As a team of personnel from II(AC) Squadron RAF began retracing their predecessors’ steps for charity, the Squadron visited Farnborough today with “Shiny Two”, the unit’s flagship Tornado GR4. Alec Walker guest-reports for GAR.
On May 13 1912, No.II Squadron, Royal Flying Corps was formed at Farnborough from No.2 Company (Aeroplane), Royal Engineers.
Equipped initially with Bristol Boxkite, Breguet Biplane, BE 1 and Farman S7 Longhorn aircraft, the Squadron was testing and evaluating the latest in warfare technology.
After a short period of time, the Squadron standardised on the BE 2 and Henry Farman Biplane and on 26 February 1913, the Squadron transferred from Farnborough to Montrose in Scotland, becoming the first deployment of a squadron to occupy a specifically designed airfield.
A little over 100 years later, the current II(AC) Squadron is retracing their steps, but this time remaining firmly on the ground.
A team of eight serving personnel from the Squadron is cycling the route from Farnborough to Montrose in a journey that will take eight days and test their reserves of fitness and determination, while providing a fitting tribute to the history of the Squadron and raising money for their chosen charity, the Royal Air Forces Association.
En route to the Montrose Air Station, the team will be stopping at the Montrose Cemetery to lay a wreath to remember Lt Desmond Arthur who was the Squadron’s first fatal casualty.
In recognition of the event, the Officer Commanding II(AC) Squadron, Wing Commander Jez Holmes, flew in with the Squadron’s centenary aircraft ZA398 – “Shiny Two” – and met with FAST Museum volunteers and trustees, and local dignitaries, before the cycling team departed on its journey. FAST Museum is a self-funded, registered charity dedicated to preserving and promoting Farnborough’s heritage in aviation science.
In addition to meeting with the team, Wing Commander Holmes also presented FAST Museum Trustee David Wilson with a commemorative engraved brick which will be placed in the area around the upcoming statue of Samuel.F.Cody, one of the pioneers of British aviation
Wing Commander Holmes and his WSO, Flight Lieutenant Mark Hodgkiss, also experienced the Cody Flyer replica and simulator.
Global Aviation Resource would like to thank Alec Walker for kindly offering the words and pictures from today’s excellent event. Good luck to all those from II(AC) Squadron taking part in the charity ride!