Peter Long’s brief history of Watton – 1966

A new Station badge for RAF Watton had been granted by H. M. The Queen. The badge was presented on the 20th January to the Station Commander by the AOCinC Signals Command Sir Thomas Shirley KBE CB. The badge which can be seen on the home page of this website features a Brigantian sword superimposed on a blue disc bisected by an ermine strip. The ancient British sword recalls the many tribes associated with the area and that the Station is part of a fighting service. The blue disc represents the Norfolk skies through which Watton’s aircraft have flown and the ermine strip is from the coat of arms of the County of Norfolk with which the Station has been so closely associated. The motto ‘Ajutores Multorum’ when translated means ‘In Support Of So Many’.

At Eastern Radar a competition was also held to design a unit badge.

On the 1st April a squadron was provisionally raised at RAF Watton and allocated a brand new number plate, – 360 Squadron. This was to be the first new squadron raised during the reign of HM Queen Elizabeth II. At this stage 360 Squadron was a ‘paper’ squadron.

A tragic accident occurred on the 3rd May when a Canberra crashed on final approach. The pilot and Navigator were killed but the Air Electronics Officer, although badly injured, survived.

No 831 Naval Air Squadron ‘paid-off’ on 16th May and disbanded on the 26th August. The squadron personnel transferred to Jet-line awaiting the formation of 360 Squadron. With departure of the Navy squadron, Piston-line moved from the bomb-dump dispersals to the Griston site.

About this time, Jet-line (97 Squadron) received it’s first ECM specialist Canberra T MK17 aircraft. 360 Squadron was officially formed on the 22nd September. This was to be a composite RAF/RN squadron with every fourth commanding officer being a Royal Navy officer. The new squadron was to be made up by transferring the personnel and Canberra aircraft of B’Flight 97 Squadron and the Naval personnel formerly of 831 Naval Air Squadron.

The RAF Benevolent Fund held their annual conference at Watton in September.

Three of the Station’s squadrons, No’s. 97, 98 and 115, were now eligible for the presentation of Squadron Standards by H. M. The Queen. The ceremony for the triple presentation took place on 30th September and the Standards were presented on behalf of the Queen by Air Chief Marshal The Earl of Bandon GBE CB CVO DSO RAF Rtd. The Earl of Bandon had commanded a Blenheim squadron at Watton in the early stages of W.W.2.

These and the previous ‘snapshots’ of my post-war history of RAF Watton are extracts from

‘In Support Of So Many’
Royal Air Force Station Watton 1945 ~ 2000
A Story of a Peacetime RAF Station

© Peter J. Long 1999

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