Over 100 years after the first pioneering balloon squadron took to the skies above north east Fife, the airmen and women of Royal Air Force Leuchars proudly celebrated their historic ties to the area by parading through St Andrews on Saturday.
With their ‘bayonets fixed, colours flying and bands playing’, over 250 Royal Air Force personnel marched through cheering crowds as a Typhoon aircraft from Number 6 Squadron delivered a thundering salute from the air.
The right to march through the city was first granted by the Royal Burgh of St Andrews in 1968 in recognition of the station’s service to its local community during times of war and peace.
The station has benefited from the close bond it shares with its neighbours and hoped to convey its heartfelt appreciation during the parade from St Salvator’s Quad in North Street to Madras College in South Street.
Air Officer Scotland and Station Commander RAF Leuchars, Air Commodore Gerry Mayhew said: “It was a tremendous honour to exercise our Freedom of St Andrews for the last time today in front of such a large audience.
“The support shown to the station by the people of Fife and Tayside, in recent times and throughout our long history, has been truly humbling.
“I speak for all Royal Air Force Leuchars personnel, past and present, when I say we are profoundly grateful to the community we have been proud to serve, and proud to call home, for nearly a century.”
The parade included members of 1 (Fighter) Squadron and 6 Squadron, also served as a homecoming event for 58 Squadron Royal Airforce Regiment, which recently returned from Afghanistan.
The unit will be disbanded this summer when the other squadrons move north to Lossiemouth.
The event was attended by several dignitaries including Sir Menzies Campbell MP, North East Fife MSP Roderick Campbell and Fife Provost Jim Leishman.