RNAS Culdrose FAA Heritage Day
From Commander Jason PHILLIPS OBE Royal Navy, The Commander, RNAS Culdrose
The Culdrose Heritage Day was a great success! The cinema was standing room only with over 200 personnel from across Culdrose ranging from 2* to AB, Civil Servant to contractor with a host of veterans too.
Renowned author and defence commentator Paul Beaver kicked off proceedings with ‘The Forgotten Few – Naval Fighter Pilots in the Battle of Britain’, revealing some fascinating facts including that the FAA had the first Ace of WW2 (Lieutenant William Lucy DSO RN). Russ Mallace then spoke about the development of the Sea Venom – the Navy’s first night jet fighter. John Dixon gave us an illuminating insight into life in combat as a Seahawk pilot at Suez, before returning along with Phantom crew John Dixon and Pete Hardy, and FDO Tony Smart to tell us of life operating big jets from big decks in ARK ROYAL IV where John was Wings. The events in the Falklands 37 years ago were brought back to life in an instant by David Morgan DSC telling us of the realities of war from a Sea Harrier pilots perspective, before Steve Murray OBE gave us the Pinger’s perspective of life in a carrier and the dark and nefarious world of 814 Squadron in 5T Mess back in 1979! ACNS A&C, Rear Admiral Martin Connell concluded the afternoon reflecting on our rich heritage whilst looking forward to our return to a carrier-based Navy.
In the evening, Admiral Connell was the Guest of Honour for a mixed Mess Dinner held in the Wardroom for over 160, consisting of serving Officers hosting serving Senior and Junior Rates, the Juniors having been nominated to attend the dinner by their respective units in recognition of their contribution to output and sponsored jointly by the Wardroom and WO&SR Mess, alongside veterans and guests. A fantastic night was had by all – including a rousing rendition of the FAA anthem ‘The A25 song’. It was a ‘cracking show’ and the morning after we’re all ‘alive’ (but we still have to render our A25’s!). I am keen to make this an annual event so anyone with a great dit to spin please contact me a [email protected]
As well as the usual bunch of Cornish ‘coves’ we had a number of attendees who had discovered the Heritage Day via the FAAOA, FAA Association and Junglie Associations so your collective assistance in gathering my speakers and veteran guests was very much appreciated.
Commander Jason PHILLIPS OBE Royal Navy, The Commander, RNAS Culdrose