No 42 Expeditionary Support Wing Celebrates 10 Years


A decade of exceptional engineering was marked at Royal Air Force Wittering yesterday when No 42 Expeditionary Support Wing marked its tenth anniversary at the Cambridgeshire Station.

No 42 Expeditionary Support Wing delivers the specialist, deployable engineering support for the RAF A4 Force. Bomb disposal, armaments, aircraft repair and airfield engineering are the four principal functions of 42 Wing.

5001 Squadron building shelters for RAF Typhoons during the Black Sea air policing mission

Although formed at RAF Wittering in 2007, 42 Wing has its origins in World War Two with the formation of No 42 (Maintenance) Group. Described at the time as ‘agency services’ No 42 Group provided the RAF’s bombs, ammunition and fuel, not so far from the Wing’s current role.

A demonstration by 5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron

The motto remains unchanged; ‘Fulmen Alatum Tenemus’ or in English ‘We hold in readiness the winged thunderbolts’. The castle shown in the Wing’s badge is thought to be Oxford Castle, itself used for the storage of ammunition during the English Civil War.

The badge of No 42 Expeditionary Support Wing

42 Wing remains as vital today as its historical counterpart was in WWII. From the technicians of 93 Expeditionary Armaments Squadron who prepare the sophisticated weapons carried by our aircraft, to the engineers of 71 inspection & Repair Squadron, who repair aircraft in the most challenging conditions.

A technician from 71 Squadron carries out some non-destructive testing

The anniversary included the first presentation of the Winged Thunderbolt Award for Excellence in Operational Support Engineering. Manufactured by 42 Wing’s own technicians, it is a three dimensional rendering of the castle in the Wing badge.

Chief Technician David Parkinson of No 93 Expeditionary Armaments Squadron is the first winner of the award, which recognises his exceptional leadership and technical expertise on operations. In addition to actively pursuing cost saving measures, Chief Tech Parkinson made positive and professional contributions to the RAF Scampton air-show.

Air Commodore Mark Gilligan (left) presents the Winged Thunderbolt Award for Excellence in Operational Support Engineering to C/T David Parkinson

Wing Commander Craig Watson is the current Officer Commanding 42 Wing and, along with three of his four predecessors, was joined by RAF engineers of almost every conceivable specialism to celebrate the Wing’s anniversary and the excellence of its people.

Wing Commander Craig Watson

Wing Commander Watson said: “Watching the news, people see the jets in the foreground and under the wings are the weapons, in the background are the temporary hangars. You won’t notice the equipment manufacture, power generation, aircraft in detailed inspection and repair and the specialist engineering essential to a modern deployed air force. All this is delivered by 42 Wing personnel.”

A close up of the trophy

The Wing Commander concluded: “For ten years 42 Wing has successfully supported a wide range of RAF operations, from countering Daesh to humanitarian relief. Today, we have highly-skilled personnel deployed around the world providing the specialist engineering functions to enable air power. I am immensely proud of our people; their expertise, dedication and ingenuity is exceptional.”

Editor: Ed Palmer

Photographer: Sgt Neil Bryden, Sharron Floyd, SAC Abigail Drewett & Supplied Images

RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2017