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16 (Reserve) Squadron Arrives At RAF Wittering

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Gary
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16 (Reserve) Squadron Arrives At RAF Wittering

Post by Gary » Tue May 19, 2015 7:35 pm

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18 May 2015


Distinguished centennial flying unit 16 (Reserve) Squadron made Royal Air Force Wittering their new home on Thursday 14th May as the Squadron flew in from RAF College Cranwell.

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16 (R) Squadron landed in perfect formation with four Grob Tutors, bringing the total aircraft complement at RAF Wittering to 16. In addition to the trainee pilots, the Squadron brings eight Qualified Flying Instructors.

Formed in February 1915 at Saint Omer in France, the Squadron recently marked its hundredth year. Over the past century it has had many roles but 16 Squadron’s current role is elementary flying training for around half the RAF’s new pilots and some international students.

During its hundred year history, the Squadron has flown an array of outstanding and highly distinctive aircraft including the North American Mustang, Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Tempest, de Havilland Venom, Blackburn Buccaneer and SEPECAT Jaguar.

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16 Squadron’s operational history is no less impressive, having seen action in World War I, World War II and Gulf War I. During the Cold War, 16 Squadron was on standby during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and had a nuclear deterrent role whilst at RAF Laarburch in Germany.

Squadron Leader Christopher Parkinson is the commanding officer of 16 Squadron and spoke warmly about his unit’s arrival at Cambridgeshire’s most famous Royal Air Force Station.

He said; “The facilities at RAF Wittering are very good indeed. The airspace is ideal for the students in elementary flying training. Equally, the refurbished buildings that will be our home are well adapted to the task and we’re very happy to be here.”

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Training the next generation of pilots has been 16 Squadron’s role since 2008, but it is a role in keeping with the history of RAF Wittering as Group Captain Damian Alexander, Station Commander, acknowledges.

He said; “Flying training is as much a part of RAF Wittering’s history as the Harrier and the V-Bombers. The arrival of 16 Squadron means that the Station will be playing an active part in the future of UK military air power. Here and now, tomorrow’s pilots are taking their first steps towards airmanship.”

Editor: Ed Palmer

Photographs:

The students of 16 (R) Squadron.

The Grob Tutors of 16 (R) Squadron arriving at RAF Wittering.

Group Captain Damian Alexander in conversation with Squadron Leader Christopher Parkinson.

RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2015

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jag636
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Re: 16 (Reserve) Squadron Arrives At RAF Wittering

Post by jag636 » Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:47 pm

Oh how time's change when I remember way back when they used to have the late great Buccaneer and then on to the late great Jaguar. I find it hard to fight back the tears after reflection on how such a great and honourable squadron is reduced to such a mundane but necessary task.

ColintheCaterpillar
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Re: 16 (Reserve) Squadron Arrives At RAF Wittering

Post by ColintheCaterpillar » Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:21 pm

jag636 wrote:Oh how time's change when I remember way back when they used to have the late great Buccaneer and then on to the late great Jaguar. I find it hard to fight back the tears after reflection on how such a great and honourable squadron is reduced to such a mundane but necessary task.
Most important task in the RAF flying training system. Without the strong foundations given at EFT the training system could not function as it does.

romeo bravo
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Re: 16 (Reserve) Squadron Arrives At RAF Wittering

Post by romeo bravo » Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:19 am

jag636 wrote:Oh how time's change when I remember way back when they used to have the late great Buccaneer and then on to the late great Jaguar. I find it hard to fight back the tears after reflection on how such a great and honourable squadron is reduced to such a mundane but necessary task.
At least 16 Sqn are back flying; there are many 'great and honourable squadrons' not flying these days, sqn banners laid to rest to decay with time, ex-members just left with their memories of bygone days :unsure:

jag636
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Re: 16 (Reserve) Squadron Arrives At RAF Wittering

Post by jag636 » Sat Oct 29, 2016 10:12 am

Will they be doing tacevals from the wooded area :ninja: and I have to say its sad that a reserve status is now given to basic and elimentery flying units, though I have seen 16 fly the Buccaneer at laarbruch and visited them when they had just changed from 226 OCU my first unit and last jag unit, it makes me cry :(

slogen51
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Re: 16 (Reserve) Squadron Arrives At RAF Wittering

Post by slogen51 » Sat Oct 29, 2016 10:34 am

Just a general enquiry:-

What is meant by the 'Reserve' key word in RAF squadron names and the (R) in the squadron number plate?

Also 16 squadron is not a 'Reserve' squadron according to the RAF official organisation

http://www.raf.mod.uk/organisation/16squadron.cfm

However 15(R) is a 'Reserve' squadron even though it seems to have its own Tornados?


Is it just away of keeping a squadron number plate in existence pending reforming with a new type or mission?

Cheers

Vulcanone
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Re: 16 (Reserve) Squadron Arrives At RAF Wittering

Post by Vulcanone » Sun Oct 30, 2016 2:31 pm

They introduced the R for Reserve onto Sqn Numberplates in 1991/1992 after Options for Change cutbacks meant they did away with all the Operational Conversion Unit titles. And gave them numberplates from the Tornado units that were disbanded in Germany 15 went to the Tonkas and 16 to the Jags (replacing 226 OCU) and finally 20 went to the Harriers replacing 233 OCU.

Same happened with the Phantoms, so 229 OCU became 56 (R) Sqn and 1 of the Valley Sqns became 74 (R) and another gained 208(R) from the Buccaneer Sqns

So basically yes it was an easy way of keeping senior units going..
Last edited by Vulcanone on Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

slogen51
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Re: 16 (Reserve) Squadron Arrives At RAF Wittering

Post by slogen51 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 3:23 pm

That explains it thanks.

I hadn't made the connection with the former OCU's.

So basically they are training/conversion squadrons and not operational or combat ready.

Thanks

Vulcanone
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Re: 16 (Reserve) Squadron Arrives At RAF Wittering

Post by Vulcanone » Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:37 pm

I presume the same thing applies with experienced 29 (Reserve) Sqn Typhoon pilots, as they would have if the were an OCU and they would become an operational unit if required as a last resort

rh226
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Re: 16 (Reserve) Squadron Arrives At RAF Wittering

Post by rh226 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:01 pm

Vulcanone wrote:They introduced the R for Reserve onto Sqn Numberplates in 1991/1992 after Options for Change cutbacks meant they did away with all the Operational Conversion Unit titles. And gave them numberplates from the Tornado units that were disbanded in Germany 15 went to the Tonkas and 16 to the Jags (replacing 226 OCU) and finally 20 went to the Harriers replacing 233 OCU.

Same happened with the Phantoms, so 229 OCU became 56 (R) Sqn and 1 of the Valley Sqns became 74 (R) and another gained 208(R) from the Buccaneer Sqns
I assume that you mean the Tornado F.2/F.3s for 229OCU - which had a shadow identity of 65 Sqdn before it was re-numbered to 56(R) Sqdn.

The Phantom OCU was 228OCU whose shadow identity was 64 Sqdn.
Cheers, Bob

Vulcanone
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Re: 16 (Reserve) Squadron Arrives At RAF Wittering

Post by Vulcanone » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:54 pm

Correct Bob,

228 and later 229 did take on the Shadow identity of both 64 and 65 Sqns

Except I referred to what happened after Options for Change :( the end of many great Aircraft and Sqns sadly.....

Tim

page_verify
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Re: 16 (Reserve) Squadron Arrives At RAF Wittering

Post by page_verify » Mon Oct 31, 2016 1:52 pm

I believe as well that Reserve squadron numberplates don't earn seniority so while it's good that the number is still in use, it still drops down the league table so to speak.

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