OCTOBER 31st 2005,

On 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.

The 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 the cockpit.

Two 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.

General 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).

ACM Graydon, 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!

Our thanks 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.



Ian Coates
November 1st 2005