Leuchars bids farewell to ‘The Tremblers’

22/03/2011''RAF Leuchars.''As the final element of the draw down of the Tornado F3, 111(F) Sqn disband on 22 Mar 11 with a parade of the Sqn Standard for the last time and a flypast by Tornado F3 and Typhoon Aircraft.''The Reviewing Officer is Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton KCB ADC Bsc FRAeS CCMI RAF, with Air Commodore McAlpine and Air Officer Scotland Air Commodore Atkinson in attendance. ''111(F) Sqn have been maintaining Leuchars primary Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) mission, policing the skies over the Northern UK with the Tornado F3 since 1990. The MOD announced in 2009 that the Tornado F3 would complete its operational service at the end of March, in line with the growth of the Typhoon Force. ''Originator: Mr Wilson, Media andComms
22/03/2011''RAF Leuchars.''As the final element of the draw down of the Tornado F3, 111(F) Sqn disband on 22 Mar 11 with a parade of the Sqn Standard for the last time and a flypast by Tornado F3 and Typhoon Aircraft.''The Reviewing Officer is Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton KCB ADC Bsc FRAeS CCMI RAF, with Air Commodore McAlpine and Air Officer Scotland Air Commodore Atkinson in attendance. ''111(F) Sqn have been maintaining Leuchars primary Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) mission, policing the skies over the Northern UK with the Tornado F3 since 1990. The MOD announced in 2009 that the Tornado F3 would complete its operational service at the end of March, in line with the growth of the Typhoon Force. ''Originator: Mr Wilson, Media andComms

For members of 111 Squadron, there is an acceptance that nothing stays the same in the military for too long.

While they are sad to see their squadron disbanded as the much loved Tornado F3 is retired, they recognise the Typhoon is a superior aircraft and a new squadron is already in place, ready to pick up where ‘treble one’ has left off.

No jobs will be lost as a result of this week’s changes and Squadron Leader Rob Laidlar summed up the mood ahead of the disbandment ceremony.

“I don’t feel particularly emotional about it - I would feel sadder but the Typhoon is an amazing aircraft,” he said.

“The squadron has formed a good working relationship but times change and the Typhoon is a very capable aircraft.

“The majority of the squadron will go elsewhere in the airforce and some who are approaching the end of their time in the RAF will be leaving the service.”

Flt Lt Mark Coram, who will shortly be flying the Typhoon out of RAF Coningsby, is also focused on the future.

The young pilot from Hertfordshire will leave with fond memories of his years in north east Fife.

“I love it up here at Leuchars – I have been made so welcome,” he said.

BRILLIANT

“I haven’t actually flown the Typhoon yet, but I have had a good four years in the Tornado.

“It’s been brilliant and I have really enjoyed it but it is time to move on.

“I’m looking forward to my new role and I’m very excited about it.

“The Typhoon is more powerful, it has more manoeuvrability and increased weapon capability.

“You put all that together and it’s quite an improvement.

“All my front line has been with 111 Squadron so I am sorry to see it go but you have to move on.

“I’ve had a great time and will always look back and remember it fondly.”

111 Squadron was formed in Dier-el-Belah in Palestine in 1917.

It’s first main tasks were to restrict enemy reconnaissance flights in the region and counter the German fighter threat over the Suez.

In the Second World War it became the first Hurricane squadron and shot down 47 enemy planes during the Battle of Britain.

In recognition of this service, more than 400 servicemen and women stationed at RAF Leuchars were on parade at the disbandment ceremony on Tuesday, overseen by senior RAF officials, including the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton.

Distinguished former members of 111(F) Squadron, including eight former Squadron bosses such Air Marshall Sir Christopher Covilles, Air Marshall Walker and Air Vice Marshalls Roser and Collins, as well as invited guests watched the event, which included flypasts from 111(F) Tornado F3 aircraft and Typhoons of 6 Squadron.

North East Fife MP Sir Menzies Campbell paid tribute to the contribution 111 Squadron had made to the defence of the UK.

He said: “The disbandment of any Squadron is always a case for regret but it is particularly so when it is one with such a distinguished record and regarded with such affection by the local community as ‘Treble One’.

“The 24 hour a day, seven day a week responsibility for guarding the airspace of the northern half of the United Kingdom has been fulfilled with professionalism and commitment, all in the finest traditions of the Royal Air Force.

“The baton now passes to Eurofighter Typhoon and 6 Squadron already engaged in the same task.”