His Majesty The King visited RAF Coningsby yesterday, meeting Royal Air Force veterans from the Second World War and their modern-day counterparts currently serving as part of the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
Eighteen veterans, aged 98 to 102, met with His Majesty at the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight hangar, along with BBMF aircrew and ground staff as well as Typhoon pilots and ground crew from 29 Squadron.
One of the veterans, Flight Lieutenant Russell ‘Rusty’ Waughman DFC AFC, was a heavy bomber pilot who survived the Nuremburg Raid as well as on separate occasions a mid-air collision and his aircraft being upturned by wind. As a result, he was awarded with the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Force Cross.
The visit was hosted by the RAF’s Combat Air Force Commander; Air Commodore Howard Edwards. He said:
It has been a real honour to welcome His Majesty, and to provide the opportunity to bring together veterans from the Second World War, the BBMF team that upholds their legacy and the Typhoon pilots and engineers that conduct front line operations today. Overall, a magnificent event that showcases the fantastic people and community that surrounds RAF Coningsby.
Air Commodore Howard Edwards,
RAF’s Combat Air Force Commander
Other veterans included Flight Lieutenant Colin Bell DFC AE who as a Mosquito pilot flew 50 bombing raids, Warrant Officer Eddie Humes who was the sole-survivor of a transport aircraft crash only to be captured and imprisoned, and Iris McClements who worked in the Royal Observer Corps to plot aircraft movements.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight welcomed His Majesty and distinguished guests to their hangar with a backdrop of World War II Spitfires, Hurricanes and a Lancaster bomber. His Majesty also took great interest in a Chipmunk positioned in the hangar – the same aircraft that the then Prince Charles learned to fly in during his time at Cambridge University in 1968.
It was a real privilege to host His Majesty at the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. For our veterans and all of those who are part of the BBMF Team this was certainly a day to remember.
Squadron Leader Mark Sugden,
The Officer Commanding of BBMF
It was also an opportunity for The King, accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, to meet and congratulate members of RAF Coningsby’s 29 Squadron who provided the Typhoon flypast for The King’s Birthday.
29 Squadron formed part of the impressive flypast that took place on 17th June for His Majesty The King’s official Birthday, following Trooping the Colour which took place in the morning on Horse Guards Parade. Eighteen Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth and Coningsby formed a CR, to denote Charles Rex, over the heads of the wowed crowds.