In 2017 No. 101 Squadron marked its Centenary, on 12 July. This was a remarkable achievement when one pauses to reflect on the number of RAF squadrons that have been retired since a zenith at the end of World War 2.
While 101 Squadron has spent a significant amount of its time on the active list, there have been periods when its future was less certain.
Our Association has also navigated interesting and challenging times. Formed by Denis and Joan Goodliffe, they fund-raised for a memorial following the Squadron’s 60th Anniversary and this was unveiled in Ludford Magna, our spiritual home, in July 1978. A reunion followed in 1979 and the rest, as they say, is history. The demand for such an Association as ours was compelling, bringing together those who had served during the War, and a large number of Cold War aircrew and maintainers. That connection was consolidated through the close proximity of our spiritual home and the Squadron’s Cold War home at Waddington; Lincoln became an obvious location for reunions.
With a move to Brize Norton in the mid-80s came a different dynamic – not just a different geographic location, but a different generation, and different operational challenges. While the Squadron remained comparatively large, a different approach to crewing and way of working lead to a different culture. Now, with barely 100 squadron personnel, we have moved a long way from that culture of constituted crews and integrated maintainers faced with a clear and tangible threat to national survival. So then, it is time to consider how we as an Association remain relevant.
Proposals for a viable 101 Squadron Association post-2017 were presented by Paul Thompson, and carried forward by the Committee. Since then, the Memorial and Reunion events have clearly demonstrated that there is a demand for the Association to continue to exist. Both the relocated and rescheduled 2019 Reunion Dinner at Brize Norton in September, and the Ludford Memorial Service in June, were well attended. Indeed, the move to Brize has brought additional attractions, as reported in the Association newsletters.
The Association appears to have a bright future, so will continue as long as there are funds available to finance it, and willing volunteers to run it.