Years of proud military history at RAF Wittering have come to an end with the disbandment parade of No 3 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment.
Weeks of rehearsal and planning culminated in the flawless parade, reviewed by former Chief of the Air Staff, and Honorary Air Commodore of the Royal Air Force Regiment, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton.
The unit can trace its ancestry back to 1922 when No 3. Armoured Car Company was formed in Basra, present-day Iraq, to support light bombers in their policing of large areas in the Middle East.
No. 3 Armoured Car Company was disbanded in 1925. In 1942 the Royal Air Force Regiment was formed and No. 2757 Squadron was absorbed into the new Corps. 2757 Squadron saw action in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany and was then re-named No. 3 (Armoured Car) Squadron in August 1947.
3 Squadron was disbanded, reformed and disbanded again during the mid-fifties, and was finally reformed as a Field Squadron in July 1987 at RAF Hullavington. It has since seen near continuous active service in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan and has accumulated a distinguished military record.
More than 200 hundred service personnel, civilians and 3 Squadron veterans attended the disbandment parade.
Sir Stephen Dalton, addressing the parade, reflected the distinguished history of No. 3 Squadron. He praised the unit for its outstanding contribution saying” “3 Squadron can be justly proud of the part is has played”.
He added that: “exceptional leadership, camaraderie and teamwork has served the Squadron well.”
No 3 Squadron’s Standard was placed into lodgement at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell, which means the squadron could reform if the need arose.
Group Capt Damian Alexander is the Station Commander at RAF Wittering, home of 3 Squadron.
He said: “No. 3 Squadron has been an integral part of life here at RAF Wittering for many years, they have brought honour and distinction to the Station, and of course we’re sad to see them go.
“We ought to remember that no expertise and skills are being lost from the Royal Air Force. The officers and gunners of No. 3 Squadron will soon join different Royal Air Force and RAF Regiment units, and they’ll continue to make a tangible contribution to defence.”
The parade took place last month but was only announced this week by RAF Wittering, which said “Government departments must remain impartial during a general election campaign”.