March 2024

On This Day – 25th March

On This Day  in 1991, the RAF Ensign was lowered for the final time at RAF Bawdsey.
Derek Rothery, the last station commander of RAF Bawdsey, remembers the official closing ceremony –

‘The date of Monday 25 March 1991 was selected. A Guard of Honour was formed on Bawdsey Quay, which was part of the RAF station. RAF Bawdsey was part of 11 Group, the old RAF Fighter Command in WW2, and we had Air Commodore Mike Donaldson from 11 Group HQ as our Reviewing Officer.

We had one police dog at the time, Air Dog Skip, who was on parade having been promoted that day to Corporal Air Dog Skip and he retired that day after the closure ceremony. It was a very moving ceremony with the General Salute, the National Anthem, prayers & an address by the Reviewing Officer which included a brief history about what happened at Bawdsey. The Ensign was lowered, folded, presented to me & I led the parade off in a slow march to the strain of Auld Lang Syne.
I’d spent six happy years on a station unlike any other with the role it played in air defence of the UK, I believe it was unique in the Air Force.
I was determined to be the last RAF serviceman to leave Bawdsey and I was.
As I walked past the guard-room I turned for a last look at the Manor and gave a final salute to all the personnel who had served at RAF Bawdsey’.
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On This Day – 25th March