The Queen’s Colour Squadron (QCS) pulled a BAe 146 aircraft to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The 25-man team, exclusively comprised of personnel from QCS, undertook the challenge of pulling the 28-tonne aircraft 1km along the runway at RAF Northolt, raising more than £1,000 for the Fund.
The challenge was organised as part of the RAF Benevolent Fund’s Hardest Day Challenge – a fundraising initiative to commemorate the sacrifice and courage of those that risked their lives during the Battle of Britain .
The Hardest Day is the name given to the air battle on 18 August 1940 during the Battle of Britain which saw an attempt by the Luftwaffe to destroy the RAF’s Fighter Command in a single day. The Hardest Day saw the largest number of casualties in a single day throughout the entire Battle of Britain.
On 18 August 1940, fighter aircraft launched from RAF Northolt in defence of the large and multiple waves of assaulting Luftwaffe. Multiple squadrons operated from RAF Northolt during the Battle of Britain in 1940, although none more famous than No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron.
No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron were based at RAF Northolt from 2 August 1940 and flew the Hawker Hurricane throughout the Battle of Britain. Out of the 66 separate squadrons that fought in the Battle of Britain, 303 Squadron were successful in shooting down the most enemy aircraft throughout the entire campaign.
RAF Northolt is extremely proud of this heritage and maintains a strong relationship with the Polish Air Force and the local Polish community. RAF Northolt supports various Polish events including the annual commemoration at The Polish War Memorial, where QCS have the honour of parading the Polish Wilno Standard.
Corporal (Cpl) James Woolls (33) said: “I am proud to take part in this event today in support of The RAF Benevolent Fund and remember the legacy of those who fought in the Battle of Britain 80 years ago.
“Being based at RAF Northolt really makes this anniversary even more poignant for me. It’s amazing to think that the brave personnel defending the United Kingdom on The Hardest Day took off from this very airfield, 80 years ago today.”