HRH The Princess Royal Attends No. 101 Squadron’s Centenary

 

Today, 12th July 2017, Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal attended a special parade held at Royal Air Force Brize Norton to mark Number 101 Squadron’s 100 years of service.

HRH The Princess Royal Attends No. 101 Squadron’s Centenary

Past and present members of the Squadron attended the event which began with a flypast of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Avro Lancaster Bomber.

HRH The Princess Royal Attends No. 101 Squadron’s Centenary

Her Royal Highness, who is Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Brize Norton, met various personnel and watched the Squadron's parade, followed by a flypast of a Voyager, accompanied by two Typhoons.

HRH The Princess Royal Attends No. 101 Squadron’s Centenary

The Princess Royal said, “We celebrate one hundred years since the Squadron’s formation, which was established at the height of World War One. Today’s parade respects the sacrifice and the achievement of all who have served on Number 101 Squadron, and you can look proudly at your hard-earned reputation. You should also look forward, as the Squadron will continue to lead the way in future with regular, reserve and civilian personnel working together to support those future operations worldwide.”

HRH The Princess Royal Attends No. 101 Squadron’s Centenary

Number 101 Squadron was formed at Farnborough on the 12th July 1917. It was only the second specialist night bomber unit in the Royal Flying Corps. The Squadron moved to France two weeks later, where it received the FE2b, 2 seat pusher bi-planes that it would operate throughout WW1. Engaged in night time raids against enemy troop concentrations, supply lines and airfields, the Squadron participated in the 3rd Battle of Ypres, the Somme and final assault on the Hindenburg line for which it was awarded its first Battle Honours.

HRH The Princess Royal Attends No. 101 Squadron’s Centenary

At the outbreak of WW2, the Squadron was equipped with Bristol Blenheims and played its part in the Battle of Britain. in 1942, No. 101 Squadron received its first Avro Lancaster heavy bombers which it would fly for the rest of the war.

After the war, Avro Lincolns replaced the Lancasters and the unit moved to Binbrook. In June 1951, No. 101 Squadron became the RAF's first jet-bomber squadron when it was re-equipped Canberras, and it was with this aircraft that the Squadron was involved in operations in both Malaya and Suez before once again disbanding on 1 Feb 1957.

HRH The Princess Royal Attends No. 101 Squadron’s Centenary

A brief period of inactivity ended on 15 Oct 1957, when No. 101 Squadron joined the V-bomber Force, equipped with Avro Vulcans, as part of the Finningley Wing before moving to Waddington four years later. The Squadron became synonymous with the type, and took part in Operation Corporate, the Falklands Conflict, operating from Ascension Island. Shortly after the conflict, the Squadron relinquished its Vulcans and disbanded again, until it reformed on 1 May 1984 to operate VC10s in the Air-to-Air-Refuelling role, and has since demonstrated the flexibility the aerial refuelling offers to combat aircraft in such operations as the Gulf War and Operation Allied Force.

HRH The Princess Royal Attends No. 101 Squadron’s Centenary

In September 2013, the venerable VC10s were finally retired. Number 101 Squadron immediately converted to the Voyager, a military version of the Airbus A330 airliner. With the new aircraft came the additional roles of Strategic Air Transport and Aeromedical Evacuation. In-flight refuelling support for the UK’s air defence continues to be the Voyager Force’s highest priority.

Mr Lance Kinder, a former member of No. 101 Squadron, said, “My best experience of 101 Squadron was being part of the first Canberra Squadron to fly to RAF Changi so we achieved something great. Today, the first thing that strikes you about the Voyager is the size compared to the Canberra.”