II (AC) Squadron Recreate Historic Flight On Bicycles!

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At the time of going to print, eight intrepid cyclists and their support team will be setting off on a bike ride to commemorate the first ever deployment of aircraft to a purpose built aerodrome and to mark the Centenary of Montrose Air Station.

One hundred years ago, personnel from No II (AC) Sqn made the historic flight from the Royal Aircraft Factory in Farnborough, Hampshire to their new home in Montrose, Scotland.

The team are hoping to cycle the distance in less than half the time it took their forebears to make the flight 100 years ago. Although in today’s aircraft the journey would take just under an hour, 100 years ago it took two weeks, due to the inclement weather and fragile aircraft. The team have planned the ride to follow the 1913 route as much as possible and it is intended to engender skills in leadership, team-working, planning, navigation and physical stamina.

Squadron Leader ‘Dutch’ Holland, the team leader of the cycle said, ‘The team are really looking forward to the challenge, everyone has been out training hard, although some of the hill climbs we will experience may be a bit more dramatic than we find in Norfolk! We relish the opportunity to recreate this historic journey and would like to thank both Farnborough Air Sciences Trust and the Montrose Air Station for their continuing support in commemorating the Squadron’s history.”

En route the team will lay a wreath at the grave of Lt Desmond Arthur, the first fatality recorded by II (AC) Sqn, before completing the journey at Montrose Air Station.

In addition to the bike ride, the Squadron will donate a commemorative engraved ‘brick’ to the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST), for the museum’s Cody Statue Project. The Squadron who were originally part of the Royal Flying Corps were formed in the building in Farnborough where the museum stands today, bringing particular historic significance to this event.

Look out in next month’s issue where we will cover the event in more detail.

II (AC) Sqn have chosen the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) as their charity for the year. While the Centenary Cycle is not a charity event, the Squadron will be fundraising throughout the year and donations can be made at mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/shinytwo.