F3 TORNADO GIFT TO THE NORTH EAST OF ENGLAND PRESENTED AT NELSAM

(Above) The 607 personnel attending, including our HAC, The Countess Peel.

The North East Land Sea and Air Museum (NELSAM) Sunderland, was the venue for an auspicious event to commemorate valued RAF service in the region. Mrs Susan Winfield OBE, Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear and President of the North of England Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (RFCA), accepted on behalf of the people of the North East of England, the gift of the Panavia Tornado F3 fighter aircraft ZE204 from AVM Colin Da’Silva representing the RAF.

The gift has regional significance given its service from RAF Leeming under the operational control of RAF Boulmer and is a tribute to the support that the region has given to the RAF.

The Tornado F3 will be permanently displayed at the North East Land Sea and Air Museum (NELSAM) in Sunderland. It is important to NELSAM as it gives the museum the opportunity to bring the story of the air defence of the UK to visitors. This is especially evocative as the museum site was previously RAF Usworth during the Battle of Britain and the station where 607 was formed in 1930. An area of the Museum is dedicated to the “County of Durham!” Squadron. AVM Da’Silva, the senior RAF representative, was a Navigator/Weapons Systems Operator on the aircraft type and had flown in ZE204. The assembly were treated to presentations on the move and rebuild of the airframe from Mr David Charles, the Chair of NELSAM, Air Defence and the F3 by Flt Lt Pocock from RAF Boulmer and a history, including personal reminiscences of operating ZE204, from Sqn Ldr Porteous from the RAF Leeming Hawk CAMO office.

The event was also attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Durham, the High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear plus other senior local dignitaries and representatives of the RFCA for the North of England and RAFAC.

WO KR Hamilton-Sturdy