On this day in 1918, the Royal Air Force was formed following an Order in Council made by His Majesty King George V on 22 March 1918, resulting in the union of the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) and Royal Flying Corps (RFC).
On the inauguration of the Royal Air Force, His Majesty the King, sent the following telegram to Lord Rothermere, the President of the Air Council:
"Today the Royal Air Force, of which you are Minister in Charge, comes into existence as the third arm of the Defences of the Empire. As General-in-Chief I congratulate you on its birth, and I trust that it may enjoy a vigorous and successful life."
100 years later Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has issued this statement from Buckingham Palace:
For more information on RAF100 events around the UK you can visit the official website:
Flt Lt Laura Frowen will be taking part in one of the toughest adventure races in the world: The GODZone Pure. The race runs from 1st-10th March 2018, in the stunning Fiordland in New Zealand. More than 390 racers, from around the world, will compete in unsupported teams of four, travelling across approximately 373 miles (600km) of wilderness. The race will consist of up to 10 days of non-stop racing, including sleeping in the elements, navigating at night, as well as canyoning, coasteering, kayaking, running, mountain biking, orienteering, packrafting and trekking.
The team are no strangers to a challenge. They are drawn from a dozen or so people across the service who have competed together over the past 4 years, fitting races in around their operational deployments. Jamie Buckle is the captain and driving force behind the team. He has competed in 3 AR World Series races and 2 European Series AR events as well as many one-day events in the UK. Recently he completed the Jurassic Coast Challenge (100km from Poole to Bridport) and the Ring of Fire (135 miles around Anglesey). Laura Frowen, navigator, first started adventure racing in a 4 day Hebridean Challenge in 2006 and after a hiatus took up the sport again in 2015. She has competed in an AR World Series race (2017) as well as a Euro Series AR event (2016). As an ultra runner, she has completed the Northern Traverse (190 miles and 16000 ft of ascent across northern England) and several UK Series Mountain Marathons. Charlie Butterfield raced the Euro Series AR (2016), and has competed in the Jurassic Coast Challenge and Marmot Dark Mountains mountain marathon. And Penny Grayson, the most recent addition to the team, brings proven endurance and athletic power after many years of racing ironman triathlon (as a GB age-group athlete) as well as completing the Jurassic Coast Challenge and the Ridgeway Challenge (86 miles along the Ridgeway to Avebury Stones).
Laura Frowen explains how adventure racing can be so inspirational:
For me the defining moment in recent races was in Expedition Africa in early 2017. It was the end of Day 3, and we had spent 2 hours queuing at the top of the Tyrolean Traverse, waiting for our turn and catching some sleep. We got going at about 0100hrs and after an uneventful abseil across the river, with the water glinting below in the dark, we started canoeing downriver. It was my first experience of night paddling and the still, inky water was unnerving. I felt great - really awake and full of energy - but kept losing my balance as the dark water seemed to give me an odd sense of vertigo. (That, and when I stopped to check the map, the fact I couldn’t work out which was the front of the paddle blade, told me that in fact I was, in fact, very, very tired!!) But the chance to paddle down this remote river in the middle of South Africa, with the stars overhead, was utterly magical, one of those moments when you have to stop and just think: “Wow, look at where I am and what we’re all doing!” Coming from a background in ultra running, I love being able to share these moments with other people. After something to eat at the end of the paddle section, we headed out on a trek section which started with a bracing swim across the river just as the sun was coming up.
Original Webpage Article: Facebook
Words from Artist Steven Heyen:
A recent presentation of one of my paintings to 41 Squadron at RAF Coningsby by John Lloyd, who is the nephew of Phillip David Lloyd, pictured by his Spitfire. The painting was apparently very well received and is now mounted on a wall at the squadron HQ. In the photo are the outgoing Wg Cdr Steve 'Raz' Berry, John Lloyd, Sqn XO & USAF exchange pilot Dennis 'Metro' Muller, and incoming Wg Cdr James “Jody” McMeeking. The Squadron had a change of command on this day, and the new Cdr received the painting on behalf of the Squadron.
This blog entry has been made possible by Mike Bradbury.
Over the last few months in and around Shrewsbury there have been two functions with Eric as a big part in his memory.
