Following a flying start to the year, 57(R) Sqn has continued at full throttle making progress in the skies around Wyton and much further afield. With ever more events on the horizon and Sqn numbers in the climb, Hangar 3 is flooding with positive attitude.
After a long stint on the Sqn, EFT 174 welcomed their guests to RAF Wyton for their graduation ceremony in March. The guests enjoyed a tour of the squadron followed by a number of flypasts, introducing them to the day-to-day lives of the graduating students. The formalities concluded with a formal lunch in the mess, speeches from both staff and students, and presentation of prizes. The celebrations continued into the evening with EFT 176’s solo barrel. A team of Spartan warriors who, by coincidence, had recently completed their first solos on the Sqn, battled against the odds to ensure the freedom of 11 Velcrobacked- phoenixes from the 57(R) Sqn vaults. A fitting end to a momentous day for the graduates of EFT 174 on the completion of their first flying course in the RAF.
In late March, a delegation of 57(R) Sqn staff led by OC 57, Sqn Ldr Mike Waring, travelled to Zagan, Poland, to take part in a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Great Escape – an event enshrined in Sqn history in which former Sqn members were involved. Whilst at the ceremony the delegation met Louise Williams, the niece of a wartime Great Escape hero who was murdered by the Gestapo. Inspired by the chance encounter, Louise was invited to RAF Wyton to visit the airfield and Sqn.
Passionate, eloquent and captivating, Louise silenced the normally lively met brief with tales from her uncle’s past. Each one worthy of its own Hollywood movie, her stories illustrated clearly the personality and tenacity of the great men that fought for us in WWII. In true 57(R) Sqn style, Louise was thanked in the way that only we can – a flight in the Queen of the Skies, the great Grob Tutor 115E, with the Sqn’s very own Flt Lt Craig Hunt.
In a throwback to times past, the 4 graduates of EFT 174 conducted a great escape of their own. Breaking free from the captivity of staff ride paradigm, the four flew themselves to France in one of the Pathfinder Flying Club’s aircraft, visiting airspace which 57(R) Sqn once called home.
April ended with the final flight and leaving celebrations for ex-OC 57 and Sqn legend Flt Lt Nick Lambert who moves on to the C-17. In keeping with the Sqn motto, corpus non animum muto, we wish Flt Lt Lambert all the very best in his new role and look forward to the return of 57(R) Sqn prodigal son Flt Lt Andy Owen to the Sqn in addition to the arrival of the 6 RAF and 3 International students of EFT 178.