Saturday 20th November saw the cadets and staff from the South and East Midlands Wing invited to attend a very special parade in the Nottinghamshire town of Hucknall by 504 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force, continuing our proud history of assisting the squadron.
While attending the recent WO/SNCO Dining In night at RAF Cranwell, the Squadron Warrant Officer from 504, WO Caffrey approached the Wing Warrant Officer, Rob Phillips, and Sergeant Mark Blacknall from 504 Sqn ATC, for help at the forthcoming Freedom of the District of Ashfield Parade.
The Freedom of the District was presented to the RAF Cottesmore based reserve squadron by the local council authorities, as a recognition of historic links between the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and he town of Hucknall. 504 Squadron was originally formed as a Special Reserve Squadron in 1928 at what was then Royal Air Force Hucknall, now home to Rolls-Royce in Nottingham.
Along with cadets from Trent Wing, The South and East Midlands Wing cadets from 504, 1359 and 1360 squadron’s, provided a guard of honour to the entrance to the famous St Marys Church, burial place of the poet Lord Byron, as auxiliaries and their families entered the church for the moving service. With a large Royal Air Force ensign proudly flying high above the church tower and entire town, the Sovereigns Colour was presented in church to the clergy which family and service men looked on, including the family of SAC Gary Thompson, killed in action in Afghanistan.
After the service, cadets where formed up by SGT Blacknall along Hucknall High Street as the squadron formed up in two flights with Sovereigns Colour in between to march through the town escorted by airman with rifles and fixed bayonets, in the ancient right of freedom presented to military formations. Present taking the salute was Her majesty’s Vice Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire Colonel Tim Richmond and Lord Beaverbrook, Honorary Inspector General of the RAuxAF Force along with Group Captain Bunkell, Inspector of the RAuxAF.
As a final spectacular to the parade, a lone Hawker Hurricane fighter of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight carried out a low fly past of the saluting dais directly as the parade marched past, a fitting tribute to 504 Squadron and her service personnel, past and present.
By WO R.C. Phillips