The Royal Air Force Regiment commemorated its 70th anniversary in a special service held yesterday at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.
The event was attended by over 600 Royal Air Force personnel and local dignitaries, including Lord Tollemache, the Lord-Lieutenant of Suffolk, and Lord Tebbit.
A flypast by a vintage DC-3 Dakota aircraft rounded off the prestigious event in style and reflected the RAF Regiment’s parachuting heritage.
The RAF Regiment is the ground fighting force of the RAF and is fully integrated within it. The RAF Regiment protects air bases from attack and its personnel are trained and equipped to fulfil a wide range of infantry-type roles.
It is a unit that is widely recognised as being the world-leader in air-minded force protection and many other nations seek the RAF Regiment’s guidance in establishing their own capability in this area.
The RAF Regiment is a fighting unit and has a continuous presence in Afghanistan.
Most of the military personnel attending the cathedral service were from RAF Honington - Honington-based II Squadron are currently deployed in Afghanistan and scheduled to return in April of this year.
15 Squadron, also Honington-based, will deploy in October of this year.
Group Captain Andy Hall, RAF Honington’s Station Commander, said:
The RAF Regiment is extremely proud of its heritage and I am extremely proud of the contribution my airmen are making every day to the success on current operations.
Moments like this also afford us the chance to reflect on the sacrifices and achievements of those who served before us. We look ahead to a successful future.
Senior Aircraftman Tom Jackman, 1 Squadron RAF Regiment, said:
It’s important to remember that over the last 70 years the traditions and values haven’t changed; however the Force has modernised to keep up with current theatres. This reflects the adaptability of the RAF Regiment and the necessity of its role.
The Reverend Matthew Vernon, Canon Pastor at the Cathedral, said:
We are honoured to be hosting this service which commemorates the contribution of the RAF Regiment over the past 70 years and which highlights our developing relationship with them.