Monday, 14 February 2011

40th Anniversary

In 1996 it was decided that it would be a good idea to hold a celebration to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Units existence – the celebrations to take place in the autumn of 1997.

At an early stage it was decided to gather together as many of the previous Station Commanders as possible. Whilst contacting more recent COs who were still serving was relatively simple, it was necessary to work through MOD to try and reach the earlier ones. MOD had the information (2 of them overseas and unfortunately 4 were dead) and the appropriate invitations were sent out. Initially 6 previous COs indicated their intention to attend. Some of the Unit paperwork involved in inviting these officers follows. (Left click on pictures to enlarge).

A great deal of effort was put into the preparations, meetings, letters, telephone calls and a lot of thought went into the planning. Copies of some of the letters and Minutes of Meetings are shown below:-

Also early in the proceedings it was decided to involve families and local civilians. Displays, events and a dance were planned. Advertising was discussed using local displays, local radio, local press and the RAF News – an article on the occasion was planned as a follow – up. The dates for the occasion, originally chosen as 20 & 21 Sep, were changed to 6 & 7 Sep 97. As the event neared it became apparent that 4 “Air” ranking officers, including the AOC in C Strike Command, intended to be present at the anniversary accompanied by their wives.

Whilst I don’t have a copy of the final Admin Order a copy of a Draft Admin Order is below:-

So how did it go?

Unfortunately the whole event was cancelled at short notice. Princess Diana died on 31 August 97 and the 40th Anniversary was just one of many events cancelled across the UK. I hope that the workers still got the recognition they deserved for their efforts. I had planned to attend myself but, living in Lerwick, it did not cause me too much of a problem. I believe that one of the ex COs, having had to pay his own fare, quite rightly turned up anyway to revisit old haunts – the story goes that this caught the Unit by surprise, (PB – if you’re reading this check your attic for photos of Saxa!).It was a pity that the station closed just before the 50th Anniversary