Yeovilton has leading role in Diamond Jubilee
Personnel and Aircraft from the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton were on parade on the ground and in the air at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Armed Forces Muster at Windsor. Marching columns of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force paraded through Windsor in front of her Majesty before forming up to take part in a special Drumhead service.
The Tri-Service parade by around 2500 personnel in the Windsor Castle grounds before Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh was followed by a Grand Finale, which was a flypast by more than 80 current and historic aircraft, many of which are currently participating in or have recently returned from operations worldwide. “I couldn’t believe there were so many people cheering us as we marched through Windsor. It was great to be part of History.” Said Petty Officer Marc Sen from 815 NAS Said, “I watch it back on the TV when I got home, and we looked Good.”
Taking part from the Royal Navy was a Merlin and a Sea King “Bagger” from RNAS Culdrose and leading the Naval Flight a Lynx mk 8 from 702 Naval Air Squadron and a Jungly Sea King from Commando Helicopter Force. Lt Graham Cannell, 848 Naval Air Squadron, a Staff pilot training future pilots. “It’s a great opportunity to take part in such a one off event,” he said. “I’m proud to be representing the Royal Navy in front of the Queen and also this is a way of saying thank you for all her support to the Armed Forces over the years. I have taken part in many different operations around the world, flying troops around Afghanistan, counter Piracy patrols in the Gulf and worked with the British Antarctic survey in South Georgia so this ceremonial work is very different for me, but very rewarding.”
The Senior service was represented on the parade by five platoons consisted of general surface ships personnel in the first, submarines and Fleet Air Arm in the second, the Royal Marines Bands from Collingwood and Plymouth in the third, 42 Commando RM in the forth and finally Royal Navy Reservists and Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Many of these from the airbase having just returned from operations or deployed. Chief Petty Officer Nigel Bickley from 815 NAS said, “it was an amazing occasion I felt very proud to be there in front of the Queen. When we marched into the castle I was on the right flank and only about 10 yards away from the Queen”
RNAS Yeovilton itself also played a major part in the celebrations by hosting the Hawk fast Jets that formed up to make the distinctive “E II R” Formation. RNAS Yeovilton’s Runway and airfield facilities being the only one in the South of England capable of handling such a large amount of Fixed Wing RAF and Royal Navy aircraft.