Princess Anne visited RAF Brize Norton yesterday, to celebrate the centenary of 99 Squadron, also known as ‘the squadron that never sleeps’. 99 Squadron was formed on 15th August 1917 in Wiltshire.
The 100 year old squadron participated in bombing raids during the First and Second World Wars but remains just as relevant today. Over the past few weeks, the squadron has provided vital support in the Caribbean following the destruction of Hurricane Irma.
The Princess Royal visited in her capacity as Honorary Air Commodore of Royal Air Force Brize Norton. Wing Commander Marc Holland said, “99 Squadron operates the C17 Globemaster. Its role is long range heavy lifting capability for the RAF and it operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
“We support every major defence exercise and operation and hold short notice aeromedical evacuation cover. It’s a great privilege to commend any squadron but a particular honour to commend 99 Squadron on its 100th year.”
“The visit from the Princess Royal gives the event the gravitas it deserves. It’s good for the squadron to feel that recognition for their efforts – as it doesn’t sleep.”
As a matter of fact, the squadron is older than the Royal Air Force, who will celebrate turning 100 in April of next year. In April 1918, the Squadron flew the De Havilland DH9 aircraft and was deployed to France to operate as a light bomber squadron; it targeted German industrial areas during the First World War.
During World War Two, the Squadron flew the Vickers Wellington bomber, before re-forming in 1949 as a strategic transport squadron operating the Avro Yorks aircraft. 99 Squadron has operated in an air transport capacity ever since.
After being disbanded again in the 1970’s, the squadron was re-established in 2000 to fly the C-17 Globemaster, based out of RAF Brize Norton. The Boeing C17-A Globemaster III is an easily recognisable aircraft. It is capable of transporting up to 170,000 lbs of freight and equipment, and can move troops, aid supplies, helicopters, vehicles and can provide aeromedical evacuations.
The Princess Royal inspected a Guard of Honour before chatting to officers and troops.
Later in the day, The Queen’s daughter attended an Executive Board Meeting of the British Olympic Association in London, in her capacity as President of the organisation.
In the evening, she celebrated the 35th Anniversary of the charity, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, at an awards dinner in the capital.