The first one held on March the 3rd at Bayston Hill, the village of his birth, when a stained glass window was unveiled in his memory by Flight Lieutenant Laura Frowen 41 Squadron, Wing Commander Steve Chaskin OC 611 Squadron and Rosemarie Jones, Eric's niece.
On the 24th of June Shrewsbury held it's Armed Forces Day, at 23 30 on the 23rd running up to this a light show was put on, this covered pictures starting back as far as the Boer War up to present day of people from Shropshire who served in the armed forces. These images were projected onto St Chads Church and a large part of this show was devoted to Eric, and for just this part I did the voice over telling just a short part of his service with 41 and 611 Squadron's and his life story.
David Walker writes: A trip up to RAF Coningsby last week to present 41 Sqn with their Framed Print of "100 Years of Seek and Destroy". Obvious number of the 100 Limited Edition Prints was number 41. Pictured is myself and Maj D Muller from 41 Sqn. Prints are still available with a donation going to the Charity Seek and Support for every sale.
Images and text from Paul Briggs, 41 Retro.
Well organised by the Spirit of Coltishal Association, a service to remember the victims of a bus crash, which happened during a squadron exchange with 421 Sqn, RCAF. A big thank you to 41(R) Sqn for the support they gave to the event, with a Typhoon flypast, presentation of a new plaque for the memorial and the laying of a wreath presented by 41 Squadron personnel.
41 Squadron's Flt Lt Laura Frowen is competing in the 7th edition of Expedition Africa, racing 500km across the Baviaans and Kouga Regions. - Follow her progress via the links above.
In the May issue of AirForces Monthly we take a look at the varied work of No 41 (Reserve) Test and Evaluation Squadron at RAF Coningsby. AFM spoke to members of the unit that is responsible for ensuring the Royal Air Force gets the very best out of its Tornados and Typhoons.
In broad terms, No 41(R) TES tests and assesses fast jet systems and upgrades that are bound for the operational units.
The drawdown in different fighter types flown by the RAF is reflected in the 41(R) TES inventory – today it fields just three Tornado GR4s and six Eurofighter Typhoons. Its sister squadron No 17(R) TES is responsible for the F-35B under a similar mandate across at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
Although its days in service are numbered, the Tornado GR4 team at No 41(R) TES remains busy in light of the type’s current heavy involvement in Operation Shader against so-called Islamic State. On March 2, its three remaining examples departed once again for Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake in California.
The latest detachment will probably be the last for the squadron’s Tornados, however the unit’s Officer Commanding (OC), Wg Cdr Steve ‘Ras’ Berry, gives a wry smile as he says: “When I joined the unit in December 2014, the Tornado was going on its ‘last hurrah’ in spring 2015, then it was going to be in the autumn of 2015, but then we opted to leave the jets out there until spring 2016. We took them out again last autumn for High Rider 16-4 and now they’ve gone again. That’s the fifth ‘last hurrah’ the jet has had.”
A few years ago it was decided to reduce the No 41(R) TES Tornado complement to two, but three had to be retained just to cope with the squadron’s workload.
“The point is that she might be old, but she is so easy to get [new] capability on,” Wg Cdr Berry continues. “On the Typhoon and F-35 you really have to invest in technologies to get new stuff, but with Tornado you can just bolt it on. Which is why she is an absolute workhorse. She will keep going strong until the day she dies.”
Update: Total now reached - Thank you!
41 Squadron has now raised £456 for a replacement memorial plaque to go at the military cemetery at Scottow for the 6 servicemen who lost their lives in a coach accident at Sasbachwalden on the 21st May 1983. They were serving with 41(F) Squadron RAF on exchange with 421 Squadron RCAF.
5 of those lost were from a complete cross section of the Squadron: a SNCO Avionics, a Rigger, a FLM, MT driver and a safety equipper. The 6th serviceman was from II Sqn RIC at Laarbruch.
Sgt Brian Roe
J/T Michael Messenger
SAC Paul Armstrong
SAC Peter Fox
SAC Derrick Swash
SAC Stuart Winship
Details of this year's memorial service
This year's memorial will be held at the Scottow Cemetery on the 18th May with serving personnel and Standards on parade. There will also be a dedication service of another new plaque from 41Sqn at the RAF Coltishall Memorial Garden after the service at Scottow. If you wish to attend please arrive at Scottow Cemetery by 10.45 for the service to begin at 11.00. Medals must be worn.
Updates and news direct from the Committee