II (AC) Squadron Centenary Cycle
2012 saw II (AC) Sqn celebrate their Centenary with a host of commemorative events, from the standing up of a new Standard, being honoured with the Citizenship of Swaffham and a Centenary Service in Ely Cathedral.
Being one of the oldest squadron’s in the RAF, II (AC) Sqn is steeped in a rich history, which is an immense source of pride to those who serve on the Squadron, past and present.
One such historic event was on the 13th February 1913, when No II Squadron, of the recently formed Royal Flying Corps, took off from Farnborough in Hampshire to fly 450 miles north to Montrose in north east Scotland. The move to Montrose was significant as it marked the first deployment of a squadron to occupy a specifically designed airfield. Captain “Ferdy” Waldron, flying a Maurice Farman biplane, was the first pilot to reach Montrose at 10:30am on the 26th February 1913. The remainder of the Squadron, commanded by Major Charles Burke, arrived shortly after flying a mixture of Farmans and BE2s.
To commemorate the centenary of Montrose Air Station, an exhibition at the Montrose Museum was opened on the 23rd February 2013 by the Provost of Angus, Helen Oswald. The displays include a detailed history from 1913 to the present day and a model of the Air Station as it was in 1913, along with numerous artefacts donated by the men and women who have served at Montrose.
Due to the shared history and close ties between Montrose and II (AC) Squadron, Wing Commander Jez Holmes, Officer Commanding II (Army Co-operation) Squadron, Squadron Leader Dutch Holland and SAC (T) Luke Gove were invited to attend the official opening as guests of honour. Wg Cdr Holmes said; “It is an absolute privilege to be part of the event. It is incredibly impressive to see what is going on to keep the history of Montrose Air Station alive, and we are pleased to be part of that.”
Following on from the visit, to further strengthen links with the area and to mark the anniversary of the historic flight in February 1913, a group of serving personnel from the squadron, have decided to cycle the historic route flown by their forefathers. Leaving Farnborough Air Sciences Trust and weaving their way northwards to finish at the Montrose Air Station, the group will stop en route and lay a wreath at Montrose Cemetery to remember Lt Desmond Arthur who was No II (AC) Squadron’s first fatal casualty.
The ride will begin on June 21st and take eight days of hard cycling, a test of fitness, planning, teamwork and determination. Look out in next months issue for the full story of the expedition.
The Squadron will be holding a series of other events over the coming months in support of their chosen charity; RAFA.
Anyone wishing to support the squadron with a donation should contact Flt Lt Borrie on Marham 01760 337261 Ext: 3526.