RAF to march through resort once again

WITH bayonets fixed, colours flying, drums beating and a band playing, the RAF will march through Felixstowe to celebrate the 50th anniversary of being granted the freedom of the town.

WITH bayonets fixed, colours flying, drums beating and a band playing, the RAF will march through Felixstowe to celebrate the 50th anniversary of being granted the freedom of the town.

The right granted in 1958 will be exercised on Friday by members of 15 Squadron, RAF Regiment from RAF Honington, accompanied by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.

Large crowds are expected on the seafront and cliff tops to see the event, which takes place from 5.30pm until 6.30pm.

The Freedom Parade will line up at the Spa Pavilion and march to the leisure centre and the Sunset Ceremony will be held next to the Town Hall gardens, Undercliff Road West.

Town clerk Susan Robinson said: “Felixstowe has a long and proud connection with the RAF.

“The RAF Station, which was situated in the vicinity of the current Port of Felixstowe, was one of the very first in Great Britain.”

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Some of the original RAF buildings are still used as part of the port and there are a number of areas of housing in Felixstowe which formerly belonged to the RAF, including Adastral Close.

RAF Felixstowe was also home to the world champion Schneider Trophy Flying Boat unit.

The freedom of the town was granted to the RAF following their heroic assistance during the devastating 1953 floods.

The RAF Station closed in the 1960s, but many former RAF personnel still live in the town.

Mayor Mike Deacon's chain of office features the RAF jewel presented to the town by the RAF, and is thought to be the only chain in the world that includes the RAF insignia.

To celebrate the 50 years a 3D floral seaplane has been constructed outside the leisure centre and the RAF insignia is included in a crest bed near the Spa Pavilion - the displays mark the two end points of the march past.

Do you have memories of being involved with RAF Felixstowe? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: RAF Felixstowe

Felixstowe was commissioned as a seaplanes base in 1913 and during the first world war aircraft from the base patrolled the coast from Southwold to Clacton looking for German U-Boats and by the end of the war was the largest station in the world.

In 1924 the base - which was where the port now stands - took on a new role as the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment.

During the following years more than 250 types of seaplane and flying boat - military and civilian aircraft - and others were tested and designed at Felixstowe.

The base was responsible for inventing the technology which led to the development of Concorde and also the space shuttle.

Those who served at RAF Felixstowe included Flying Officer Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine, and Aircraftsman 1st Class TE Shaw, better known as Lawrence of Arabia.

The station's special high-speed flight also won the world famous Schneider Trophy for Britain three times in a row.