Servicemen come in for praise – and a boost from UK banks

Air Marshall
Air Marshall Greg Bagwell – praise for RAF personnel at home and overseas

THE DEPUTY OFFICER COMMANDING RAF forces currently assisting operations over Syria and Iraq has praised the large number of support personnel involved in the effort.

Air Marshall Greg Bagwell has been reflecting on 18 months of operations in the region from the base at RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus, and in particular the month since six Typhoon’s from RAF Lossiemouth were deployed with supporting ground personnel.

AM Bagwell said that while it was often the aircraft and weapon systems that made the headlines, it was the people on the ground both in Akrotiri and those at such as RAF Lossiemouth who were the “real key to our success”.

He said: “Overwhelmingly the credit for a successful operation to date goes to all the personnel involved on our stations, wings and squadrons, both deployed and at home.

“That includes the sterling efforts of all at RAF Akrotiri who are delivering incredible levels of support, and all of those in Defence whose contribution at home and aboard support us. I would like to use this opportunity to publically acknowledge, thank and congratulate every one of them on a magnificent performance across the board.

“We have a long way to go before the operation concludes, but we should be very proud of our contribution, which is making a real difference despite what you hear from those who choose to value quantity over quality.

“Airpower is our major advantage in this conflict and the RAF is a very significant part of its successful delivery.”

Meanwhile Moray’s large contingent of armed forces residents should find it easier in future to manage a mortgage when they are posted overseas.

As part of their pledges under the Armed Forces Covenant, six High Street banks have made a commitment to make things easier for Army and RAF personnel who are often stung by heavy bank charges for letting homes that are subject to mortgage payments.

The commitment was welcomed by the UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, who said: “Looking after your home and your money can be more of a challenge when deployed on operations or serving abroad.

“This is a welcome first step from the major banks and financial institutions to help our servicemen and women get a better mortgage deal.”

It is expected that the pledge from the five largest UK banks and the Nationwide Building Society will benefit nearly 265,000 people in the UK and abroad as well as service families.

The Royal Bank of Scotland boasts 40,000 military customers and received a silver SaBRE award in 2014 for their support of the armed services and reservists.