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Chinook fly-past to celebrate 80th anniversary of Tonbridge School’s RAF section

A spectacular Chinook helicopter fly-past was one of the highlights of Tonbridge School’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF) Inspection on Wednesday 7 March.

Chinook fly-past to celebrate 80th anniversary of Tonbridge School’s RAF section

15 March 2018

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Two hundred Tonbridge cadets took part in the annual event, which this year marked the 80th anniversary of the founding of the RAF Section at the school. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, was the Inspecting Officer.

The parade and inspection included the RN and Army sections, and was accompanied by the Band of the Parachute Regiment.

Flown by Squadron Leader Charlie Young, from 28 Squadron, RAF Benson, the Chinook landed on The Fifty, one of the school’s sports fields.

Those attending included representatives from Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, HMS Excellent (home to the Naval Headquarters in Portsmouth), RAF College Cranwell (RAF HQ), the Ministry of Defence, the Royal Marines and the Royal Tank Regiment, as well as parents, families and school staff.

There were also representatives from HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s £3.1billion aircraft carrier launched last year.

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Squadron Leader Jonathan Harber, Contingent Commander for the school’s CCF, said: “I am absolutely delighted with the entire contingent and extremely proud with their performance. The Honour Guard’s drill and rifle display was first class, and all cadets showed characteristic dedication and enthusiasm.

“I am especially grateful to the Chief of the Air Staff for being our Inspecting Officer and to Gp Capt Paul McClurg for being our Guest of Honour in the afternoon and at the dinner. I would like to extend my warm appreciation to all our guests, and to Tonbridge CCF officers, for making this such a special occasion.”

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The parade was commanded by Cadet Warrant Officer Will Miller.

Various displays, including a climbing tower, were set up on school grounds, and other activities were led by the RAF Regiment and the Royal Marines Visibility Unit. There was also an opportunity to go inside the Chinook and look around.

A photographic exhibition showcasing the history of cadets at Tonbridge was available to view throughout the day.

The Queen is the Captain-General of the UK CCF, and wrote to congratulate the Tonbridge School RAF Section on the celebration of its 80th anniversary.

This year’s parade also marked the centenary of the RAF’s founding, which took place towards the end of the First World War in April 1918.

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Chinnook photo courtesy of Clair Miller