RAF Halton celebrates 100 years of flight
RAF Halton celebrated 100 Years of Flight by holding an Engagement Day at the Recruit Training Squadron site.
The Station opened its doors to local people and dignitaries, to visit and learn more about the Station and how it goes about daily business.
All eighteen Lodger Units showcased their work in the Burton Drill Facility along with trainees taking part in rifle drill and marching displays. Later in the day there were air power presentations in the Groves Air Power Centre and historical presentations in the Trenchard Museum.
The event culminated with a flypast by the Bleriot Experimental B.E.2c, flown by the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) from 1912 until the end of the first world war. Next came the Supermarine Spitfire, from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight based at Coningsby, probably the most well known aircraft of all time and certainly of the Second World War. The Spitfire, several of which were based at RAF Halton for training the engineering apprentices, did a short display of five passes. Next up was the Panavia Tornado GR4 which got a hugely favourable response from the crowd! The Tornado was designed as strike attack aircraft for use against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries during the Cold War. Lastly, the Typhoon FGR4, current aircraft on 3 (Fighter) Squadron at RAF Coningsby and direct descendent of 3 Squadron RFC, representing 100 Years of Aviation and beyond since 18th September 1913.
Station Commander, Group Captain Simon Harper, welcomed the visitors, including the Air Officer Commanding No. 22 (Training) Group and the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, to the second Annual Engagement day, saying: “RAF Halton is a unique place to live and work. Today we commemorate exactly 100 years since the first aircraft landed at RAF Halton. Whilst history does not record aircraft type, it does record that it was flown by No 3 Sqn, then of course of the RFC. To commemorate the event, weather permitting a Typhoon of No 3 Sqn will flypast. We have been flying here ever since and we are justifiably proud of our flying heritage and the role we have played in the history of aviation and history of the RAF, the oldest independent Air Force in the world and which today has the strategic lead for the delivery of Air Power.
It was the founder of the RAF, Lord Trenchard who, during WWII, commented that Halton and the Halton spirit has been a pillar of strength across the world. It is as true today as it was then. Training is our core business and our main effort. As I speak over 650 personnel are currently under training and annually we train over 12,000 people for the RAF and Defence. Whether it be initial training for our airmen recruits or command and leadership training for our NCOs and Warrant Officers, we play a vital role in ensuring that our personnel are agile and adaptable because whether we are protecting the people of the UK by controlling the air, or helping to deliver a safer world overseas, the RAF is always on operations.
Today is our opportunity to show you what RAF Halton is and what RAF Halton does. At our core is the one team ethos that draws strength from personnel of all three services, whether regular or reserve, the Civil Service or our contractors. This ‘whole force’ approach is vital and it is the people and their families that provide the vital contributions as contained in our motto to ‘Teach, Learn, Apply’. Our success in delivering outstanding training and enabling sporting excellence as a Home for RAF Sport shapes the RAF today and of tomorrow. Please take this opportunity to see what we do, to watch a number of aircraft, recognise our Centenary of Flight and to take in some of our history with a visit to the Trenchard Museum. Thank you so much for joining us and enjoy the day.”
After his welcoming speech Group Captain Harper cut a celebration cake, made by Mrs Pat Vincent, who works at RAF Halton.