William takes royal salute to mark RAF squadron's 100th anniversary


The Duke of Cambridge has honoured an RAF squadron with an illustrious past by taking the royal salute at its 100th anniversary parade.

With a flying history dating back to the First World War and a modern role training Typhoon jet pilots, 29 (Reserve) Squadron is a famous air force unit.

William is Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire where the squadron is based and trained with the RAF, flying as a helicopter pilot with the service's search and rescue unit before joining the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

In warm autumn sunshine, the second in line to the throne sat with a large group of family members and veterans of the squadron on the station's tarmac.

Lined up in three rows were servicemen and women from 29 (Reserve) Squadron and in the background were Typhoon jets and large Awacs (airborne early warning and control) planes.

A military band entertained the guests with popular tunes like the theme from The Great Escape and Thunderbirds.

William received the royal salute from the servicemen and women and a flypast of four Typhoons roared overhead.

The squadron was formed in November 1915 and by the following March was deployed to France with its pilots seeing action during the Battle of the Somme.

During the Second World War, Flight Lieutenant Guy Gibson, later to earn global fame as the leader of the Dambusters, joined the squadron, and more than 60 years later in the Falklands conflict the unit deployed to Stanley to provide air defence.

By the late 1980s the squadron became the first operational unit to be equipped with the Tornado F3 and it deployed to Saudi Arabia after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, participating in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Today it not only trains Typhoon pilots but is one of a number of squadrons that help defend the skies above the UK.

Typhoons have been scrambled from Coningsby a number of times this year after Russian aircraft were identified flying close to UK air space.

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