October 31st, No.XI (F) Squadron disbanded from front-line service.
I was lucky enough to have been invited to the disbandment parade at
RAF Leeming, which had been the home for No. XI (F) Squadron for the
last 18 years.
parade took place on the main dispersal in front of the old Air Traffic
Control tower. On the pan was the Squadron flagship Tornado F.3, looking
resplendent with it’s black fin and spine and next to it was
the Lightning F.6 which has been the Squadron’s
gate guardian. The Lightning has been repainted with a black fin and
spine and light grey fuselage, with ’WG CDR M GRAYDON’ under
flights from No. XI(F) Squadron marched on to the parade to music from
an RAF band, and the Squadron Standard was marched on to parade. Attending
the parade were Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon, Air Vice Marshal
D. Walker (AOC 1 Group), Air Vice Marshal John Cliffe, Air Vice Marshal
Peter Collins, Air Vice Marshal Phil Roser, Air Commodore Mark Swan,
Group Captain I.C. Morrison (Station Commander RAF Leeming) and Group
Captain David Hamilton.
Salute heralded a flypast by four XI(F) Squadron aircraft which arrived
spot on time and target .The parade was inspected By Air Chief Marshal
Sir Michael Graydon. After the inspection the Standard was handed over
to the receiving Standard Party to be taken to RAF Cranwell until the
Squadron reforms in 2007? The receiving Standard Party then slow-marched
off (and there were a few people with a tear in their eye).
AVM Cliffe, AVM Roser and Grp Capt. Hamilton then walked over and had
a good look at the Lightning before returning to their cars and heading
to the Squadron crew room and the Squadron feeder for an All Ranks
beer call. A disbandment dinner was held in the Officers Mess and,
at midnight, a ceremony was held to lower a Squadron ’pennant’ outside
the Officers Mess. This was followed by one hell of a party!
and best wishes go to the Officers, Men and Women of No. XI(F) Squadron
for all their help, hospitality and patience over the last 18 years.