Moving Royal tribute to families as 617 and 12 Squadrons depart

The Dambuster’s have marched out of Moray in a moving ceremony attended by HRH the Duke of York on Friday.

Personnel and families of the famous 617 Squadron attended the ceremony at RAF Lossiemouth which also saw the colours of 12 (Bomber) Squadron lowered.

While the future is known for 617 Squadron – they will reform in 2016 equipped with new Lightning II stealth fighters – the time that 12 Squadron’s colours will be stored at RAF Cranwell is not yet known.

Recognising the emotional nature of the farewell parade, Prince Andrew said: “Today is perhaps an emotional and sad day when one considers the length of service and sacrifice that have been made by both squadrons.”

The Prince told 500 friends and family of both squadrons that while it was sad to see their colours being marched from the base but that their memory of service in Moray would live long after they had gone.

“I want to pay tribute to the families of both squadrons, who spend a lot of time worrying when you are away on operations and are very grateful when you return,” he said, adding: “Without your support they could not do the work on behalf of Her Majesty and the United Kingdom.

“Today is an emotional day but we all know that we have to cope on a daily basis with change and change brings renewal.”

Moray MP and the SNP’s spokesman on defence issues, Angus Robertson, attended the ceremony. He said: “This was a very moving and well executed ceremony marking the disbandment of 617 and 12 squadrons, which have been based for many, many years at Lossiemouth.

“Thousands of members of these squadrons have lived and worked in Moray in that time and some very strong and durable community links have been forged. That was clearly evident today with the level of community support at the ceremony.

“It is a day of mixed feelings for many as we lose these squadrons that have been so well known but we also know we have new personnel coming to Lossiemouth this year and the base will continue to provide a vital role long into the future.

“I commend the work of all those who served with 12 Bomber Squadron and 617 Squadron, The Dambusters, over so many years and in so many parts of the world.”

Several members of both squadrons will remain at RAF Lossiemouth, redeployed to work with Typhoon aircraft being moved to Moray from the current home at RAF Leuchars in Fife. When the move is completed Lossiemouth will host the only remaining fully operational RAF base in Scotland.

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