, while in recent times we have continued to use precision flying in Afghanistan, delivering Close Air Support in the protection of troops on the ground.”

617 Squadron Standard

“The good news is that the Dambusters will not be forgotten – they will reform in 2018 as the RAF’s first Lightning II Squadron. It’s a sad day, but seeing the current members of 617 Squadron lined up on the parade square was an exceptionally proud moment for me as their Commanding Officer.”

The combat air legacy of both Squadrons will live on. Many former 12 Squadron personnel will remain at RAF Lossiemouth as the Station takes on the vital mission of Quick Reaction Alert. They will help maintain Typhoon aircraft at a constant state of readiness around the clock, ready to launch in defence of the UK. 617 Squadron will reform from 2018 and the Dambusters will once again fly at the forefront of developing technology, this time in Lightning II, the 5th generation multi-role supersonic stealth aircraft.

Editor: Lesley Woods

RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2014

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