Prince Philip will be at RAF Northolt on Monday 2nd March to present a new Standard to 32 Squadron. Prince Philip is Honorary Air Commodore of Royal Air Force Northolt.
Upon his arrival to RAF Northolt, The Duke of Edinburgh will take position on the dais, in readiness for a fly past after which Philip will inspect the Squadron. The Prince will then return to his position on the dais for the blessing of the new standard by the Chaplain-in-Chief.
What is more special about this new Standard presentation is that it will be happening in the year that RAF Northolt are celebrating the centenary of the establishment of their airfield. 2015 also marks 75 years since The Battle of Britain, of which RAF Northolt is the last remaining operational station.
RAF Northolt is a Royal Air Force Station in South Ruislip, just six miles north of Heathrow Airport. Northolt predates the establishment of The Royal Air Force, having opened in May 1915 and was originally established for the Royal Flying Corps. The station was the first to take delivery of the Hawker Hurricane shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.
Standards have a history that is ancient and earliest records of military forces mention Standards were being carried at the head of the Regiment to show troops where to rally round their leader. In the present day, Standards are a symbol of the spirit of the fighting unit reflecting the battle honours. 32 Squadron’s honours notably include The Somme, The Battle of Britain and the First Gulf War.
Depending on wear and tear, Standards usually have a useful life of up to 25 years and so consequently the presentation of a new one is a momentous event.
The Duke of Edinburgh himself is an accomplished pilot of fixed wing aircraft and helicopter’. He was also, at one time, a very active pilot after he initially trained with the RAF at White Waltham where he gained his RAF Wings in 1953. Prince Philip received his helicopter wings with the Royal Navy in 1956 and his private pilot’s license in 1959.
In 1997, Prince Philip gave up his years of flying after accumulating 5986 flying hours in 44 years.