The new TV documentary War Zone, being screened weekly on Channel 5, has sparked public interest in the Royal Air Force Regiment at Yorkshire Air Museum. The exhibition at Elvington is the only RAF Regiment display open to the public in Britain and shows details of the famous regiment, which was formed at Butlin’s Holiday Camp, Filey in 1942. During the war years, the camp operated partly as a holiday camp and also as RAF Hunmanby, with the Air Ministry overseeing the construction of the camp.The exhibition is open every day and amongst many unique exhibits is the Japanese flag from Singapore which was presented to the RAF Regiment who took the Japanese surrender in 1945.
The TV documentary follows the daily lives of RAF Regiment Squadrons in operations in Afghanistan, based at Kandahar airbase, and certainly seems to have captured public interest.
Ian Reed, Museum Director, said: “It is interesting to note that, under Royal Warrant, the RAF Regiment came into being at Filey, North Yorkshire, on 1st February 1942. The HQ later moved to Lincolnshire until 1946 and then back to Catterick, North Yorkshire. Sunday February 1st marks the 67th Anniversary of the formation of the RAF Regiment and it is appropriate that the Yorkshire Air Museum houses this fascinating display, containing some unique memorabilia, on the history and development of the force, not far from its spiritual home.”
Since its formation, the Regiment has served the Royal Air Force with distinction, throughout WWII, seeing active service in North Africa, Middle and Far East, the Mediterranean, Italy and central Europe. This has continued to the present day and the regiment has seen service all over the world, wherever there are airfields, installations or other elements of the RAF to defend. This has included Palestine, Suez, Malaya, Borneo, Aden, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, notably the Falklands, the Gulf and now Iraq and Afghanistan, as seen on our TV screens.
We would like to take this opportunity to appeal for any items of memorabilia that members of the public may wish to donate to us, to enable us to update and refresh the exhibition. In particular, we would welcome pictures from the days of the formation of the RAF Regiment at Filey, as we have not as yet been able to trace an image of this and the site has been demolished (2006).
To highlight the forthcoming anniversary and the existence of this unique RAF Regiment display, Frank Wright, Yorkshire Air Museum volunteer and former RAF Regiment soldier (1952 – 56) and some current serving personnel from 609 (West Riding) Royal Auxiliary Air Force Squadron, RAF Leeming, who have just completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan, gathered at the Yorkshire Air Museum. 609 Squadron is an Air Defence Support Squadron, comprising of two specialist trades – RAF Regiment Gunnery and Force Protection. (Frank lives in Roberttown, Liversedge, West Yorkshire).