By Sqn Ldr Andy Marshall – Officer Commanding 501 Sqn RAuxAF
To celebrate Armed Forces Day 2016, 501 Sqn accepted an invitation and participated in the Banbury Town event which took place on 25 Jun. We saw it as an opportunity to show off the Sqn and the Reserves to the local community and so in the early Saturday morning a convoy of vehicles left Brize Norton and traveled up to Banbury to set up our recruiting tent and vehicle display.
In addition to 501 Sqn and the local Air Training Corps Sqns, it was hoped that the Royal Air Force contingent would be backed up by a Chinook from Odiham, but alas, aircraft availability, leaving Man SV Trucks as the military hardware on display. The weather played a part in the reduced turnout of the public, but those who did come to the event saw a range of displays from the Navy, Army and Air Force cadet forces, which culminated in Trooping the Colour by 142 Royal Logistics Corps, a Banbury based Reserve unit, supported by the Band of the Royal Artillery. This part of the event was to be supported by a Spitfire flypast, but the adverse weather conditions intervened and the flypast had to be cancelled.
Overall, during the day, Sqn personnel ran a recruiting stand for all of the Sqns based at Brize (and beyond) and dealt with several enquiries from people interested in service with the Royal Air Force Reserves. The SV truck proved very popular with the visitors to the show, many who got the chance to sit behind the wheel for a photo opportunity.