On Thursday The Princess Royal made a special stop at RAF Brize Norton, where she serves as honorary air commodore, to bestow a new standard to honour the reformation of the No. LXX, (70), Squadron.
The Squadron stood down five years ago after being based at RAF Lyneham for over 25 years. There was great sadness over this, but there was hope that it would one day serve as the first ever Atlas squadron.
This is a new beginning for No. LXX Squadron, as it will be the very first unit to operate Airbus A400M Atlas on the frontlines. The Standard, or military flag, presented to the squadron signifies the trust held by The Queen in the squadron. The Princess Royal stated it was a “relief” and “pleasure” to honour No. LXX with their third standard.
She went on to say: “This is a significant milestone as the unit re-forms as the first dedicated front line squadron to operate Atlas A400M.
“It is always encouraging to see many elements of the process turning out to support the squadron. Whether you are serving in the RAF, the civil service or the industry, you should be very proud.”
The momentus occasion was celebrated by those of RAF Brize Norton with a parade to welcome the Princess Royal. Many family members and friends of the squadron members showed up to give their support. Simon Boyle, the commanding Officer of LXX Squadron said it was a great honour to have Her Royal Highness in attendance. He continued to say: “We have been working very closely with other squadrons and the Airbus Defence and Space [aircraft builders] to bring the A400M into service.”
“We are also trying to create a frontline squadron that will operate overnight. The ceremony represented a formal re-formation, the squadron coming back into being.”
Lyn Little, Mayor of Carterton had this to say about the event and what it means to the community to have this strong bond with the base. “I think the RAF does extremely well and I am proud to be here. The link between Carterton Town Council and the people of the town grows stronger each day. It’s an occasion like this that shows the strength of the friendship we have with RAF Brize Norton.”
The Princess Royal wrapped up the ceremony by reinforcing The Queen’s faith in the squadron: “Congratulations. You can be justifiably proud. You have a bright and busy future to look forward to. I know you will serve in your usual exemplary manner.”
Photo Credit: @OxMailMeganA